Raise Marriageable Age for Women From 16 to 18 in Japan

Raise Marriageable Age for Women From 16 to 18 in Japan Love

In this issue, we would like to consider the discomfort of the system and laws surrounding women on the subject of raising the legal age of marriage for women in Japan, which went into effect in April 2022.

Why it was 16 years old.

The Civil Code was revised, and the age at which women can get married (marriageable age) was raised to 18 years old this April. Previously, it was 18 years old for men and 16 years old for women.

The first time I learned that there was a difference in the legal age of marriage between men and women was when my parents told me about it when I was a child. I genuinely wondered, “Why?” and had no idea.

Until now, they believed that the reason why the legal age of marriage differed between men and women was because of differences in physical and mental development between the sexes. In other words, women are biologically more precocious. If this is the reason, then other systems and laws should have been set up based on the biological characteristics of both genders, but this has not been the case.

Furthermore, it has been pointed out that the gender bias that men are to “earn money” and women are to “do housework and childcare” remains and has been reflected as it is. In terms of social and economic maturity, there are no particular differences between men and women. As a result of various discussions, it added the age of 18 to the age limit for women as well as for men, not only in terms of developmental characteristics but also in terms of “social and economic maturity.”

Despite this revision, I realized that I had completely forgotten about the “discomfort” I had felt as a child regarding the differences in the legal age of marriage between men and women.

After turning 16, I could get married whenever I wanted, and before I knew it, it had become a topic that was not about me, and I had forgotten about it. What I thought was “strange” at the time became “that’s the way it is” when it became a common system in society and operated as a matter of course.

The Cabinet Office conducted a public opinion survey on gender equality in society; in 2019. About 47% of respondents answered that “men are more privileged” in terms of “the sense of equality in the status of men and women in laws and systems” in 2019. For women alone, about 52% said that men are more privileged. About half of the women feel uncomfortable with the sense of equality between men and women.

In the future, as their age and the environment in which they find themselves change, they will probably feel “uncomfortable” or “unequal” in other areas, too. It can change laws and institutions. Even when we feel uncomfortable, we often accept it as a matter of course, saying, “It can’t be helped because it is a system or a law,” or “That’s the way it is because it has been decided.” However, laws and systems can be changed. Laws and systems may seem distant and difficult to understand, but they can and should change in response to changes in society.

They drafted laws and systems after listening to the opinions of various experts and incorporating the views of many citizens through public comments and other means. The Diet then deliberates on the draft, which is finally revised. A major law revision like this one will take a very long time, but they can change it.