South Korea has adopted the international standard for calculating ages. This will mean that citizens in South Korea will be 1 to 2 years younger when they use official documents.
Koreans are considered to be one year old at birth and one year each January. This age is most often referred to in daily life.
Another system is available for conscription or to calculate the legal age of alcohol and smoking. In this system, a person’s birth year begins at zero and is then added on January 1.
South Korea, however, has used international standards to calculate from birth at zero and add one year for every birthday since the 1960s.
When the new laws, which only use the international method to count ages in June 2023, take effect, the confusing assortment of systems that existed will be gone – at the very least for official documents.
Yoo Sangbum, the leader of People Power Party said that the revision was intended to reduce unnecessary socio-economic cost because there are still legal and social disputes due to different methods of calculating the age.
Jeong Daeun is a 29 year-old office worker who was happy to see the changes. She said she had always thought twice about being asked about her age overseas.
“I can remember foreigners staring at me in puzzlement, because I took so long to give an answer about how old I am. “Who wouldn’t want to be a year older?” She added.