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New South Korean Law Will Make Citizens a Year Younger

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By Augustine Mbam - - 5 Mins Read
South Koreans pictured in a market
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How awkward would it be for a 15th-year-old to become 15 again on their supposed 16th-year birthday? This is the current case in South Korea, as their age law completely contrasts what you conventional know about dates. 


In most countries, a child's age is counted from the moment they are born. However, South Korea has a unique method of calculating age. In South Korea, a child is considered to be one year old at the moment of birth. Therefore, when they celebrate their first birthday, they are actually turning two years old.


South Korean lawmakers have recently passed a law to adopt the common age counting system used by many other countries. This change will require everyone in the country to switch to the new system in order to comply with the law. Interestingly, this also means that those who previously used the traditional age-counting method will now be considered a year younger under the new South Korean age law.

A south Korean teen poses for a picture on a staircase
A South Korean teen

The adoption of the International age standard or calendar has been agreed upon by all judicial and administrative sectors in South Korea. The main objective of this law is to eliminate confusion between the traditional South Korean age system and the international standard. 

Government Fulfilling a Campaign Promise With the New Law 

Apparently, the South Korean government didn't just get the idea of removing the traditional age system in the country by themselves. The majority of the people had given them the idea that they were no longer comfortable with starting the count of their age immediately from birth. So one of the campaign promises made by the current government of South Korea was to remove the old method of counting age once they get into power, and they are just fulfilling their promise to the people. 


Apart from fulfilling the people's wishes, the South Korean government saw much confusion with the old method of age counting. Sometimes in the midst of these confusions, it results in legal disputes of age. "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 party had told parliament last year when the law was still in developmental stages. 

Other Asian Countries Ahead of South Korea 

South Korea is beginning to abolish the traditional age counting this year, which means they are late compared to other Asian countries. Japan, Vietnam, and other Asian countries left the old Chinese-style age system following the massive introduction of Western culture decades ago.


Nevertheless, reports from Bloomberg say that despite the change in their age counting system, South Koreans won't need to change their identification cards. This is because the government had been using their actual date of birth for their ID cards instead of the former age-counting method.