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High court upholds ruling in favor of Japan's ban on dual nationality

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I wish the eight plaintiffs the best in their appeal, but Japan’s constitution and nationality law seem to be rather clear.

Constitution of Japan, Article 10. The conditions necessary for being a Japanese national shall be determined by law.

Nationality Law, Article 11. A Japanese national shall lose Japanese nationality when he or she acquires a foreign nationality by his or her own choice.

Addressing this issue through legislation would likely be best.

18 ( +23 / -5 )

That's really Japanese mentality, keep Japanese exclusive,

"Be Japanese or be foreigners" don't be both!

-15 ( +28 / -43 )

Very narrow minded.

11 ( +37 / -26 )

There are plenty of folks who are walking around Japan today with multiple passports. Hell even immigration looks the other way when they casually ask, "Do you have a passport from another country?"

This is really not a court issue, and one that should be dealt with through legislation in the Diet. Even if the courts rule in their favor, there is not going to be any change in the law, until the Diet passes it.

This issue, and plenty of others, dealing with marriage, names, passports/nationalities are not "major" issues to the government, and until someone in the Diet brings it to the forefront it will remain as is.

12 ( +21 / -9 )

Dual nationality is often used for international tax evasion and other crimes. The principle of one person one nationality should be the norm in today’s post-globalization era.

-34 ( +18 / -52 )

I went through this with my kids. They started pressuring us when my eldest turned twelve. They gave us an ultimatum that the kids had to choose one nationality by the time they were twenty. I looked into it and there is no penalty or action they can take to make you change. They threatened us with cancelling the kids’ Japanese passports but they can’t legally do it. The penalty is having to put up with the Japanese foreign ministry and shiakusho hassling you every time you have to deal with them. The real kicker is, it’s all about the pension scam. That is why they don’t want people to have two nationalities. They want to lock everyone into the scam.

1 ( +29 / -28 )

I guess most people want a variety of passports or nationalities to choose from and owning them, from a richer country or from a touristic spot tropical island or some for having a tax haven, maybe simply for fun or as a collection etc. But of course normal people won’t and shouldn’t get them in numbers. My observations are, either here or in my home country, the few ones with holding a double or multi nationalities and several passports are the biggest troublemakers or even criminals.

-18 ( +13 / -31 )

Sounds like a ban a bunch of dumb hayseeds would come up with.

Backwards, senseless and mean spirited.

-4 ( +16 / -20 )

Dual nationality is often used for international tax evasion and other crimes.

This is one of the vague excuses that Japanese often give for why dual nationality is wrong. It isn't really true. The reality is that dual nationality is necessary in this globalised world where marriages between people of different nations are the norm and people frequently live in countries were they weren't born.

21 ( +34 / -13 )

Dual nationality is often used for international tax evasion and other crimes. The principle of one person one nationality should be the norm in today’s post-globalization era.

Nonsense. There are millions and millions of people around the world that lived/were born in one country and have a special connection/affection to a second country hence the expression that’s my second home. It is a perfectly natural situation because it’s not like we can control our future (work, family, etcetera).

19 ( +29 / -10 )

Nationality Law, Article 11. A Japanese national shall lose Japanese nationality when he or she acquires a foreign nationality by his or her own choice.

Surely this is a positive for allowing dual nationality to remain with someone throughout their life.

One does not choose to be the child of parents from two different countries.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

I ve met many Japaneses with dual nationalities, it doesnt matter how they got that, its a part of their identity! Administration love the excuse of tax evasion, military service etc...Simply remember, a government never share a list of his citizens!!

I am glad and proud of my international family roots.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Insular xenophobic mentality.

-15 ( +19 / -34 )

(edited)

Dual nationality is often used for international tax evasion and other crimes. The principle of one person one nationality should be the norm in today’s post-globalization era.

Nonsense. There are millions and millions of people around the world that lived/were born in one country and have a (special) connection with/an affection for a second country hence the expression that’s my second home. It is a perfectly natural situation because it’s not like we can control our future (workfamilyetcetera). It’s reasonable to be talking about dual nationality, two, not three or four.

Today  07:59 am JST Sounds like a ban a bunch of dumb hayseeds would come up with.

Backwards, senseless and mean spirited.

Absolutely(!)

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

This case is different from those born with dual nationality rights.

The Japanese govt cannot take away a citizens birth right to Japanese nationality or a foreign nationality if the child has parents of both nationalities.

The businessmens claims are just and dual citizenship should be possible in this globalized world.

Galapagos thinking still entrenched.

2 ( +15 / -13 )

The real kicker is, it’s all about the pension scam. That is why they don’t want people to have two nationalities. They want to lock everyone into the scam.

No, this is incorrect. A person with dual nationalities is required by both countries to follow the laws pertaining to each country.

If you have Japanese citizenship and are living in Japan, you are required by law to pay into the system. It's a tax, and there are guidelines regarding payment when they are still of school age and are not required to pay anyway. Once they start working, it's a different story.

If you want to keep the citizenship, you have to follow the laws, you don't, nor should you expect, nor are entitled to any special treatment because you have another country's nationality. In fact the very reasons you are stating are why the government doesn't want people to have dual citizenships, because people like you want to use that as an excuse to not fulfilling your obligations, under the law, as a citizen

 They started pressuring us when my eldest turned twelve

Who is the " they".... I find this very difficult to swallow. I have 3 adult children, and this never occurred to us. Also the local municipality would not be "pressuring" anyone regarding nationality. The only authority here is the Justice Ministry and I find it hard to believe that they would seek out the parents of a 12 year old to pressure them to "choose" a nationality.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

One does not choose to be the child of parents from two different countries.

Hence the current law here that is supposed to require them to choose by their end of their 21st year of life!

Oh and they CAN maintain the passport/nationality of their "other" country, if that country allows dual citizenships. It's not like Japan sends out a message to the other stating that the person gave up said country's citizenship or passport.

It's in reality a grey area here in Japan, as there are literally thousands of Japanese who carry more than one passport.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

""could cause conflict in the rights and obligations between countries, as well as between the individual and the state.""

NO YOUR HONOR, IT COULD NOT.

This is so wrong it undermines the basic foundation of any style of democracy,

Japan will overcome this hurdle at some point and soon, KEPP ON FIGHTING.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Lindsay

Who were "they"?

How did "they" know your children had 2 passports? There's no way or reason the J-govt should ever find out, apart from at airport immigration if they see you've been using a different passport, but nationality laws are legally no concern of border control.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I know someone with three passports (one being Japanese) and they are in the 40's... don't ask, don't tell as long as you pay your taxes.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This is in the "don't ask - don't tell" category. This is a country that can't figure out marriage rights for it's own people, or surrogacy. Shall we bring up equality for women or LGBT...? It will take another 20 years until all the old boys have died off in gov, and hopefully some new thinkers are in there for my kids' future.

Doubt it though.

2 ( +16 / -14 )

Japan seems to be reverting back to self isolation.

-12 ( +15 / -27 )

I have a koseki or family registry (five generations). I am Japanese and have two citizenships. I know many people who went to school in the U.S. and got an US citizenship. If you have a family address in Japan, it is not difficult to renew your passport in Japan. The consul general outside of Japan in many places does not force people born after 1985 to choose a citizenship at 20 years of age. I have renewed my Japanese in Japan and outside of Japan with no problems.

My grandchildren are dual citizens. They can make up their mind where to live if they can read/write/speak at a university level in two languages especially Japanese.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

NO YOUR HONOR, IT COULD NOT.

This is so wrong it undermines the basic foundation of any style of democracy,

Actually it could, as an example, if you are required, by the laws of one country, to serve in the military, you would have to potentially leave Japan, to fulfil the obligation to maintain the citizenship of the other country.

There are potential problems, but the benefits far outweigh them. Oh and only something like 49% of the countries in the world allow dual citizenships.

Read this

https://immigrantinvest.com/blog/countries-that-allow-dual-citizenship-en/

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Tokyo High Court endorsed a district court ruling in January 2021 that deemed dual citizenship "could cause conflict in the rights and obligations between countries, as well as between the individual and the state."

So how are the many nations that recognize dual nationality able to survive and continue if that's the case?

Japan's laws on dual nationality are another backwards institution that, for the sake of Japan's future, should be changed. There is no rational reason why Japan should not recognize dual nationality with specific countries of it's choosing strictly on a reciprocal basis.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

One does not choose to be the child of parents from two different countries.

But you have to choose which country you belong to.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

Addressing this issue through legislation would likely be best.

Exactly it should left to the Japanese people to decided. And we know how the Japanese people feel about it. Do we not?

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

There is an important distinction to make between this ruling, which affects Japanese nationals who actively take another nationality during their lifetime, and those who were born with more than one nationality including Japanese.

As is stated in the article, this only reinforces the existing rule that once you actively take another nationality, you automatically forfeit your Japanese nationality. This ruling says nothing about those who are born with Japanese and another nationality.

Yes, as a child who grows up with dual nationality, there is a point where you are supposed to choose which nationality to keep. At that point you tell the Japanese government you will keep Japanese nationality and strive to renounce the other nationality. That is all that is necessary. There is no need to present proof that the other nationality has indeed been renounced. There is no need to hide the fact that you have another passport. When reapplying for a Japanese passport there is a question asking if you have another nationality, and you answer truthfully yes. There is no consequence.

As with any dual national, when entering and exiting country X, you use the passport of country X. When entering and exiting country Y, you use the passport of country Y.

Parents of kids who are dual nationals, don't need to panic. This ruling doesn't affect them at all

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Don't ask, don't tell.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Dual nationality is the way to go!

8 ( +13 / -5 )

sigh, being born dual should let you keep both. I don't see why a citizen who was born Japanese should have to renounce their citizenship if they go abroad.

Many who get married abroad, live abroad, and raise children abroad should have the option to come back if they wanted to. It will help with our declining population a tad bit by welcoming those Japanese that have seen the world and have an open minded view. Possibly bring along their children as well.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

C'mon Japan, allow dual nationality and get with the program! Then you too can have a Congress stuffed with politicians that claim to serve two countries, just like in the US.

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

If you were not born an American,you are just renting citizen ship, because it can be stripped from a naturalized citizen do to fraud,lots of people obtain citizenship and move to another,the Immigration consider you have abandoned,being an American,by residing ,like obtaining American citizenship and getting Japanese residency is immigration violation fraud Google US Immigration Citizenship Revoked

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Acquiring citizenship is not a right, it’s a privilege. Totally different than birthright citizenship based on the place of birth and/ or nationality of the parents. That’s where the court is making the distinction. Stop complaining.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Like everything in Japan, these things are only an issue when you bring them up. So many people with two passports out there They just keep it to yourself and get on with your life. These 8 plaintiffs have just outed themselves and will never have the chance to hold two passports.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Why do you think plenty of business men in the world have Israeli-US-Swiss passport (and a European one above that as it is easy to get) ?

I am French and all for equality between people in the world, not the other way around when you get a nationality to get the rights, but not the duties.

I have seen countless do so, even one of my closest friend...especially right after conscription was stopped in 2002.

Don't stay ignorant : indeed it benefits to those with multiple passports to avoid either tax, duties, or get cheaper access (when buying real estate, or visa cost, etc).

For people who were born with dual nationalities, that is different as it is indeed natural.

The day there is a war, one needs to chose their side. Think about it, with still many Russians agreeing to the war but happy to come to my country to ski in Courchevel without trouble because having that Swiss or EU passport...

We are not talking about billionaire oligarchs here.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Maybe they should do dual citizenship with dual tax like US, I don't think it is very fair for some to gain benefits from 2 countries while usually only contributing to one side.

If they feel it is their right to have the benefits then the government can go ahead and show these people that the country has its right to stand by their residents who live there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The eight plaintiffs, who were born in Japan but now live in Europe, plan to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Good luck and God's speed

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Yet another article that doesn't really explain what this is about, and it actually makes people think this trial was about "legalizing dual nationality".

It wasn't.

What this trial was all about equality under the law. Unlike people who are born with dual nationality, which have the option of doing the rather simple "Choice of Nationality", which to be honest for all intents and purposes allows people to have dual nationality even if Japan stance is that it doesn't, while people who get a second nationality by residence get "automatically" striped of their Japanese nationality.

The main point of this trial was all about that, the fact that people who get their nationality AFTER birth, according to the law, automatically get striped of the Japanese nationality, and there is no option of doing the whole "Choice of Nationality" thingy.

Because, for example, even people who naturalize Japanese, the MOJ allows in special situations (like when that person isn't allowed to get rid of their secondary nationality) allows exactly the whole "Choice of Nationality" as "good enough".

This trial WASN'T about allowing explicitly dual nationality or anything like that.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Literally just making more bureaucracy issues for themselves by upholding this outdated view. Especially for their so called beloved entrepreneurs that they want to associate themselves with Japan.

“we want rich people to do business in japan!”

-rich Japanese person doing business abroad-

“make good decisions so I can do business unabated with this one simple change!”

”yaaaa muzukashi….”

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Dual nationality is often used for international tax evasion and other crimes

Complete misinformation. With the exemption of the USA and Eritrea, all countries have residence based taxation, not citizenship based taxation.

And people who are from the USA are actually in a more precarious situation because they are liable to both, the USA and the country where they live, so there are no benefits at all for tax purposes.

I know someone with three passports (one being Japanese) and they are in the 40's... don't ask, don't tell as long as you pay your taxes.

People who are born with dual nationality can keep it for all intents and purposes. They only need to do the "choice of nationality" application in their local ward and that's all, they don't need to actually get rid of their other nationality.

Also there are people who get naturalized and just never tell Japan, but this is an state of "violation" and if found out there can be pretty heavy consequences, especially if you try to renew your passport after the fact and lie in the application about not having another nationality.

The whole point of this trial is to stop being in "violation" if they never tell Japan, as many people actually currently are.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

GaijinjlandToday  12:18 pm JST

Acquiring citizenship is not a right, it’s a privilege.

How's that then, when anyone who fulfils the requirements can do it?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I agree. It would be a great honor to be Japanese. This is something not to be taken lightly. Look before you leap. You can’t eat your cake and have it too.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

fatrainfallingintheforest

I'm talking about that there is a form called the "Notification of Choice of Nationality" which you fill, mostly just with your personal info, you give it to the Koseki section of the Municipal Office where you live, and that's all you need to do.

According to the MOJ, this procedure has internally the name of "Declaration of selection of Japanese Nationality", but once again, what you have to do is fill and present at your local municipal office the "Notification of Choice of Nationality".

This gets actually recorded in your Koseki.

What the law says about what to do after this Notification is a "努力義務" (Obligation to make efforts) to get rid of your other nationality, but since this "Obligation to just make an effort" is extremely ambiguous as to what it actually constitutes, for all intents and purposes you can just continue having the other nationality without any repercussions.

In fact, there is no recorded precedent of anyone getting in any kind of trouble for not doing anything after the notification.

Actually, this "Obligation to make efforts" is used every time the government wants to make something to seem like it is an obligation just by face value while not actually being an obligation.

For example, taking the Covid Vaccine was also "動力義務".

3 ( +5 / -2 )

YrralToday  10:26 am JST

If you were not born an American,you are just renting citizen ship, because it can be stripped from a naturalized citizen do to fraud,lots of people obtain citizenship and move to another,the Immigration consider you have abandoned,being an American,by residing ,like obtaining American citizenship and getting Japanese residency is immigration violation fraud Google US Immigration Citizenship Revoked

You really don't know what you're talking about. The US in general does not differentiate between US born citizens and naturalized citizens with respect to losing citizenship, with the exception of if the naturalization was obtained fraudulently. Beyond that the requirements are the same.

An American ctitizen can live in Japan or any other country (with some exclusions) under any visa status including PR or even naturalization (The US recognizes dual citizenship) without losing US citizenship.

The process of losing US citizenship, whether from birth or naturalization isnot a simple one, as it requires proving an intent to gove up US citizenship.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

sakurasuki

That's really Japanese mentality, keep Japanese exclusive,

"Be Japanese or be foreigners" don't be both!

It is not that simple. Japan accepts double nationality if aqquired by birth (my sons have 2 nationalities), but rejects citizens aquiring a second nationality by choice. (My own country has the same rule.) Nothing special here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It is not that simple. Japan accepts double nationality if acquired by birth (my sons have 2 nationalities), but rejects citizens acquiring a second nationality by choice. (My own country has the same rule.) Nothing special here.

It is that simple.

Your sons will have to make the choice when they hit 21 on which they choose to "keep" if they stay in Japan. If they pick the "other" country, they will have to file for a residency visa and carry around the "card" all the time.

You also seem to be confused about the difference between "nationality" and "citizenship". Japan does not "reject" anyone from having a 2nd nationality, but they do not openly accept a person from having a citizenship from another country.

Japan accepts dual citizens until they are 21 after that it's a different ballgame.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The process of losing US citizenship, whether from birth or naturalization isnot a simple one, as it requires proving an intent to gove up US citizenship.

And it costs a lot of money too!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yubaru

> It is that simple.

Your sons will have to make the choice when they hit 21 on which they choose to "keep" if they stay in Japan. If they pick the 

For your information: They are both over 21.

You are welcome.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For your information: They are both over 21.

Then they only officially have citizenship here in Japan if they live here. They can not legally hold more than one here. But no one at immigration nor the government does anything about it.

For your information you are still confused between nationality and citizenship. You are welcome too!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There is no punishment for holding dual nationality.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yubaru

For your information you are still confused between nationality and citizenship. You are welcome too!

Legal sophistry. Clearly we are talking about citizenship here (2 passports), and not some fuzzy identity issue of belonging to some vaguely defined "nation". And yes, they have two passports. They asked about it and both authorities stated that they have to enter the country with its passport, if they hold one. For other countries, they can choose. You are welcome again.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Legal sophistry. Clearly we are talking about citizenship here (2 passports), and not some fuzzy identity issue of belonging to some vaguely defined "nation".

You are the one talking about a "vaguely defined nation". I am talking about Japan. Citizenship and nationality are two totally different things, and you still dont seem to understand the difference.

Your sons are "legally" dual citizens in the "vaguely defined nation" you refer to, but the are NOT legally dual citizens here, no matter how hard to try, they aren't. I get the feeling your sons understand it better than you do.どういたしまして、this is about Japan!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If it suits Japan they can find a way to allow 'dual nationality'. The strange case of Alberto Fujimori, the former President of Peru, who sought haven in Japan in 2001 and had it granted on the basis he still had Japanese citizenship.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My child has 3 passports and one of them being Japanese, the other 2 passports the countries both permit duo citizenship. I will tell my child to keep their mouth quiet, and before they turn 18, they can get a 10-year passport and so an issue they won't have to deal with until they turn 28 and at an age where they may have decided their career path. Just nonsense, when the population is declining, and the birth rate down can they afford to lose more of their citizens.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

justasking....

My child has 3 passports

A passport is a document to make travel between two countries easier. It does not signify nationality.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

roylance.norton -

Precisely.

And I'm sure that's the Biggee why the govt treads on eggshells over this.

They publicly issued such in record time ( 1 week?) contradicting their own blah, blah, blah!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A passport is a document to make travel between two countries easier. It does not signify nationality.

Not nationality, but is proof of citizenship in many if not most countries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If it suits Japan they can find a way to allow 'dual nationality'. The strange case of Alberto Fujimori, the former President of Peru, who sought haven in Japan in 2001 and had it granted on the basis he still had Japanese citizenship.

It was because he was charged with crimes in Peru and the Peruvian government sought his extradition, and not about seeking safe haven.

He was treated as being a Japanese citizen, based upon his nationality, and a special case here, under this law.

The Master Nationality Rule is a consequence of Article 4 of the Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws of 1930. This provides that "a State may not afford diplomatic protection to one of its nationals against a state whose nationality such person also possesses".[1]

In terms of practical effect, it means that when a multiple citizen is in the country of one of his or her nationalities, that country has the right to treat that person as if he or she were solely a citizen or national of that country. This includes the right to impose military service obligations, or to require an exit permit to leave.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_Nationality_Rule

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yubaru - taking the stance he was not seeking safe haven is just a bit of word play.

And yes you are correct in your details. But in Fujimori's case it is the manner in which all happened.

Fujimori suddenly left Brunei for Japan instead of returning to Peru to escape obvious criminal investigations and resigned his premiership by fax from Tokyo. He remained in Japan for years ably supported by right-wing sympathisers.

His citizenship was hastily approved to protect him. It would take a mere mortal ages to navigate the bureaucracy to achieve the same.

As an aside - probably he was always a Japanese national. His original birth documents were always under suspicion as to be President in Peru one needed to be born there. It is highly likely he was born in Japan - travel documents of his parents at the time of immigration seem to indicate this. Which means that he became president by deception - maybe.

But the bottom line is - by accepting Fujimoris Japanese nationality, the govt of the day acknowledged surreptitiously or otherwise, that dual citizenship is acceptable. He was not required to "renounce" his Peruvian nationality.

But Govt Inc being what it is will never say that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sad but expected, maybe in another 50 years

0 ( +0 / -0 )

RighteousFeb. 22  04:24 pm JST

Japan just keeps shooting itself in the foot. Hey, our population is on the precipice of plummeting, our kids aren't getting married, and one ray of hope is immigrants and dual nationals and hey let's restrict that. Totally asinine.

Not asinine at all, I imagine, to elderly LDP politicians mainly representing dull-witted old folk in scabby provincial backwaters. They don't want a whole lot of new voters suddenly appearing in their constituencies and threatening their re-election prospects. They might actually have to put some work into winning and they wouldn't have a clue what to do, especially if the new voters were.... foreign.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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