The Ministry of Justice in South Korea had announced the plan to amend the Civil Code on 21 September 2006, expressing its intention to provide for the same minimum age of marriage for both sexes, which is 18 for men and 16 for women under the existing legislation. On 16 October, the Ministry decided to set the age at 18, instead of 17 as was originally envisaged, after having considered expert views and the outcomes of opinion polls. The parliamentarians belonging to the Grand National Party had submitted their own bill to the same effect in May 2006, arguing that the different marriageable ages for men and women under the Civil Code are contrary to the principle of gender equality. The minimum ages for marriage under the Japanese Civil Code are the same with the ones under the Korean legislation now in force.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the monitoring body for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, states in its General Recommendation No. 21 (1994), "... the Committee considers that the minimum age for marriage should be 18 years for both man and woman. When men and women marry, they assume important responsibilities...." (para. 36 concerning Article 16 (2)).
Source: Woman Times, 21 October 2006 [Korean]
See also: SBS News [Korean]