Japan has lowered the legal age of adulthood from 20 to 18. This change means people can apply for a credit card or get a loan without parental consent once they turn 18.
The revised Civil Code entered into force on Friday. The new law also raises the legal age of marriage for women from 16 to 18, as it does for men.
But the legal age for drinking, smoking and gambling in public, such as betting on horse races, will remain at 20.
The adult age in Japan has been lowered for the first time since it was set in 1876.
The changes come as Japan faces an aging population and declining birth rate, as well as a shrinking workforce.
The government hopes that lowering the age will encourage 18 and 19 year olds to participate in the labor market and bring vitality to society.
At the same time, the government will endeavor to make new adults aware of the risk of encountering financial problems.
Separately, the country’s amended juvenile law came into force on Friday.
Offenders aged 18 and 19 continue to be protected by the Juvenile Act, instead of criminal laws. But they will be treated differently from adults and people aged 17 and under.
The amendment also allows the media to report names and other identifying information of those charged.