The age of legal adulthood is to be lowered from the current 20 to 19 under a revised civil law bill, officials said Wednesday.

The bill, which was passed by the parliamentary Legislation and Judiciary Committee last month, is expected to be approved at a plenary session of the National Assembly next month, they said.

When the revision takes effect in July 2013, young adults the age of 19 will be able to undertake contracts and other legally binding acts without the consent of a legal guardian.

According to legislation officials, the age was lowered in response to a global trend of young adults maturing both mentally and physically quicker than past generations.

The legal voting age in South Korea is already 19.

Officials said they considered the fact that adolescents of that age are able to recognize the social and economic realities of society.

(The rest of the article talks also talks about how the bill is also changing laws regarding guardianship of those with disabilities.)

Source: The Korean Herald http://nwww.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20110112000713

I know this is a super old article from last year, but I keep seeing people talking about "age of consent" or "age of adulthood" when it comes to idols. This actually states what it is, and what it will be, because as far as I can tell there is no straightforward answer anywhere else. And when it comes to legal matters it is Western age, not Korean age. So while as it states voting is 19, and drinking might be 19 too, until July 1st you're only a legal adult when you're 20. Age of consent? Whole 'nother matter entirely. I've never been able to find a statement on that one. I think the fact that rape on victims under the age of 16 (if you are over 19) can get you diagnosed with pedophilia, and that the traditional marriageable age with parental consent for Korean girls is 16 (18 for boys), says a lot.

I just hope this could clear some questions up!
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