South Koreans just became a year—or two—younger

South Koreans will grow to be not less than a yr youthful because the nation, which historically counts newborns as one yr previous, joins worldwide requirements. 

As of Wednesday, all judicial and administrative areas within the nation will start utilizing the worldwide normal or calendar age, after the Nationwide Meeting introduced the transfer final yr. It’s meant to scale back confusion and to adjust to international norms.  

South Koreans are normally known as one to 2 years older than folks elsewhere as a result of the time spent within the womb is counted, the one main nation that has the observe. The normal counting system was largely utilized in social settings and within the office, the place age hierarchies are thought of vital.

President Yoon Suk Yeol sought the change, broadly backed by public opinion, when he ran for workplace final yr.

South Koreans received’t have to replace any paperwork or IDs for the reason that age used for presidency kinds relies on the worldwide system, similar to it’s for retirement, receiving a pension and voting. Necessary navy service and college admissions comply with calendar age which takes under consideration the yr of beginning.

And it’s not like rolling again the clock will all of a sudden lower younger folks off from alcohol and cigarette consumption, both. Shops use calendar age and never “Korean age” to make sure somebody was over 19 years previous.

“The bottom line is when the youngsters are eligible to purchase cigarettes,” stated Gye Sang Hyuk, who’s run a comfort retailer simply outdoors Seoul for 20 years. Clerks will nonetheless examine the yr of beginning as regular, he stated.

Three-quarters of Koreans wished the change, based on a Hankook Analysis ballot from January 2022.

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