The government is considering setting the minimum marriage age at 18 for both genders, scrapping a provision introduced shortly after World War II that allows 16-year-old girls to get married, a government source said Thursday.
The government is considering including a provision for the unified minimum marriage age in a bill to revise the Civil Code that would also see the age of adulthood lowered to 18 from 20, the source said.
Under the current Civil Code, parental consent is required for any marriages in which the parties are under 20.
When the original civil law was enacted in the late 19th century, the minimum marriage age was set at 17 for males and 15 for females.
Such rules were introduced on the grounds that girls develop quicker than boys, but legal experts have argued there are no rational reasons to set different minimum marriage ages according to gender, given that the number of marriages involving 16-year-olds has been declining with the social advancement of women.
In 2015, 1,357, or only 0.2%, of around 630,000 women registering their marriages were aged 16 and 17, according to a Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare tally.
If the revised Civil Code is enacted, the government plans to set a notification period for the change of around three years.
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has criticized the current provision for different minimum marriage ages.
The Justice Ministry, however, is likely to forgo submitting the bill during the current Diet session as it is focusing on enacting a controversial bill to add a charge of conspiracy to commit terrorism to the law on organized crime, according to the source.
Source: Japan Today Image: Bank Image