|▲ Executive Secretary Lee Yong-ho who briefs on the Legal and Social Age Calculation Unification Policy (Source: Yonhap News)|
On April 11, the Presidential Transition Committee announced that it would push for the unification of the social age calculation method. President-elect Yoon seok-yeol made a pledge to reunify the nation based on, "Count Age in Full Policy," when he was a Presidential Candidate. Since then, he has been Elected in the 20th Presidential Election in March 2022, and various opinions have been raised on the promotion of age unification.
Currently, Counting Age, Count Age in Full, and Year Age are commonly used in Korea. In everyday life, there are times of confusion as the Korean-style of age counting, the international standard of Counting Age, and the current year minus the year of birth, are used together. In fact, while introducing each other's age, they use, "Korean Age," an international standard for civil law or official documents, while using Year Age in Military Service Laws that determines who is eligible to go to the Military or who can seek protection under the Youth Protection Laws. Lee yong-ho, Executive Secretary of the Political Affairs and Judiciary Administration Division of the Transition Committee, said, "The Legal and Social Age Calculation Law is not unified, causing unnecessary social and economic costs, as people continue to receive administrative services such as social welfare services, sign or interpret contracts." For example, the age of applying the Wage Peak System, which is defined as 56 years old, was interpreted by the Lower Court as 56 years old and the Supreme Court as 55 years old, causing disputes lasting for more than six years. In addition, there is a situation in which confusion has arisen in the interpretation of those under the age of 30, who are not recommended to be administered the AstraZeneca vaccination in the reservation service on the day of the remaining vaccine for COVID-19.
The Transition Committee said it is to first establish the principle of, "Count Age in Full," in civil and administrative fields by establishing the, “Year Age," calculation method and notation in the Civil Law and the Basic Administrative Law. Then, push for the improvement of individual laws that currently adopt the, “Year Age," calculation method. It said it is considering stipulating the principle of applying, "Count Age in Full," to the Civil Laws, or how to calculate it, and stipulating the responsibility of using only, "Count Age in Full," when establishing various policies and writing official documents to the public. Additionally, it said it aims to draft a revision to the Administrative Basic Law within this year and submit it to the National Assembly, so that the Ministry of Justice can pass it in the National Assembly by next year.
"If the use of, ‘Count Age in Full,’ is established in daily life, it is expected to have a positive effect on society, such as minimizing public confusion when laws are applied or when administrative and medical services are provided, leaving no room for dispute over age interpretation in various contracts," said Lee yong-ho. In addition, he added, "Currently, legal experts are recognized as having Full Age, but most people are less aware that age is legally correct," adding, "There are cases where they are old in youth-related laws or military service-related laws." Park soon-ae, a member of the Transition Committee, said, "We believe that it is appropriate to include age regulations in Civil Law and Basic Administrative Law due to the financial costs if individual laws are rewritten." Lee doo-ah, a former lawmaker, said, "If it can't go after your birthday, but if it can go after your birthday, it's a little complicated," adding, "If you apply the age, you should revise such laws or make matters related to teenagers favorable to you."
The Count Age in Full Unification side welcomed the transition, saying, "The Age Law came from China, but even North Korea is not using it anymore," adding, "It is right to remove the outdated Age Law, which is only in use in Korea, by January 1st.” However, from an opposing point of view, "It reflects the beautiful value of Korea, which has been recognized as a life since birth," and, "It is already calculated on a legal basis based on age, therefore, I don't know how they intend to integrate it."
By Jung In-hee, reporter email@example.com
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