South Koreans to look a year or two younger as traditional age system is scrapped | world news

South Korea has passed laws to abandon its traditional methods of age counting and adopt the international standard instead – meaning many South Koreans are on the verge of looking a year or two younger.

Currently, South Koreans have a Korean age, in which a person is one year old at birth and then turns one year old on the first day of every new year. Thus, a child born on December 31 would be considered two years old the next day.

A separate method also exists for purposes of conscription or calculating the legal drinking and smoking age. In this system, a person’s age is calculated from zero at birth and a year is added on January 1.

However, South Korea also uses the international method of calculating age starting at zero at birth and adding a year at each birthday.

To put an end to any confusion, from June 23, the country will officially adopt the international system – at least on official documents.

This decision aims to standardize the way age is calculated in the country.

Yoo Sang-bum of the ruling People Power Party told parliament, “The revision aims to reduce unnecessary socio-economic costs, as legal and social disputes and confusion persist due to different ways of calculate age”.

Jeong Da-eun, a 29-year-old office worker, is happy with the change.

She said she always had to think twice when asked her age abroad.

“I remember strangers looking at me in bewilderment because it took me so long to come back with an answer about my age.”

She added: “Who wouldn’t appreciate being a year or two younger?”


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