Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on February 26th, 2009
Hi Blog. Again, something interesting that cropped up while researching my thesis: The stats on people who have naturalized (or applied and been rejected for Japanese citizenship for the past ten years. Courtesy of the MOJ.
COMMENTS: Once upon a time (as in 2000), the MOJ would not give me these numbers, citing “privacy”, and it wasn’t until relatively recently before these stats, the ultimate in immigration, were so freely public.
Over the past ten years (1998-2007), 153,103 people became Japanese citizens. That’s a sizeable amount, for if you assume reasonable influx for the previous five decades (1948-1997), we’re looking at at least half a million people here as cloaked NJ-blood citizens. That’s a lot of people no matter how you slice it. (Of course, these older stats are still not available online for confirmation.)
As you can see, numbers have held steady, at an average of about 15,000 plus applicants per year. And about the same number were accepted. In fact the rejection rate is so low (153,103/154,844 people = 98.9% acceptance rate), you are only a little more likely to be convicted of a crime during criminal trial in Japan (99.9%) than be rejected for citizenship once you file all the paperwork. That should encourage those who are considering it.
Of course, one would hope that a high acceptance rate would be the case. There is a weeding-out procedure at the very beginning, as when you go to the MOJ Kokuseki-ka, they’ll sit you down for a one-on-one interview for an hour or so and ascertain whether or not you qualify. And turn you away if you don’t. Sensible, since there is a lot of paperwork (naturally), and you don’t want to be rejected after getting everything together (it took me a year; documents aren’t always comparable or easy to get from overseas, especially if your family is not all that cooperative).
Note how the numbers of people either applying or succeeding over the years are not really rising (in fact, they’ve often roller-coastered significantly every year). Considering the rapid rise of the NJ resident population over the same period, this is a little surprising.
Also note the high numbers of Korean and Chinese applicants (around 90% or more). I was one of the few, the proud, the 725 non-K or C who got in in 2000. Less than five percent. However, the numbers of non-K or C accepted over the past ten years have tripled. I wonder if I was part of blazing some sort of trail. Arudou Debito in Sapporo