Delegate Name: Nora Cowen
Child marriage is a major global concern, it is something that should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. It is an issue that affects millions globally, in all countries no matter how developed they are. One out of three girls in the developing world are married before the age of eighteen; one in nine are married before the age of fifteen. Currently, 400 million women are married before the age of eighteen. Despite being a global issue, the majority of child marriages occur in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa, where 46% of girls are married before they become adults. Child marriage rates are known to increase as instability increases, so young girls living in conflict are particularly vulberable to the practice. Ending the practice of child marriage is extremely important. It is a chance to give children back their childhoods, which every child has a right to. The institution of child marriage perpetuates the cycles of poverty, poor health, illiteracy, and violence that all negatively affect the youth of today.
The United Nations has declared that child marriages are a human rights violation and are a harmful practice that negatively affects women and girls globally. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, guidelines have been set by the UN to hopefully eliminate the practice. In Japan, without parental permission people may marry at age twenty. With parental permission, men may marry at eighteen and women may marry at sixteen. A recent study proposed revision to Japan’s Civil Code has set the age limit to getting married to eighteen for all genders. The government supports this law and hopes it will be passed in 2022. Child marriage is not a major concern within Japan itself though it is constantly working with the UN and other developed nations to combat the issue. Japanese citizens and the government agreed to target ending all child marriages in 2016, by 2030 with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Japan closely works in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, including hotspots for child marriage like Niger, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, and India. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) especially focuses on child marriage in developing nations and nations where child marriage in a concern. Japan also works with the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Malawi, Nepal, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden, along with the United States to closely combat the issue. Currently, the Japanese government is particularly working with Burkina Faso, a West African nation, to work on their child marriage issues (Yokohama Action Plan).