National

Most young people in Japan say coming-of-age ceremonies should continue to be held for 20-year-olds

JIJI

Over 70 percent of people aged between 16 and 22 in Japan believe official coming-of-age ceremonies should continue to be held for those aged 20, a Cabinet Office survey has shown, as the government prepares to lower the age of adulthood to 18 in April 2022.

While no legal rules exist establishing an age for coming-of-age ceremonies hosted by local governments, they are traditionally held for 20-year-olds.

The survey, released Friday, showed that 71.9 percent of the respondents said such ceremonies should be held for those aged 20, while 18.9 percent answered age 18 and 7.5 percent chose 19.

The interview-based survey covered 3,500 people aged between 16 and 22 and 1,500 aged between 40 and 59. It was conducted between Nov. 29 and Dec. 24 last year and drew valid responses from 51.5 percent of the younger group and 63.9 percent of the older cohort.

The older respondents also have a strong belief that such ceremonies should be for those aged 20, with 55.0 percent supporting that age, followed by 34.4 percent backing 18 and 6.3 percent favoring 19.

Coming-of-age ceremonies for 18-year-olds could have fewer participants because many college entrance examinations are held around the time of such ceremonies in January. Coming of Age Day falls on the second Monday of that month.

Asked about when such ceremonies should be held, 63.4 percent of the younger respondents cited January, 24.1 percent answered March — during spring vacation — and 7.2 percent chose April and May, which includes the Golden Week holiday period.

Concerns have been expressed about people aged 18 and 19 becoming victims of consumer crime after the age of adulthood is lowered, as the move will allow young people to sign contracts and make transactions once they turn 18, rather than 20.

Asked if they are worried about such a possibility, 64.3 percent of the younger respondents said “yes.”

On reasons for their concern, with multiple answers allowed, 59.4 percent said they do not know what kind of damage they might face when concluding contracts or making transactions.

Meanwhile, 58.9 percent cited a lack of legal and related knowledge regarding contracts and transactions, while 45.3 percent said they do not know what to do if they become a victim of such a crime.

“We will work intensively on consumer education in the next three years,” a Consumer Affairs Agency official said.