Definition of Youth

According to the National Youth Development Policy (2008) and the White Paper on Children and Young People 2013, the term “youth” is generally defined as those between the ages of 0 and 30.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 20
  • 18
  • --
  • Female
  • 20
  • 16
  • --

  • No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report

Majority Age


Source: Civil Code (2006)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 98.78%Male %
  • 99.53% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Japan has a 2010 youth policy vision and published an extensive White Paper on Young People in 2013.

The Vision for Children and Young People (2010) outlines the 2009 Act on the Promotion of Development and Support for Children and Young People, and replaces the National Youth Development Policy (2008). Principles include treating youth as partners with adults and providing support to youth to become proactive members of society. Priority is given to promoting happy & active living, supporting youth facing difficulties and developing systems to implement measures at the local level. Some basic measures include: supporting self-development of youth (ex. basic life skills); supporting the social development and participation through programmes such as citizenship education; improving counselling systems to ensure the health and safety of youth, and; encouraging vocational independence and employment.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
Within the Cabinet Office (which is the author of the White Paper on Children and Young People 2013), the Director-General for Policies on Cohesive Society lists the “[h]ealthy upbringing of the youth, including promotion of international youth exchange” as one of its responsibilities. The 2008 youth policy has the “Headquarters for Youth Development” as its author, and the Vision for Children and Young People (2010) is written by the “Headquarters for Promotion of Development and Support for Children and Young People”.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
Japan does not have a national youth council. Youth involvement in civil society is segmented by sector. For example, the Japan Youth Ecology League is one of the largest nation-wide networks of youth groups engaging in environmental activities. ASEAN Youth Network in Japan is also comprised of youth and student organisations in Japan, representing youth from the various ASEAN countries.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
There is no data available on the budget of the youth activities taken on by the cohesion section of the Cabinet Office. According to the World Bank, Japan spent 9.41% of its government expenditure and 3.44% of its GDP on education provision in 2008. The World Bank reports that Japan spent 3.78% of its GDP on education in 2010, but does not calculate what this translate to in terms of percentage of government expenditure.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank

Additional Background

From the National Youth Development Policy (2008):

Definition of “youth”: Youth refers to the period when, in accordance with their mental and physical development, youngsters grow from being children to being adolescents. In this period, while experiencing various troubles and emotional conflicts, adolescents establish their livelihood bases as the standard-bearers of society, contribute to society through their participation in public affairs, and widen the scope of their activities both domestically and internationally in accordance with their skills, aptitude, and so on.

Amid the enormous changes that are taking place in Japanese society and the international environment, such as the low birthrate and aging of the population, advancement of information society, the increase of nuclear families, the disparities between cities and nonmetropolitan regions, the diversification of employment patterns, and globalization of the economy.