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South Korea will change its age-counting system next year, putting an end to the traditional system in which a person is older by a year or two, NPR reported.
Parliament passed a set of bills this week that will require the use of the international age-counting system, where a person’s age is based on their birth date.
The country currently uses three systems: The international one, the “counting age” and the traditional “Korean age.”
The “counting” system calculates a person’s age from zero at birth and adds a year on Jan. 1. This method is primarily used to calculate when an individual is legally allowed to drink and smoke, according to the BBC.
But in the “Korean Age,” a person is one-year-old the day they are born and gains one year on each New Year’s Day.
The new system will take effect in June 2023, so if a baby is born before then, the “Korean age” system may apply.
While most South Koreans use the traditional system, many have expressed support for the international system. Many politicians have also criticized the traditional system, including President Yoon Suk Yeol, who said the age-counting systems created “unnecessary social and economic costs.”
Most East Asian countries have abandoned the traditional age-counting system, but countries other than South Korea have also yet to do so.
In China, for example, where the nominal age-counting system is used, a person is regarded as one-year-old on the day they are born and gains a year on the Lunar New Year.