South Korea Changes Age-Counting Method

South Koreans turned a 12 months or two youthful on Wednesday after a legislation standardizing the way in which the federal government counts age took impact.

There are three widespread methods to depend age in South Korea, however the authorities has modified its civil code to acknowledge one: ranging from zero on an individual’s date of start and including a 12 months at every birthday.

This is the age-counting technique used most frequently world wide, however it’s a departure from the nation’s hottest technique, typically referred to as “Korean age.” Under that system, an individual is taken into account 1 12 months outdated at start, and a 12 months is added to their age every Jan. 1. This meant that an toddler born on Dec. 31 was thought-about 2 years outdated the following day.

The three methods for counting age have confused and inconvenienced South Koreans in all types of conditions together with well being suggestions, labor disputes and social hierarchy.

For instance, some well being officers used inconsistent age requirements for coronavirus vaccinations. So, an individual could possibly be required to point out proof of vaccination primarily based on their age below one system but would not actually be old enough to get a vaccine below one other system.

Supporters of the change say the brand new customary will scale back these conflicts.

But it doesn’t but apply to all circumstances.

Children will proceed to start out elementary college utilizing the nation’s third counting system, generally known as “year age”: Age-counting begins as zero at start, then provides a 12 months each Jan. 1. Under this method, a child born on Dec. 31 turns 1 the following day.

For now, “year age” can even nonetheless be used to find out whether or not an individual can drink, smoke or serve within the army. So, an individual born in any month of 2004 is taken into account 19 years outdated and, subsequently, is eligible for all these issues.

The new official age-counting technique has been used for many authorized and official functions in South Korea because the 1960s.

South Korean lawmakers permitted a invoice in December to scrap the opposite age-counting strategies and “minimize unnecessary conflicts related to age and to establish social practices that conform to international standards.”

There was broad help for the change from politicians and the general public. More than 80 percent of residents the federal government surveyed in September stated that they supported the invoice.

Suh Chan S., a sociology professor at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, advised The New York Times final 12 months that whereas China and Taiwan used related age-counting strategies, South Korea stood alone in formally recognizing them.

It stays to be seen whether or not the opposite age-counting strategies will probably be deserted altogether.

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