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South Koreans will become at least a year younger from Wednesday as the nation adopts a new law to join the international standard of age counting.
All judicial and administrative areas in the country will begin using the international standard or calendar age, a year after the National Assembly announced the move in an effort to reduce confusion.
Elsewhere, a baby’s age is calculated from zero at birth.
The government is fulfilling a campaign promise made by president Yoon Suk Yeol that was backed by public opinion.
“The revision is aimed at reducing unnecessary socioeconomic costs because legal and social disputes, as well as confusion, persist due to the different ways of calculating age,” Yoo Sang-bum, a member of the ruling People Power partym had told parliament last year.
Other Asian countries, including Japan and Vietnam, abandoned the Chinese-style age system following an influx of Western culture decades ago.
South Koreans won’t need to update any documents or IDs since the age used for government forms is based on the international system, according to Bloomberg.
The mandatory military service and school admissions follow the calendar age which takes into account the year of birth.
However, the legal age for buying liquor or cigarettes will remain the same as before, authorities said.
The definition of minors not allowed to purchase liquor and tobacco will remain the same at below 19 under the Youth Protection Act, the family ministry said on Tuesday. That means, only those born in 2004 or earlier can buy liquor or cigarettes.
The legal age at which children go to elementary schools will also remain the same under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.