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

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The Tokyo District Court rejected the lawsuit in 2021, saying that permitting multiple citizenship "could cause conflict in the rights and obligations between countries, as well as between the individual and the state."

Loyalties really matters in Japan, it doesn't matter whether for own country also company. People can expect that court decision.

-23 ( +13 / -36 )

They can cite whatever legal mumbo jumbo they like but this all about the pension scam. I was told I had to choose nationalities for my kids before they were 12 because they couldn’t be part of the pension with dual nationality.

-9 ( +19 / -28 )

Born Japanese and grow up in Japan and then get treated as a foreigner by the state.

Live in Japan for decades as a foreigner and get treated as a foreigner by the people and the state

Amazing Japan!

-8 ( +39 / -47 )

To Japanese living abroad - just get your citizenship and don't tell anyone about. I know several in the UK who've done this. It makes their lives abroad much simpler.

20 ( +45 / -25 )

There has got to be some sort of halfway point between Japan not allowing dual citizenship and countries like Canada that hand out citizenship like candy and end up with thousands and thousands and thousands of people who only stayed in that country long enough to get a passport and have gone back to live permanently in the country where they were born.

15 ( +21 / -6 )

Luckily China doesn’t permit dual citizenship either. Few people would have their allegiance torn between two countries if a war should break out.

-13 ( +9 / -22 )

LindsayToday  07:06 am JST

They can cite whatever legal mumbo jumbo they like but this all about the pension scam. I was told I had to choose nationalities for my kids before they were 12 because they couldn’t be part of the pension with dual nationality.

You were told by whom? And you didn’t do any fact checking before action?

No, you don’t need to do that at 12. Also I want to know why you would tell anyone if your kid has 2 or 3 different nationalities. There is no place for this information in any form so it would be interesting to know how.

27 ( +31 / -4 )

Note that if the citizenship is held at birth one does not need to relinquish Japanese citizenship.

It is more than fair one should choose only one by will. Otherwise you end with people taking advantage of all countries !

I have an example of a friend who got the citizenship of my country so he could avoid his military service in his.

My kids have dual citizenship. My mother too...so I can see all the benefits and inequality between people with time for no reason.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

And as always the old patriarchal boys with an early Showa mindset ruled.

Nothing will change as usual.

-13 ( +19 / -32 )

This is actually no surprise. Because it involves individuals who were born Japanese citizens, but then after birth, as adults, chose to adopt a non-Japanese citizenship.

The article effectively banning dual citizenship says, "If a Japanese citizen acquires the nationality of a foreign country at their own choice, that Japanese citizen loses Japanese citizenship."

This is somewhat like the U.S., although different. In the U.S., if a non-U.S. citizen applies for and is granted U.S. citizenship, they are a naturalized citizen. And in this case, they are required to renounce their previous citizenship. If they do not, they can be stripped of their U.S. citizenship later.

In this case, though, the country stripping the individual of citizenship would not be their "new" country, but the country of citizenship at birth.

Here is where it gets complicated. The Japanese law runs afoul of international law. Suppose a Japanese citizen applies to become a U.S. citizen as a naturalized citizen. Then, subsequent to becoming a naturalized citizen and losing their Japanese citizenship, it is determined that their U.S. citizenship application was fraudulent. U.S. law permits their citizenship to be revoked. However, at this point, if the U.S. has revoked their naturalized citizenship and Japan as their original home country has revoked their citizenship because they became a U.S. citizen, they then become a stateless person. And international law states that this is not permissible. So, how to solve that?

Aside from that technicality, this ruling still does not clarify the question of children born with dual nationality, where they acquired their nationality by virtue of birth and not via any proactive actions on their own part. This ruling does not speak to that situation at all.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Nationalism and freedoms don't mix. As history records, the 20th century nation state has much blood on its hands and nourished by a toxic socially-constructed nationalism it has shown itself to be the modern scourge of mankind killing more people than Covid. Imagine there's no countries, nothing to kill or die for... etc.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

In the U.S., if a non-U.S. citizen applies for and is granted U.S. citizenship, they are a naturalized citizen. And in this case, they are required to renounce their previous citizenship. 

Does the United States allow dual citizenship?

Yes, the U.S. allows dual citizenship by default. The government does not require naturalized U.S. citizens to give up their citizenship in their country of origin. Although the Oath of Allegiance to the United States speaks of renouncing “allegiance and fidelity” to other nations, U.S. immigration law does not explicitly address the topic of dual citizenship. The best summarization of the U.S. government’s position on dual citizenship lies in a U.S. Supreme Court opinion, which explains that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both.”

https://www.boundless.com/immigration-resources/dual-citizenship/

16 ( +16 / -0 )

They can cite whatever legal mumbo jumbo they like but this all about the pension scam. I was told I had to choose nationalities for my kids before they were 12 because they couldn’t be part of the pension with dual nationality.

Whomever told you this is blowing smoke up your, you know where!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

And all the "foreigners" who take Japanese citizenship are never seen as being Japanese. Go figure!

-5 ( +21 / -26 )

Government still use tricky word "choose" nationality for kids with dual ones. Lawers and constitution are perfectly clear, you do NOT have to choose, simply inform you have a preference. It is completely legal to have dual nationality!

Now as this country is full of extreme right nationalists, nothing will change until decades or centuries....

-15 ( +6 / -21 )

These plaintiffs don't really have an argument. Japanese law is clear on the matter:

"If a Japanese citizen acquires the nationality of a foreign country at their own choice, that Japanese citizen loses Japanese citizenship."

Like, hello?

"...the right to pursue happiness and equality under the law."

Man, that's a stretch!. Some people need the "right" to have multiple passports, while others only get one? Where's the "equality" in that?

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

If a Japanese citizen acquires the nationality of a foreign country at their own choice, that Japanese citizen loses Japanese citizenship."

The wording here creates a huge grey area for those who already HAVE a second or third "nationality" acquired not by "choice" but by birth and or registration by a parent or guardian.

This "ruling" affects Japanese citizens who make the choice after attaining their majority, to take another country's citizenship, but it says NOTHING about those that already have it.

Having a "preference" and "choosing" are different and here semantics matter!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Note that if the citizenship is held at birth one does not need to relinquish Japanese citizenship.

Huge misconception here it seems! Japanese do NOT have birthright citizenship. A Japanese parent MUST register the birth with a legal authority, within Japan, typically the municipal office, outside of Japan, the consulate or embassy.

This is a problem as there are many literally "stateless" children INSIDE Japan, as they have never been registered by their parent(s) for numerous reasons!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Unsurprising ruling. It is what the law states however regressive it may actually be.

A key to freedom is multiple citizenships.

That's why I'm fortunate to have three!

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

A wise decision.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

The policies of dual nationality and same-sex marriage remain ones that need to be recognized. The numbers are low compared with the size of the population.

No changes in the near future.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Funny because the Japanese government now encourage 4th generation Japanese to come live in Japan with PR visa (whom likely don't speak Japanese at all) and they do not want those born in Japan to live anywhere else or else they threaten to take away citizenship. Oh the irony, and they wonder why the population is declining.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2023/06/07/national/japan-permanent-residency-fourth-generation/

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Born Japanese and grow up in Japan and then get treated as a foreigner by the state.

Because you pledge your loyalty to another country.

Live in Japan for decades as a foreigner and get treated as a foreigner by the people and the state

Because you still are foreigner. Time wont change who you are.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

The eight plaintiffs, who live abroad in countries including Switzerland and France, had argued that foreign nationality was necessary to facilitate their work and lives abroad. But they also had hoped to maintain their Japanese citizenship.

It other words having your cake and eating it too.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

I have up my UK passport, I can still visit and carry out business.

I have visa status that allows.

I feel that I have been denied my birth right.

Why can I not pledge my allegiance to both Japan and UK?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

""The Tokyo District Court rejected the lawsuit in 2021, saying that permitting multiple citizenship "could cause conflict in the rights and obligations between countries, as well as between the individual and the state.""

So Wrong, there is NO CONFLICT what so ever, in fact having multiple citizenships benefits everyone including the states where taxes are paid and businesses are operated much easier when owners can manage them in different nations.

The problem here is that Japan hasn't adjusted yet to the new world.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

People have to understand there are two completely different scenarios. It’s interesting how much false information has been claimed in previous comments.

If you were born a Japanese citizen, and later in your life take another nationality, you are automatically stripped of your Japanese citizenship whether or not you tell any authorities. Sure, you can hide this situation, but the moment they find out, you will have your Japanese citizenship automatically removed. This has been tried in court several times including by the people in this article.

If however, you (or your children) were born with Japanese citizenship and another citizenship, you can effectively keep both. Yes you are requested to make a decision as to which one you will keep by the time you are an adult, but in that case, you just tell the Japanese government you will keep your Japanese citizenship.

They will ask you to “endeavor” to renounce your other nationality. You say something to the effect of “sure I will”, and then do nothing. There is no requirement to show any proof. In the future when applying for Japanese passports etc., there is a question asking if you have other nationalities. It is important to tell the truth and say yes. Again the most that can happen is an official asking you to “endeavor” to renounce your other nationality. Give the same response and rinse and repeat forever

9 ( +9 / -0 )

It's called PROTECTIONISIM.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And all the "foreigners" who take Japanese citizenship are never seen as being Japanese. Go figure!

Well, duh, just because you get a Japanese passport, you don't suddenly turn Japanese over night! I know a white dude who took on Japanese citizenship and he goes around telling Japanese people that he is 日本人! Of course, the Japanese people are all laughing at him behind his back.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

@u_s__reamer

Nationalism and freedoms don't mix.*

Well said.

If however, you (or your children) were born with Japanese citizenship and another citizenship, you can effectively keep both. Yes you are requested to make a decision as to which one you will keep by the time you are an adult, but in that case, you just tell the Japanese government you will keep your Japanese citizenship.

This is quite the situation for most of people that grew up in Japan with parents of different nationalities.

I'm sure that when they go through customs entering Japan they can see they have two passports. So where are they, legally speaking?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Because you still are foreigner. Time wont change who you are.

Even naturalized Japanese citizens are still seen as being a "foreigner" because Japanese people, in general, can not wrap their minds around the difference between nationality and citizenship.

You ain't "Japanese" unless you LOOK Japanese!

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Well, duh, just because you get a Japanese passport, you don't suddenly turn Japanese over night! I know a white dude who took on Japanese citizenship and he goes around telling Japanese people that he is 日本人!

Well, that would be because he is.

There once was a time when people of a different race or country of birth were not considered truly British. Thankfully those days are behind us.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Dum. If you don’t bring it up, most of the people in charge of this stuff don’t keep up with it and won’t question it.

Also is a net negative as demographics change and reduce over time. Instead of having their cake and eating it, Japan seems to just want to watch someone else eat it. If people are making money abroad and need legal status to do it, why not get your extra taxes from them instead of freezing them out… you’d think they’d love that mess like the American government does lol

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

A person can become a Japanese citizen from birth from at least one Japanese parent or from naturalization but only the Japanese can be ethnic Japanese. 

Dual nationality won't change that. Maybe those born to international parents who look Japanese are better off than the ones who look like Westerners.

Dual nationality should be allowed. The numbers are small.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

zones2surfToday  07:57 am JST

In the U.S., if a non-U.S. citizen applies for and is granted U.S. citizenship, they are a naturalized citizen. And in this case, they are required to renounce their previous citizenship. If they do not, they can be stripped of their U.S. citizenship later.

Absolutely incorrect statement. The United States recognizes dual nationality and does not require the renunciation of the former nationality in order to be become a naturalized US citizen. The US does however require holders of dual or multiple passports to use their US passports when entering the United States.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The eight plaintiffs, who live abroad in countries including Switzerland and France, had argued that foreign nationality was necessary to facilitate their work and lives abroad. But they also had hoped to maintain their Japanese citizenship.

It is a non-argument. Obviously they live their already and have valid visas. The idea that one should add nationalities at will to facilitate work is absurd.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japanese who get tainted by foreignness are no longer proper divinely-blessed, pure-spirited Japanese. We know where that mindset leads, yet history has taught the Japanese nothing.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

I have been a dual citizen for about 2 decades.

Nobody has asked me about it at any time.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There is no need to inform Japan if you take citizenship. The Kipling children have UK citizenship and Japanese. As do thousands of other dual Japanese nationals. There is no ask so why bother to tell?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

qazwsx

the future when applying for Japanese passports etc., there is a question asking if you have other nationalities. It is important to tell the truth and say yes. Again the most that can happen is an official asking you to “endeavor” to renounce your other nationality. Give the same response and rinse and repeat forever

Why do you have to tell the truth? How can they know you have another nationality if you never show them your foreign passport when you travel?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Yes, I wondered same thing - in the subsequent forms why telling you have another nationality? Isn't that a red lamp for the authorities.

I think I read something about one of the plaintiffs that it was when he was applying for Japanese passport after years, he was denied after confessing he has another nationality and was stripped of Japanese on the spot.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rakuraku

Why do you have to tell the truth?

The bigger issue is why should you have to lie?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Dual Nationality is just one of the several/many backwards laws in Japan. A country that cries about a dwindling population that eagerly pulls foreigners into both professional and amateur sports to represent their country, and gloriously raves about Japanese scientists and other Nobel Prize winners who have already naturalized to another citizenship should stop being so hypocritical about the issue of dual nationality. The arguments against it as described in the article are nonsense, the UK adopted dual nationality in 1948 and the country hasn't fallen apart. Japan, being as insular as they are, may have some fears about dual nationality, but they can be addressed by agreements with specific reciprocating countries.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

garypenToday  11:56 am JST

Rakuraku

Why do you have to tell the truth?

The bigger issue is why should you have to lie?

First I have to say I do not have any competence in this field and a specialized lawyer should be consulted before making a decision but I can not see any advantage of telling the truth in this case. On the contrary as bogva says I think could be a red lamp for the authorities.

i do not think that the problem for you is to lie in itself because anyway you do it (“You say something to the effect of “sure I will”, and then do nothing”).

I do not say at all that you are wrong, I juste try to understand why you say what you say.

thanks

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The issue in this case is simply this: China, South Korea, and North Korea.

And if Japan allows dual citizenship for any one country on a reciprocal basis, people from that particular country, or those who support that country, will now start saying, "It is discriminatory to not allow only China (or South Korea or North Korea) to have dual citizenship.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My text above for both garipen and qazwsx

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My daughter, though being born in Japan with a Japanese mother, lives in Europe now (three of us together). She speaks Japanese, and she loves her identity as both Japanese and English. She is proud to tell classmates of her Japanese identity and I am proud of that, too, having lived in Japan nearly two decades. However, when she becomes an adult, her parents (we) will one day tell her: No, you are not Japanese. No, you cannot return to Japan without a visa. No, Japan sees you as a foreigner.

She will be heartbroken or hate her birth place for that.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

To Japanese living abroad - just get your citizenship and don't tell anyone about. I know several in the UK who've done this. It makes their lives abroad much simpler.

100% this.

The people who created this lawsuit also knew about this, but wanted to end this "don't ask, don't tell" situation, in which the "most honest" people end up paying the price for being honest, and they end up loosing their Japanese Nationality, but once again Japan has shown how meaningless laws that are for posturing nationalism while also quietly allowing people to have dual citizenship anyway as long as they keep their mouth shut is the way of the law in Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan shooting themselves in the foot again. They already have an aging and dwindling population. Not allowing dual citizenship when so many marriages are international nowadays is just silly and counterproductive for a country so desperately trying to up its birth rates. Ah well, ya snooze, ya lose.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Jind & WeiWei

Curious though about "don't ask don't tell" when renewing or applying for a Japanese passport the application specifically asks - "do you hold another nationality?" - with a sub category stating how it was obtained, "at birth" "obtained later" etc....

So you ARE being asked by the state whether or not you hold another nationality during the application... 

So what are those people who hold dual nationality doing here? I would assume you are answering truthfully in the application and there is no issue (especially if you obtained your foreign citizenship at birth due to being "half") or are you answering untruthfully "no" on this form.

I would assume that answering "no" in spite of holding another passport/nationality is risky in that you would be lying during the application which could result in serious consequences...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

 I was told I had to choose nationalities for my kids before they were 12 because they couldn’t be part of the pension with dual nationality.

Who told you that? That's not true, and I have 3 girls with dual nationality. My oldest is 13. I believe the law says until your 20th birthday. Even with that, they won't force you, but merely that they have to (not must) choose.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The Tokyo District Court rejected the lawsuit in 2021, saying that permitting multiple citizenship "could cause conflict in the rights and obligations between countries, as well as between the individual and the state."

Yes....because all the other countries that DGAF about dual nationality are all tied up in conflicts.....Japan....what a lot of old tosh.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

One step forward, two steps back. That's the mantra of the Japanese government.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I know many kids in the international school system here who were born here and keep the JP and their family passports from their origin. Japanese officials look the other way when renewing a passport from Japan even if you check the bright box asking if you have other nationalities. They give you a wink. First-hand knowledge.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Japanese population is shrinking and we don't have enough young people. "Oh, I've a good idea! Let's strip Japanese nationality from all Japanese who have dual nationality and especially all those young, talented, bilingual, multicultural kids with only one Japanese parent!"

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Surprise. Not! You'd be better off placing a bet on decisions like this than trying to win at poker or roulette in a casino. Luckily, I am not affected by this and I would never ever think of giving up my American citizenship no matter how long I stay here. All those places with signs that say "Japanese Only" are not suddenly going to welcome you with open arms because you are still not ethnically Japanese. I guess there might be some benefits involved that I haven't thought about but the way people treat and react to you won't change, so, to me, it's more like having an honorary degree from a college than anything else.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

My kids have both, and we don't make a big fuss, when we go to the States, US customs ask for their American passports, and when we return to Japan, Japan asks to see their Japanese passports, easy as pie, never had a problem, don't make a big fuss, you won't get flagged. They have dual nationality, it is outrageous that they have to choose one identity over another, same goes for race. They are just people whose parents happened to be from 2 different countries, not their fault, it's a blessing and this government seems to be punishing the kids for it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The oath of citizenship every new US citizen takes includes "I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen."

https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/the-naturalization-interview-and-test/naturalization-oath-of-allegiance-to-the-united-states-of-america

Anyone who says they kept there previous citizenship lied to someone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dual citizenship would actually be a good answer to MANY of Japan's heaps of problems. And so, therefore, by the usual old-school logic here, it is a non-starter. Why continue to nation when you can just let it die, right? No one in their right mind would choose Japanese citizenship these days over their original if they had a choice, given how down the tubes Japan is going. It is literally worse than when people in the 1910s and 20s were leaving Japan to make more wages on coffee farms in Brazil.

Dual citizenship would solve so many problems. You know what it would exacerbate? the problem of the dying old men in government making all the wrong choices.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I have 2 passports...Canada & the UK...I have a PR in Japan...my kiddo has a Japanese passport and a Canadian passport...if he has to give up his Canadian passport...so be it...I have never found anything in Japan to be problematic...I have never been ill-treated - even when quite evidently intoxicated - the police were very nice, cordial, and professional...Japan is a sovereign country - entitled to make up whatever rules they wish...we (gaijin) are guests in Japan...behave like a guest...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

we (gaijin) are guests in Japan...behave like a guest...

When you have been here for 20 years you create ties to people and places, you grow a family and you become a part of the society you are living in, in spite of whatever the Japanese government wants to say about it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Rhaegar - yes, lying on the form can bring serious consequences - stripping of Japanese citizenship. But guess if you are honest what the consequences are? Same!

That's what some of the plaintiffs had done and that's why they are plaintiffs now!

And we are not guests in Japan - we call it our home, it's our kids first nationality and tongue.

My son's 20 and for a first time he is alone for longer in Europe. After the first month he confessed he thought he is more international but he realized he is Japanese. In the same time he is proud of his second nationality and is happy to explore the merits of having European passport. Gives him totally different perspective!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The eight plaintiffs, who live abroad in countries including Switzerland and France, had argued that foreign nationality was necessary to facilitate their work and lives abroad. But they also had hoped to maintain their Japanese citizenship.

Can't have your cake and eat it too, I guess. Other countries cheapening their citizenship to a mere qualification doesn't mean Japan has to do the same.

@zones2surfOct. 3 07:57 am JST

However, at this point, if the U.S. has revoked their naturalized citizenship and Japan as their original home country has revoked their citizenship because they became a U.S. citizen, they then become a stateless person. And international law states that this is not permissible. So, how to solve that?

Why put the burden on Japan in this case? Why not say the US cannot reverse its decision once it has granted it? At least the move to losing the Japanese citizenship is directly due to the individual's choices and will, while the decision to revoke due to ostensible fraud is a decision of the United States.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like that it's called the "petty bench" because this ruling is also petty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does the statement below mean if a foreigner marries a Japanese national or vice versa and they have a child and they apply for the child to get passports for each country which gives them dual citizenship. The statement below means the kid can keep both because it was not by their choice it was their parents choice.

*The article effectively banning dual citizenship says, "If a Japanese citizen acquires the nationality of a foreign country at their own choice, that Japanese citizen loses Japanese citizenship."*

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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