Japan has changed their laws regarding the age of adulthood in Japan for the first time in over a century, now including 18 and 19 year olds as adults under the law and no longer protected from the legal system as underaged.
Until now, Japanese citizens have needed to be 20 years of age to be considered adults and thus do things like enter contracts or buy alcohol. This change has been made with the intention to revitalize youth in Japan and encourage citizenship. However critics of the change claim that it puts 18 and 19 year olds at risk of scams and other legal troubles as they can now enter contracts without parental consent.
18 and 19 year olds are also eligible for harsher punishments under the law as adults. Japan’s criminal justice system has been criticized as lenient on juveniles in the past. Most notably in cases such as the torture and murder of Junko Furuta in the late 80s at the hands of four teenage boys. Three of the four murderers received sentences less than 10 years.
This change in the civil code will also change the marriageable age for women from 16 to 18.