• Let's assume that an 18 Years Old(Adult) US Citizen Travels from US To Japan where the age of majority is 20 there ,does the 18 year old US Citizen automatically become minor because the age of majority is 20 there?

  • Or the same US Citizen travels from a state where the age of majority is 18 to another state where the age of majority is 20?

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    As far as Japanese law is concerned, the person is a minor. As far as US law is concerned, the person is not a minor. But that's not particularly problematic in itself. Are you concerned about a particular conflict between Japanese and US law for such a person? – phoog Sep 9 at 23:20
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    Your question is based upon the false premise that categories in law are more universal than they are. Context is everything. Conflict of laws (the subfield of law governing which law applies to you in various circumstances) is very fact specific and often indeterminate at the time of the actual conduct in question. – ohwilleke Sep 10 at 1:04
  • Age of majority in Japan is 18 y.o. – Rambalac Sep 10 at 2:14
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    @Zheer I signed a contract for my first job in the US when I was 15. Most airlines don't require children 15 or older to use unaccompanied minor service. Some don't even offer the service to children of that age. So it is very easy for a minor to travel internationally. – phoog Sep 10 at 12:39
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    @Zheer yet I signed a contract when I was 15. Perhaps it was not legally binding. Regardless, people under 18 can certainly accept employment in many jurisdictions, if not most, even if permission of a parent or other guardian is required. But travelers don't generally do that, and their need to contract is usually limited to renting hotel rooms ... or youth hostel bunks. Youth hostels have a long history of accommodating minors. – phoog Sep 10 at 16:16

The general rule is that you are subject to the laws of the jurisdiction that you are in at the moment. When in Rome, obey Roman law. However, if you are 19 and have a contract signed while in the US, going to Japan does not render that contract unenforceable, since the enforcement would be carried out in the US. "Being a minor" does not have a single clear meaning, since for example the drinking age in the US is usually 21 even though the general age of majority is 18. It is generally understood to be the age at which you have legal control over your actions and are not subject to parental / guardian veto. It is thus possible that you would require parental consent to undergo a medical procedure in Japan, if you are under 20.

Supposing you travel to a country where the age of contractual majority is set at 20, then an 18 year old may not be able to rent a hotel room or open a credit card account. Laws do not generally forbid minors from entering into contracts, instead they deem that a contract cannot be enforced against a minor. That would put the credit card company at great risk, and the hotel at some risk, and they may be unwilling to take that risk. As it happens, statutory marriage age in Japan and age of majority are the same, but that is not always the case. So you would not get married in Japan without parental permission until you are both 20. However, despite the age of majority law, you are not a minor traveling alone starting at age 15.

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    The laws a contract is subject to isn't defined by where enforcement would be. Many contracts of an international nature contain governing law clauses for this exact reason. You could have a contract formed within the US, to be performed in the US, but depending on the circumstances, even a US court may decide a foreign law applies to the contract. – Shazamo Morebucks Sep 9 at 23:04
  • If you are a minor how do you sign contracts, get a job, get married, buy or rent property, rent a hotel? Or how do you even travel back to your home country if you are a minor? – Zheer Sep 10 at 9:57
  • @user6726 so an 18 years old needs parents consent to rent a hotel room? – Zheer Sep 10 at 15:42
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    @Zheer the hotels I checked just now had a minimum age of 21 years. – phoog Sep 10 at 16:17

You are subject to the laws of the jurisdiction that you are in.

However, some of the laws of the jurisdiction you reside in or are a citizen of have extra-territorial applicability, so you have to comply with those laws too.

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    Sometimes. But, sometimes you aren't. For example, if you are validly married in one country, many other countries will recognize that marriage even though it couldn't be lawfully entered into in their own country. Many contracts have choice of law clauses that subject you to only a single set of laws but not necessarily those of the jurisdiction you are in. Sometimes different issues in the same case are governed by the laws of different places (something called depacage). People on a ship may be governed by the of the flag it is under rather than of the port where the ship is located. – ohwilleke Sep 10 at 1:05
  • Let's assume that im 18 years old travelling to Saudi Arabia, you need to be 21 years old to travel there, how do i travel back? – Zheer Sep 10 at 10:28
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    @Zheer if it were true that you needed to be 21 to travel to Saudi Arabia, you wouldn't be admitted in the first place, so leaving wouldn't be a problem. But I do not see any evidence that it's necessary to be 21 to travel to Saudi Arabia. – phoog Sep 10 at 12:37
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    @Zheer prosecuted for what? An illegal marriage? No. First, 18-year-old males and 16-year-old females may marry in Japan, if Wikipedia is to be believed (they would require parental consent). Second, even a couple aged 17 and 15, legally married in some other jurisdiction, does not violate Japanese law by traveling to Japan. – phoog Sep 10 at 16:37
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    But this does imply some examples that may help answer your question: there are jurisdictions where such couples would violate the law by engaging in sexual activity. Similarly, a German visitor to the US who is, say, 16 years old may not buy wine or beer even though it is legal in his or her own country, and a US citizen who is 16 years old may buy and consume wine and beer in Germany. – phoog Sep 10 at 16:51

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