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Japanese status choice among dual nationality holders surges in FY2016

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To choose to remain as a Japanese national, the law stipulates that a person has to make efforts to give up foreign citizenship, or submit a report on having lost foreign nationality.

This is still seriously a grey area. It's not as easy as it seems to "give up" one's citizenship in certain countries, and costs money as well.

So if someone makes the effort, and fails, then what? It's ok?

12 ( +16 / -4 )

 It's not as easy as it seems to "give up" one's citizenship in certain countries,

Just go to your embassy or consulate and sign a piece of paper renouncing citizenship. If there's problem with that, then file a report to your ward office explaining you made an effort (as the article explains). Problem solved.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

JeffLee.

As Yubaru said no that easy in some countries, mostly ones that also don't allow dual-citizenship like mine.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I remember someone here on JT having dual nationality and explained that it was pretty easy to do. Im still permanent and wondering what the pro's are to become a Japanese national. I believe it was only that you'll be able to vote.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Folks, this blurb ISNT something positive or good for Japan, it is showing its stubbornness  & backwardness. What would be good would be to ALLOW for dual citizenship, THEN Japan could watch numbers grow!!  Just sayin!!

25 ( +27 / -2 )

Papi.

You are right voting is the difference.

Like you I am on PR but my son wants to keep his overseas citizenship(meaning he has to serve and use my family-name).

Mostly affects kids of mixed parents where they are granted automatic citizenship in both countries.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Just go to your embassy or consulate and sign a piece of paper renouncing citizenship. 

Really? For folks from the US it costs over $2000.00 to renounce their citizenship

8 ( +10 / -2 )

More asking than telling here, but I was under the impression that dual UK-Japanese citizens can choose to be Japanese without fully renouncing UK citizenship. So the UK government will let you do whatever the Japanese authorities want when choosing Japan, but will still issue a UK passport after that, on the assumption that you won't tell the Japanese authorities about it. If you choose to be a UK citizen however, you lose all rights to Japanese citizenship, because Japan does not recognize dual citizenship.

My oldest is 12, so this is just what I heard and not from experience. Please correct me if I am wrong.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It will be a News when the number will be over 30,000 or 300,000.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

To choose to remain as a Japanese national, the law stipulates that a person has to make efforts to give up foreign citizenship, or submit a report on having lost foreign nationality.

In many countries, they will turn a blind to having another citizenship, so it makes sense for dual holders to claim Japanese citizenship then secretly keep the other one.

I find it odd that the nationalist are so adamant about being pure Japanese when the average Japanese can't tell me what that is. (I.e. Korean ancestry, Mongolian ancestry, Chinese ancestry, Okinawian, Ainu).

Don't forget all the new Southeast Asian, European, and African DNA. Even the Royal family is included. So, how many generations does it take to be accepted?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

If you want your dual citizens to stay in Japan then let them stay dual citizens. Isn't the population decreasing ?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I remember someone here on JT having dual nationality and explained that it was pretty easy to do.

For kids born to a Japanese and a foreign parent, yes. But apparently if you take Japanese citizenship as an adult, and don't renounce your other citizenship, apparently they can and will take it away if they figure out you have it.

That said, my Canadian friend talked to the Canadian embassy about this, and apparently they won't disclose whether or not a name is a Canadian citizen to foreign entities. So maybe some nationalities may have an easier time hiding this than others.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If they ask say no, honesty does not pay with citizenship. It creates a mess nobody wants to deal with. Unless as a sociopath you wish to run for office.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It can be a grey area. You can explicitly relinquish a citizenship, for example some Americans do that to dodge the pesky IRS. However you can keep citizenship for the other countries when you leave Japan, as long as you only use the JP passport to travel. There's nothing Japanese government can do about it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@kohakuebisu

More asking than telling here, but I was under the impression that dual UK-Japanese citizens can choose to be Japanese without fully renouncing UK citizenship.

The truth is that nobody really knows. The issue has never come before the courts as far as I'm aware. I've heard some people (all westerners) insist that it is perfectly legal to keep both since there are no consequences explicitly spelled out in the law. As persuasive as this loophole may sound, it's an extremely literal and Anglo-American way of interpreting legislation. Japanese courts would take a very broad and purposive interpretations that fills in the gaps, reads between the lines, and considers what the legislators were aiming to do even if they failed to write it down. With that in mind, I think it's possible that a Japanese court could conclude that doing anything inconsistent with your choice of Japanese citizenship (such as renewing a UK passport, travelling with it, or presenting it to UK passport control when you enter the UK) renders your choice invalid and automatically strips you of your Japanese citizenship. But again, nobody knows for sure yet.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yosha Bunko website has an excellent resource on the issue of dual nationality, citizenship, family registers, legal issues, change of allegiance, and naturalisation, written by William Wetherall. I recommend it to all who are interested.

The link is here: http://www.yoshabunko.com/main/nationality.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )

if you have dual citizenship, give up your Japanese passport. Japan is a failing, corrupt, stagnant nation and it is only going to get worse.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

It's very simple, you have 3 choices: 1) commit to Japan 100% and get Japanese citizenship and renounce your old citizenship. 2) Live in Japan as a foreigner. 3) Leave Japan

Stop trying to have your cake and eat it.

-16 ( +7 / -23 )

Everybody should have a right to have another choice.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

And, do you know why Japan is so strict about duel nationalities? It's because of their failed pension system. They want to make sure they get every yen out of everybody they can. They've been pressuring me for years to cancel my teenage kids' duel nationality and just keep avoiding them. They only keep their Japanese nationality coz it's easier for schooling, but when push comes to shove, it will be their Japanese passport that goes in the fire.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

It's very simple, you have 3 choices: 1) commit to Japan 100% and get Japanese citizenship and renounce your old citizenship. 2) Live in Japan as a foreigner. 3) Leave Japan

Stop trying to have your cake and eat it.

It's not equivalent to having your cake and eating it too. A cake is a physical thing, and therefore it's impossible to do both of those things. Whereas having dual nationality is something that is done in many countries in the world, and is entirely possible.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

ONLY works if BOTH countries allow Dual Citizenship, in my sons case neither does.

My country will refuse citizenship application unless the other one is given up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@disillusioned. I can’t get a Japanese passport but are forced to pay pension. After the great Tokyo earthquake, my retirement is finished as there will be no pension. The only hope is I can go back to my country of birth, and be poor and homeless.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They've been pressuring me for years to cancel my teenage kids' duel nationality and just keep avoiding them. 

What are you talking about? Teenagers are legally, yeah read that please, LEGALLY allowed to carry both citizenship's here in Japan. They are supposed to make their choice by the time they turn 22.

It is incredulous to believe that the government has been pressuring you for "years", because they have no legal ground to stand on, none at all.

Seems to me you are embellishing the story with "alternative facts" to attempt to make your point.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

M3M3M3

Thanks for your comment. The current situation seems to be relying on "don't tell" and lacking in resolution.

Given the anti-immigration sentiment in the UK and the way this has affected non-EU spouses of UK citizens, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the UK changing its future practices and no longer recognizing non-reciprocal dual citizenship, especially if the other country is one that demands some act of renouncement of UK nationality. Twenty years ago, the thought of a UK citizen's husband or wife not getting in the country would have been dismissed as ridiculous. That's how much the ground has shifted.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Disillusioned,

”They've been pressuring me for years to cancel my teenage kids' duel nationality and just keep avoiding them.”

So you have been under pressure for years about the dual status of your now teenage children, so that’s been since they were very little? Who are “they” and what forms has the pressure taken? Since it’s supposed to be perfectly legal for the kids to have both nationalities until they reach the age of choice at 22, it would seem that you’d be within your rights to have a lawyer take action (such as a cease and desist type of letter).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Educator60 - They started sending letters stating the kids could only have one nationality when the eldest turned 12. The letters come from the 'shiakusho' (city hall) with health insurance statements because the kids are registered there in both nationalities. The letters request relinquishing one of the childrens' nationalities for the sake of the pension and health insurance systems.

@Yubaru - Seems to me you are embellishing the story with "alternative facts" to attempt to make your point.

You don't have any kids in Japan, do you Yubaru? Please read the above statement and stop being such a know-it-all!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@Disillusioned

I'm curious. How are your kids 'registered in both nationalities' at the city hall? What form requires you to enter their nationality?

I can't remember it with my two. Long time ago.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The letters request relinquishing one of the childrens' nationalities for the sake of the pension and health insurance systems.

I don't understand this. Nationality surely has nothing to do with either pension or health insurance. You pays when it's your turn, you takes out when it's your turn.

You don't have any kids in Japan, do you..?

I've raised two kids here, no one official ever asked them about their nationality, never got any letters about pension or health insurance being dependent on having a Japanese passport/not having a foreign passport. (With my 100% foreign passport, neither pension nor health insurance has ever been an issue.)

Why would you make a point of registering your kids' dual nationality at the shiyakusho? It's nothing to do with them.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I am from America and I am a perm res in Japan. I do not see the need to give up my citizenship for Japanese citizenship. I do understand the people coming from Nations that are at war or have extreme poverty rates. In the end the decision should be made on what is best for you and your family. One can complain about not being able to have dual citizenship but you can also reside in a country that allows it. The bottom line is this is Japan and we are in their home and thus need to respect and follow their rules. Remember you are free to go anytime.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You don't have any kids in Japan, do you Yubaru? Please read the above statement and stop being such a know-it-all!

I have three children here in Japan, been through a bunch of crap with regards to their education, but NEVER anything to do with nationality, and your

They started sending letters stating the kids could only have one nationality when the eldest turned 12. The letters come from the 'shiakusho' (city hall) with health insurance statements because the kids are registered there in both nationalities. The letters request relinquishing one of the childrens' nationalities for the sake of the pension and health insurance systems.

Do you know how ludicrous this sounds? Look at all the foreigners living and working here in Japan that pay into the pension scheme and health insurance, many times even when they don't want to, but do so because of the law, and it has ZERO to do with their nationalities.

Your children's nationalities have ZERO to do with pension, and pensions do not even start being billed until they turn adults. Meaning after 20. Yes some pay in earlier., if they are hired in full time positions.

So yeah I do know what I am talking about here, and neither the pension nor health insurances/tax have anything to do with nationality, as ANYONE who works here is supposed to be under any other the systems in place now.

What you wrote makes ZERO sense.

I'm curious. How are your kids 'registered in both nationalities' at the city hall? What form requires you to enter their nationality?

They aren't, it's that simple.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Disillusioned,

”The letters request relinquishing one of the childrens' nationalities for the sake of the pension and health insurance systems.”

If that’s the case, your city hall is seriously misinformed and overstepping the bounds of their authority. As others have pointed out, their health insurance and pensions should not be linked to their nationality, at least on the Japanese side (as many of us aliens who are forced to have them can testify). And in any case, under Japanese law they are not obligated to select a nationality until they are 22. (I’d just qualify that by saying there might possibly be some convoluted cases involving countries that don’t allow dual nationality for children, but would the Japanese side get involved with that?) Anyway, unless you have misunderstood the letters, your city hall needs to be set straight. You are not likely to be the only person in your city with dual nationality kids. Do you know if others are getting the same letters?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Im still permanent

You're not "permanent", papagiulio—there's no such thing as "permanent residence" in Japan, only "long-term residence", which has to be renewed every seven years.

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

I don't have to renew my PR, only the card. 15yrs on PR with no renewal.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@angus sorry your wrong I have permanent residence, there is no renewal, only on my alien registration card.

If you leave Japan you will lose your "permanent resident" visa if you dont return within 1 or two years forgot which one it is.

http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/zairyuu/eizyuu.html

4 ( +5 / -1 )

You're not "permanent", papagiulio—there's no such thing as "permanent residence" in Japan, only "long-term residence", which has to be renewed every seven years.

Live and learn, yeah there is permanent residency here, and NO there is no requirement to "renew" anything every 7 years. You do have to renew the residency card, but that has ZERO to do with the PR status, which in Japan is called 永住者 eiju-sha

http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/zairyuu/eizyuu.html

Like pacint wrote too, there is no renewal, I never had to either, so if you are renewing something every 7 years it is not PR status.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@kohakuebisu

If you choose to be a UK citizen however, you lose all rights to Japanese citizenship, because Japan does not recognize dual citizenship.

Knowledge is power. Someone upthread sensibly put up a link to William Wetherall's website. Do read it. You won't find a better summary of the legal and practical realities of dual citizenship in Japan. Specifically, this page:

http://www.yoshabunko.com/nationality/Dual_nationality.html

Practically speaking, the only way a dual national loses Japanese citizenship is by means of a voluntary (and it is voluntary) decision to file the relevant document (籍離脱届). Needless to say, anyone hoping to retain their dual nationality should not make this declaration, or allow anyone to talk/dupe them into it. They can (and should) make the alternative declaration, which is that of choosing Japanese nationality, in a different document.

A dual national holding Japanese nationality is legally as much a Japanese as any other Japanese national, and Japan does not strip its nationals of their nationality.

  • So the UK government will let you do whatever the Japanese authorities want when choosing Japan, but will still issue a UK passport after that, on the assumption that you won't tell the Japanese authorities about it.*

Keep in mind that when a UK dual national enters and leaves the UK, they are expected to show the UK passport. Likewise, a Japanese dual national is expected to leave and enter Japan on their Japanese passport. This reduces the opportunities for "not telling the Japanese authorities", because it will be clear to many if not all immigration officers that the traveller has used another passport for part of their journey. The officer is perfectly within their rights to ask if you're a dual national, and even to request to see the other passport. It is not wise to do anything other than cooperate. You're still a Japanese national entering (or leaving) Japan, and there is no need for it to be a problem.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“there's no such thing as "permanent residence" in Japan, only "long-term residence", which has to be renewed every seven years.”

Golly. It’s almost amazing the amount and type of misinformation floating around out there. I’ve had permanent residency for close to 20 years, never renewed once, and no, I’m not a special case or exception to the rules. And make sure you understand that renewal of a residency card, because you know they like to occasionally update the photo and whatnot, is not a renewal of visa status.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It’s almost amazing the amount and type of misinformation floating around out there.

You do have to hand it to some of the commenters in this thread. I thought ignorance and misinformation were more the preserve of dual nationality discussions. I'm impressed to see that it extends to something as simple as permanent residency, especially as the MOJ's own explanation in English is admirably clear. How could anyone read this

http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/zairyuu/eizyuu.html

and still conclude that successful applicants are not permitted to remain in Japan permanently?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

especially as the MOJ's own explanation in English is admirably clear. How could anyone read this

I put the same link in my post. lol! People who live here SHOULD be aware of these details, but, I guess they rather enjoy the misinformation instead.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Wipeout,

“How could anyone read this 

http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/zairyuu/eizyuu.html

and still conclude that successful applicants are not permitted to remain in Japan permanently?”

I think a lot of people “know” the GOJ lies constantly and can’t be trusted, ha ha.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

kohakuebisu. I don’t think the children need to renounce British citizenship officially to obtain Japanese citizenship. They are Japanese citizens who were born in Japan by Japanese mother. Your children are also a British citizen by descent regardless of which citizen they choose. UK law has no problem with that. If they didn't claim British citizenship and then they don't need to renounce British citizenship. The children can claim British citizenship and obtain British passport when they need it. I don't see any advantage of holding dual citizenship of British citizen and Japanese citizen because both passport can go any part of the world and most countries will allow visa free entry for UK passport and Japanese passport.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well ... the internet has its particular way of letting you know you're wrong. Better to be embarrassed in public than stay ignorant, though ....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And, do you know why Japan is so strict about duel nationalities? It's because of their failed pension system. 

On a side comment, the pension system has nothing to do with why Japan does not allow duel nationalities.

Japan does not allow duel nationalities for a number of reasons, but two major reasons, are the 500,000 plus ethnic Koreans that live in Japan. With all the problems between Japan and Korea, there is no way the government is going to allow all those people to have Japanese citizenship along with keeping their Korean citizenship as well.

And one other major reason is the ingrown belief that only "ethnic" Japanese are really Japanese, and many foreigners who take Japanese citizenship are still viewed as being foreigners. And Japan does not want their ethnicity to be diluted. I know, I am one of those, people have the hardest time in the world wrapping their heads around the idea that I am a naturalized citizen of Japan, they look at me and see this "foreigner" and are baffled when they see my passport.

It's sad that in 2017 crap like this still happens, but Japan has a long way to go, it's gotten loads better, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

I

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Angus

Well said. Better to be put straight than to blunder on in ignorance : )

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just in passing: the word is DUAL, dual-nationality, not duel which has a totally different meaning.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The number of dual nationality holders who later chose Japanese citizenship and registered it with the government in fiscal 2016 topped 3,000 for the first time, according to the Justice Ministry.

Here is my Question:

How many of the dual nationality holders DID NOT choose Japanese citizenship?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hurry up and make dual nationality a reality.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thanks for the comments everyone, especially wipeout.

As I said, my eldest is 12 so we haven't had to look into this yet as a family. The course of events I had imagined though was that my kids, who live in Japan, would just continue to live and travel as Japanese and would only exercise the option of creating a UK passport if they ever wanted to live in the UK. When I read the UK Embassy website, it appeared to say that there was no need to even register my kids' births in the UK. Maybe its a false sense of security, but the impression I got was that it was a routine procedure that could be done any time and wasn't necessary to get a UK passport.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dont

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't ask, don't tell.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The officer is perfectly within their rights to ask if you're a dual national, and even to request to see the other passport. It is not wise to do anything other than cooperate.

They can ask, but my advice would be to deny having any other nationality: it's none of their business. Simply state that you are a Japanese national and as such have the right to enter Japan. That's all they need to know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 I don't see any advantage of holding dual citizenship of British citizen and Japanese citizen

Chop Chop - I can. If the excrement hits the fan in Japan, which could happen for a number of reasons,

a dual passport holder with family in Britain can stay with their family there for longer than the maximum of 90 days normally given to Japanese nationals.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

just in passing: the word is DUAL, dual-nationality, not duel which has a totally different meaning. yes true but in Japan many situations "duel nationality" seems to be the impression many foreigners get

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just in passing: the word is DUAL, dual-nationality, not duel which has a totally different meaning.

You are quite right! My mistake, thank you for not calling me out for a dual! (lol)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A dual national holding Japanese nationality is legally as much a Japanese as any other Japanese national, and Japan does not strip its nationals of their nationality.

Has never happened to my knowledge to someone with Japanese nationality from birth, but naturalized Japanese who have retained their other nationality can and will have the Japanese naturalization stripped if the government finds out. This is happening more and more due to side effects of money-laundering investigations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

they look at me and see this "foreigner" and are baffled when they see my passport.

People who don't know me see this blonde, blue-eyed, obviously furrin lady and assume (correctly) that I am not Japanese and (incorrectly) am illiterate about all things Japanese. (They often try to 'japansplain' things to me....or ask for English lessons. No thank you.)

People who do know me see this lady with a Japanese husband and Japanese kids, Japanese dog (one of them, anyway), speaking Japanese and a dab hand at cooking Japanese cuisine, and are gobsmacked to learn that I do not have Japanese nationality or the vote.

I do not see how giving PRs dual nationality would somehow rip apart the very fabric of Japanese society.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In light of the following comment by Chop Chop, I should qualify what I said about UK nationals being expected to show a UK passport on entry to the UK:

Your children are also a British citizen by descent regardless of which citizen they choose

This underlines the fact that many British nationals don't actually possess a UK passport. So what I should have said is that UK passport holders are expected to use their UK passport, if they have one, on entry and exit from the UK. In practice, it's probably not rigorously enforced, and on a little research earlier today, I have read comments from UK nationals who said that by choice, they do not hold a British passport (expensive, bothersome to carry an extra passport, tedious application process, various other reasons), and travel in and out of Britain more or less trouble free. If I was an dual national (adult), and despite the somewhat unjustified cost and hassle these days of getting a British passport, I'd probably want one to keep things running smoothly while travelling; but at least on the British side, it's evidently not a simple do or don't issue.

@kohakuebisu

As I said, my eldest is 12 so we haven't had to look into this yet as a family. The course of events I had imagined though was that my kids, who live in Japan, would just continue to live and travel as Japanese and would only exercise the option of creating a UK passport if they ever wanted to live in the UK.

That shouldn't be a problem.

When I read the UK Embassy website, it appeared to say that there was no need to even register my kids' births in the UK.

That is also correct, they do specifically state it.

Maybe its a false sense of security, but the impression I got was that it was a routine procedure that could be done any time and wasn't necessary to get a UK passport.

That is in line with the information on the British embassy website, and also with all advice I received directly from the British embassy in Tokyo when I asked them a few years ago. The only thing I would say is that since the spouse visa (for UK) rules were abruptly changed recently, you can't be too confident that other rules won't change (in the 1980s, quite a few Hong Kong people belatedly realized they'd been gazumped out of UK right of abode). But it doesn't seem very likely for something as fundamental as nationality by descent.

The main thing is, when it comes to dual-nationality-in-Japan issues, don't act (or advise your children) based on hearsay. You'll be treated to a lot of it, especially as your children approach "choosing age", and even parents of dual nationals are likely to pass along grossly incorrect information, as one of the more excitable and disillusioned commenters above has so volubly demonstrated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People who do know me see this lady with a Japanese husband and Japanese kids, Japanese dog (one of them, anyway), speaking Japanese and a dab hand at cooking Japanese cuisine, and are gobsmacked to learn that I do not have Japanese nationality or the vote

Cleo, now that you mention it, I too sometimes get asked by Japanese who have known me a long time if I have J-passport & some seem genuinely surprised when I answer now & mention no dual-citizenship allowed.....

I think maybe the confusion arises as Japanese do hear about kids with 2 nationalities etc so think long timers may also have one...... I would likely apply if Japan ever allowed it, for the life of me I don't know why they don't, bizarre in this day & age

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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