There was enough to lose your mind. In South Korea, there were three ways of counting your age until May 31. On 8th December last, the deputies therefore passed a law imposing the use of the international system for official documents. Their objective ? Put an end to endless administrative confusion.

The so-called “Korean age” method, called “hanguk-nai” and used by some jurisdictions, effectively considered a baby to be one year old, from the day it was born. Indeed, the tradition took into account the nine months of pregnancy and rounded the time spent in the womb of the mother to one year of life. Once born, the baby then gained a year, not on his birthday, but every January 1st. Concretely, if a child was born on December 31, he was immediately one year old. And the next day, two years…

The complications didn’t stop there. Other jurisdictions used a hybrid method of age calculation. The child was “zero” years old when he was born, but gained a year on January 1. This method was favored for determining the year of compulsory military service and the year from which a person could legally consume alcohol.

Clearly, the same person could therefore have three different ages: according to the international system (the one used in France), the so-called Korean age method and the hybrid system.

If the deputies decided to put an end to these differences in calculation, a large part of the inhabitants and companies, like certain administrations, had already adopted the “international system”.

MEPs wanted to put an end to “unnecessary social and economic costs”. And for good reason, the various counts caused confusion concerning social security coverage, the medical service but also legal and administrative procedures, reports Ouest-France . Some South Koreans were challenging insurance payments based on age.

Eight out of ten South Koreans welcome this simplification plan according to government data from September 2022. With a funny consequence: a general rejuvenation of the population on June 1st. Many people, depending on the system they were using up until then, will therefore lose one or two years.