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S. Korea decides to get rid of ‘Korean age’ system

Posted April. 12, 2022 08:29,   

Updated April. 12, 2022 08:29


The presidential transition committee will get rid of the ‘Korean age’ system to follow the international standard. If accepted, Koreans could be up to two years ‘younger’ than their Korean age.

“According to President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s presidential pledge, we will get rid of the ‘Korean age’ system and follow the international standard, both legally and socially,” Lee Yong-ho, a member of the committee and the People Power Party, said during a briefing in a press conference room of the committee located in Tongui-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul on Monday.

“As the age systems in Korea have not been unified, people have experienced continued confusion and issues when receiving administrative services, such as social welfare services, and signing or interpreting contracts, which has incurred unnecessary societal and economic costs,” he said. “Once the systems are unified to the international standard, such costs can be removed and people’s confusion and inconvenience can be addressed.”

In South Korea, the Korean age system, under which Koreans are one year old at birth and they get a year older on New Year’s Day regardless of their birth date, as well as the international age system are used together. The president-elect made a pledge as a presidential candidate to unify the systems to the international standard.

If the systems are unified to the international standard according to the presidential transition committee’s plan, South Koreans whose birthdays passed will become one year ‘younger’ and those who are expecting their birthdays this year will become two years ‘younger’ than the Korean age system.

The committee plans to put forward a revision plan this year to make sure that the related laws, such as the Civil Act and the General Act on Public Administration, are passed by the National Assembly next year. However, some point to the fact that the new age system will face some confusion and an adjusting period before it is settled in people’s lives, as was the case for the road name address system.

Sung-Hwi Kang yolo@donga.com