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18 or 20? People in Japan evenly split on proper age of adulthood: Mainichi poll

Textbooks for "public studies," a new subject to be introduced in the high school curriculum in April 2022, are seen at publishing company Kyoiku Tosho in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. The textbooks explain about contracts, which 18-year-olds will be able to enter into independently starting in April under the new age of majority. (Mainichi/Kayo Mukuda)

TOKYO -- About as many people in Japan believe the legal age of adulthood should be 18 -- as it will become in April -- as think it ought to be 20 -- what it is now -- a March 19 nationwide survey by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center revealed.

    The survey team contacted 718 cellphone users to ask at what age they think people should be defined as adults. A total of 318 respondents (44.3%) answered the current "20 years old," while 315 people (43.9%) said "18 years old." Sixteen respondents, or 2.2%, said "16 years old," and 10 people, or 1.4%, said "19 years old" should be the threshold for adulthood.

    Broken down by age bracket, 40% of respondents aged between 18 and 29 said "20 years old" is the appropriate age of adulthood, slightly surpassing the 36% who answered "18 years old," implying complex feelings on the subject in this demographic, a portion of which is directly affected by the change. Among respondents aged 70 or above, 52% said "20 years old," while 42% answered "18 years old."

    (Japanese original by Ko Sato, Poll Office)

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