Kyodo: Tokyo District Court rules in favor of Japan’s ban on dual nationality. My, what paranoia and hypocrisy

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Hi Blog.  In a landmark ruling yesterday (see articles below, and a 2018 Debito.org post when this case first started here) first testing the waters for allowing Japanese to have more diverse roots in a legal sense, the Tokyo District Court has just ruled that Japanese who obtain other citizenships do not have constitutional protections from being subsequently deprived of Japanese citizenship.

This means:

a) If you as a Japanese citizen naturalize in another country, then when the Japanese government decides to take away your Japanese citizenship, you have no legal recourse under the Japanese Constitution.  It can be unilaterally revoked at the government’s discretion.

(Same, no doubt, with people who naturalize into Japan but for whatever reason don’t get their foreign citizenship revoked — not all countries grant revocation as an option.  So in that case, the Japanese government reserves the right there too to revoke, although this situation in specific hasn’t been tested in court yet.)

b) If you as a native-born Japanese citizen have dual nationality due to having international parents, and if you do not declare to the Japanese government that you are a Japanese citizen only (and have renounced all other citizenships by age 22 — as Osaka Naomi, referred to below, reportedly did), then the Japanese government can revoke your Japanese citizenship and not deprive you of any Constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

Conclusion:  Essentially, nothing has changed in practice.  The lower judiciary has essentially just made its stance against dual nationality clear.  Take into account that this ruling, handed down by a notoriously conservative branch of Japan’s judiciary (yes, Tokyo District and High Courts are actually well-known around the Japanese legal community for their very conservative judgments), has merely affirmed what was already true: “two passports = untrustworthy”.  And their legal reasoning mentioned in the articles below reflects that logic, based upon paranoid pre-war arguments about individual mixed allegiances threatening the motherland, etc., with no need to update for the complexities of the modern world.  Should the plaintiffs decide to appeal this case, then the Tokyo High Court and probably eventually the Supreme Court will affirm the lower court’s ruling.  So it’s definitive.

What to do about it:  Continue to follow Debito.org’s advice:  If you have two passports, you always claim to be solely Japanese by age 22 but secretly keep renewing your foreign passport.  The Japanese government is still not fully enforcing any draconian “show us a revoked foreign passport by age 22 or we will revoke your Japanese citizenship” towards all its citizens with international roots.  Given Japan’s dropping population, that’s probably not in its interest.  But if the Japanese government ever gets around to doing that, based upon yesterday’s ruling, as far as the Japanese judiciary is concerned it will have free rein.

The only way this is going to change is if Dietmembers pass a law to specifically make dual nationality legal.  Then the onus falls upon the judiciary to declare that law unconstitutional (probably not).

How likely is a law like this?  Not very.  But at least one politician (Kouno Taro) has made his support of dual nationality clear — not because of individual human rights and the dignity of diversity, but because that way Japan can increase its athletic talent pool (not to mention the issues of Japan “re-claiming” Japanese Nobel Prize winners who have naturalized abroad).  The Kokutai as a whole must benefit or it’s not something to consider.  Oh well.  Plus ca change.  Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

See archive of articles on Japan’s dual nationality issue here.

RELATED: Asahi: Supreme Court backs stripping children of Japanese nationality if parents lapse in registering their births abroad (Debito.org, August 29, 2015)

And get a load of the person who inadvertently exposed all the hypocrisies of Japan’s dual nationality system:  Former President of Peru and convicted criminal Alberto Fujimori, a sudden newfound Japanese citizen when on the run from Interpol.

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Court rules in favor of Japan’s ban on dual nationality
January 21, 2021 (Mainichi Japan), courtesy of JK and Mixed Roots in Japan
https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210121/p2g/00m/0na/112000c

TOKYO (Kyodo) –[The Tokyo District Court (in Kyodo original)] on Thursday rejected a lawsuit challenging the country’s ban on its citizens from holding foreign nationality, in what is believed to be the first judicial decision on the matter.

In a lawsuit filed with the Tokyo District Court in 2018, eight men and women in their 30s to 80s who were born in Japan but now live in Europe claimed a legal requirement that Japanese who gain foreign nationality must give up their citizenship violates the Constitution.

The government, however, argued the plaintiffs’ claim takes no note of national interests, as permitting dual citizenship would enable people to have voting rights or diplomatic protection in other countries.

Dual citizenship “could cause conflict in the rights and obligations between countries, as well as between the individual and the state,” said Presiding Judge Hideaki Mori.

According to the suit, the eight plaintiffs — six who have acquired Swiss or Liechtenstein nationality and two others who plan to obtain Swiss or French nationality to facilitate their work and lives — hope to maintain their Japanese citizenship.

Article 11 of the nationality law states that Japanese citizens who acquire non-Japanese nationality on their own instigation automatically lose their Japanese nationality, effectively banning dual citizenship.

The plaintiffs claimed that the law was originally designed for purposes such as avoiding overlapping military service obligations imposed by multiple nations.

“The court did not seriously consider the feelings of Japanese living abroad,” Swiss resident Hitoshi Nogawa, 77, who led the plaintiffs, said following the ruling.

As many countries in the world, including the United States, now allow dual citizenship, the clause stripping people of Japanese nationality violates the Constitution, which guarantees the right to pursue happiness and the equality under the law, the plaintiffs said.

The issue of dual nationality in Japan drew global attention when tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, who had both Japanese and U.S. citizenship, selected Japanese nationality just before turning 22 in 2019. She was born to a Japanese mother and Haitian father.

The law requires those who acquired dual nationalities under 20 years old to choose one by age 22, and those who obtained them at age 20 or older to select one within two years.

The nationality law also requires Japanese citizens who obtain foreign citizenship to notify the government of their abandonment of Japanese nationality. But as it includes no penalties, many Japanese are believed to have maintained multiple passports after obtaining non-Japanese citizenship.

About 518,000 Japanese are estimated to have permanent residency status in other countries as of October 2019, but the government has been unable to confirm how many of them hold multiple citizenship.
ENDS
//////////////////////////////////

東京地裁 二重国籍認めず 憲法に違反しないと判断
NHK 2021年1月21日 17時28分
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20210121/k10012825871000.html

外国の国籍を取得し、日本国籍を失った人たちが、日本の国籍法の規定によって二重国籍が認められないのは憲法に違反すると訴えた裁判の判決で、東京地方裁判所は憲法に違反しないと判断し、二重国籍を持つことを認めませんでした。

日本では国籍法で、外国の国籍をみずからの希望で取得すると日本国籍を失うと規定し、複数の国籍を持ち続けることを認めていません。

スイスやリヒテンシュタインに住み、現地の国籍を取得して日本国籍を失った6人は、二重国籍が認められないのは憲法に違反するとして、国に対して日本国籍があることの確認を求め、裁判では二重国籍を認めない規定が憲法に違反するかが初めて争われました。

判決で東京地方裁判所の森英明裁判長は「憲法は国籍を離脱する自由は定めているものの、国籍を持ち続ける権利については何も定めていない。国籍法の規定は二重国籍の発生をできるだけ防ぎながら、国籍を変更する自由も保障していて、立法目的は合理的だ」と指摘しました。

そのうえで国籍法の規定は憲法に違反しないと判断し、訴えを退けました。

原告団長「あまりにも偏っている」
原告と弁護団は、判決後に東京 霞が関で会見を開き、原告団長の野川等さん(78)は「がっかりしています。裁判所にはもう少し真剣に質問に答えてほしかった。国は私たちが質問したことに真面目に答えておらず、あまりにも偏っていると思う」と述べました。

弁護団は控訴する方針だということです。ENDS
======================
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32 comments on “Kyodo: Tokyo District Court rules in favor of Japan’s ban on dual nationality. My, what paranoia and hypocrisy

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Well it’s hardly going to help Japan become a ‘top international business hub’ is it?
    Why would anyone give up their foreign citizenship and naturalize if they are going to be constantly discriminated against for looking NJ and then have to decide endlessly if each individual act of discrimination warrants the use of time and energy to prove Japanese citizenship (by sharing personal information, showing documents to every Tom, Dick and Haruki, and then getting into arguments about the wording of the constitution? What a hassle. Life’s too short.

    Reply
    • Precisely. When my uncle came to visit me here, he said “Well, you’ve been here long enough, you should apply for citizenship!” I said I wasn’t going to do that, and then he just repeated himself.

      Because he doesn’t get it. Having Japanese citizenship, for me, would have only one benefit (voting rights), and plenty of negatives. The main negative would be the frustration of still being ‘gaijinized’ at most/every social and official encounter. I endure them now, because I am a gaijin, but imagine the pure frustration of still having to prove your citizenship every day. F* that.

      — My attitude is, “Do you feel like you yourself are a Japanese?” Back in 1998, I did, given my legal status, my integration into my community, and my deep financial and social ties to Japan. That’s why I naturalized. That way it didn’t matter what anyone else thought. Of course, that’s what I thought then, but events conspired to make me feel less that way over time, which may be what you are anticipating. But as always, everyone’s individual experience is different, so what happened to me is not an inevitability. In my case, I just got unlucky.

      Reply
      • But this is the thing, isn’t it?
        What does it mean to ‘feel like you yourself are Japanese’? Does it mean to believe that discrimination against NJ is the way things should be? Women should be second class citizens? And all that other stuff which lets Japan down? Because if you don’t believe in all that stuff, but claim you feel you are Japanese, then there’s an argument to be made that your just a weaboo, isn’t there?
        I could never feel myself to be Japanese because I believe in universal inalienable human rights.

        Reply
        • In Debito’s defense, I think there are phases that a lot of us go through in our relationship with Japan. Years ago, there was definitely a period when I would have thought about naturalizing and not for any of the reasons you mentioned. In my case, I was using Japanese all the time and felt deeply connected with the Japanese on an emotional and personal level. That didn’t mean that I approved of all of the negatives of the Japanese, but I did feel the connection. I don’t want to speak for Debito or anyone else, but I do think there tends to be a time when people are more likely to feel this way, and in my case, it was the same. I didn’t follow through, but that was just my good fortune.

          Reply
  • GaijinLivesMatter says:

    I don’t see anything in these articles that supports assertion (b), which would essentially amount to Japan forcing statelessness on its own people. Osaka chose to renounce her American citizenship, and this action by itself meant that she was entitled to keep her Japanese citizenship.

    — There are stateless people in Japan.

    Reply
    • GaijinLivesMatter says:

      That’s not what I said, though: stateless people in Japan are, for example, children born in Japan to two foreign parents, whose home countries practice a form of jus soli that does not grant citizenship to the children of nationals born abroad, and who therefore are not legally entitled to either Japanese citizenship or the citizenship of their parents’ home countr[y/ies].

      This blog entry claims that children of Japanese citizens, who have Japanese citizenship, can have their Japanese citizenship unilaterally revoked. If anything, the opposite is the case: there are no penalties in place for binational children who do not uphold their obligation to strive to renounce the citizenship of the other country, and this is apparently done to allow leeway for those who wish to remain Japanese but can’t legally renounce the citizenship of the other country.
      It’s my understanding that, had the very public case (basically an exception to this general rule of not asking and not telling) of Osaka Naomi been such that she refused to renounce her US citizenship, then her Japanese citizenship might have been revoked for that reason, and she would have simply been American. But people who have already renounced their foreign citizenship and become exclusively Japanese aren’t having their Japanese citizenship stripped of them without their knowledge/consent. Well, they might be, but neither of these news articles say or imply such.

      — And neither did I. Reread.

      Reply
      • GaijinLivesMatter says:

        Note that when I say “do not uphold”, I mean “fail to uphold”, not “actively refuse to uphold”. Yes, I understand that, on a case-by-case basis (probably prioritizing cases where the foreign nationality is one that is known to be renounceable), the GOJ might actively seek out binational persons and inquire as to whether have renounced their foreign citizenship or intend to do so, and if they say no and say that they do not intend to, that would be a different matter. Probably a version of this happened in Osaka Naomi’s case, although I am not sure.

        Reply
      • “That’s not what I said, though: stateless people in Japan are, for example, children born in Japan to two foreign parents, whose home countries practice a form of jus soli that does not grant citizenship to the children of nationals born abroad, and who therefore are not legally entitled to either Japanese citizenship or the citizenship of their parents’ home countr[y/ies].”

        Incorrect.

        — Alright, let’s have sources for the arguments from both GLM and TJJ, please.

        Reply
        • Here the child of a Japanese father is rendered stateless.

          https://www.unhcr.org/jp/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/01/TYPOLOGY-OF-STATELESS-PERSONS-IN-JAPAN_webEnglish.pdf

          (1) Case summary A is a male born in the late 1970s in Japan. The mother who gave birth to A (referred to as B, who was of ROK nationality at that time) had been living with C, a male of Japanese nationality since before A was born. B, however, had previously registered her marriage with D, another male of Japanese nationality. Thus, A was registered under the family register with D listed on the top of it with the presumption that165 he had acquired Japanese nationality by birth as a legitimate child of D and B.166 (A’s family name is the family name of D.) A had thus been, in reality, raised by C and B as the couple’s child while carrying D’s family name since birth. On a separate note B, the mother, acquired Japanese nationality by naturalization after A’s birth. A graduated from elementary/junior high/high school and university near Tokyo as a “Japanese national”. During his university studies, A obtained various national licenses, and he even visited several foreign countries with a passport under D’s family name. A also studied abroad, including in ROK as a Japanese student. In the late 2000s, after A had turned 30, a lawsuit to confirm the non-existence of a parent-child relationship was filed against D in order to reflect the actual father-child relationship between A and C while also reflecting C and B’s wish. When A was in his early 30s, the court decision to deny his current paternal descent from D was finalized. However, against the expectations of A and others involved, A was considered to have never possessed Japanese nationality going back retroactively to the time of birth, as the prerequisite for acquiring Japanese nationality based on Article 2(i) of the preamendment Japanese Nationality Act was lost due to the severed father-child relationship with D. A was deleted from D’s family register. C recognized his paternity over A as soon as the court decision to deny D’s paternity over A was finalized. However, A’s Japanese nationality was not recovered even with another Japanese male’s recognition of paternity over him, in accordance with Supreme Court case law ruling that recognition of paternity does not have a retroactive effect in relation to the acquisition of nationality.167

          — Thanks. GLM?

          Reply
          • GaijinLivesMatter says:

            Sorry to be late. My first paragraph was a hypothetical based on an article that I had looked up at the time, but can’t seem to call up now, but it wasn’t a negative statement, so I’m not sure if I need to provide a source for it. Is anyone here actually claiming that a child born to, say, two Brazilian parents in Japan wouldn’t potentially be made stateless as a result of the conflicting nationality laws of the two countries? Brazil was the example named in the source, if I recall correctly.

            As for my second paragraph about how, if anything, Japanese authorities are lenient about dual citizens failing to renounce their foreign citizenship, it was a Japan Times article about dual citizenship from around the time Naomi Osaka first became a hot topic in 2018, but all such articles now seem to be behind a paywall, so I’m reluctant to link one that I *think* might be it.

            That said, my example is supported by the source linked by TJJ (which was the first thing that showed up on my Google search just now). It is “Category A”, while TJJ’s example is “Category E”. I do not know the criteria used for arranging these categories, but A certainly *seems* like it would be more common, since it doesn’t assume a prevalence of clerical mix-ups. Moreover, of the eight categories listed, E and G appear to be the only two that cover natural-born Japanese citizens at risk of having their nationality “revoked”, while all the others, and neither of them, especially the case described by TJJ, appear to refer to dual-citizens who have already renounced their foreign citizenship like the comment I was originally referring to.

    • Naomi Osaka HASN’T renounced her US citizenship, she has announced her ‘intention’ to do so.
      It’s not the same thing, and could you really see Japan stripping her of her Japanese citizenship if she didn’t follow through? No. Which is why they’ll never follow it up. Because she’s famous…

      Reply
    • Loverilakkuma says:

      Note the term ‘stateless people’ is not limited to those born to international couples.

      Children born out of/into the wedlock or broken family are subject to the stateless-ness, due to rigged family registration system. If abandoned by biological parent(s), they don’t have a legal leg to stand on themselves. They won’t be officially recognized as a citizen of country unless they have their name in koseki. Nor will they be entitled to receive any public services– e.g., healthcare, education, driver’s license, and a passport, unless they are lucky enough to be brought up by foster parents.

      The vast majority of those are born to Japanese(wajin) couples. They are the product of increasing family poverty rate and fractured social work/public assistance system. Using internationally renown celebrity athlete as a counterpoint to state abuse of power against Japanese nationals flies in the face of neoliberal logic that masks visible inequality with meritocracy.

      Reply
  • It is my understanding that once you relinquish your US citizenship, there is a window where you can reconsider, then once that expires, its over. Perhaps there are ways back in, like marrying a US PR or citizen, etc. but its something to think over before doing. I personally would never become a Japanese citizen, after knowing what I now know about Japan. Younger? yes I would have, but age teaches us certain things..
    Japan is a very personal experience; there is usually nobody standing next to you when your navigating all this, and you can be influenced by events, people, etc short term, but its the long game that really teaches you..
    As we can observe by current US events, the US is by far no utopia, but its the basic individual freedoms or gems that I recconect with that are important to me..
    I just cannot see myself naturalizing in a country where I am initially judged daily by how I look; having to reconfirm that I am trustworthy and a safe gaijin. I dont see how a statement on a document that I sign would suddenly change all of that.

    Reply
  • David Markle says:

    As a civil rights icon, or enen a study in civil rights, Naomi is worthless. As a study in changing nationalities for professional or personal benefit, she is well worthy of it as her life and details are quite a bit more public than any private citizens would be.

    In October, 2019 when she turned 22, she announced that she would be giving up her US passport and focus her entire energies representing Japan. This was probably a 90 percent professional decision and had very little to do with her personal feelings about either the US or Japan. Unfortunately for her, unforeseen events have overtaken her (along with a lot of other people) and she is probably questioning her decision to abandon the US as a home of choice. In 2019 she was the highest paid female athlete of all time. The figures on how much she earns are not important, unless they are in the billions, which in her case, they are not. She has made some high profile purchases (a private jet, a 7 million dollar home along with greatly improving her social circle and the personal wealth of her close associates). What has not been made public is what it will cost her to give up her US passport.

    If you look at the web page outlining the procedures for renouncing a US passport you will see it is quite onerous and time consuming. There are several interviews, all IRS reporting must be up to date, there is an exit tax for high net worth individuals of which she obviously is. Its not easy. It takes up to a year in most cases. Hers is probably more complicated as her various incomes streams would need to be verified, etc. When Debito gave up his in 98, I would imagine it was quite a bit simpler. This will cost her a pretty penny along with lawyers fees, I am sure.

    When she made the decision (which she was forced to do) in 2019, nobody knew anything about the pandemic that was about to hit the world. She made the decision then to represent Japan in the coming Tokyo Olympics and along with many other athletes, hoped to cash in on the exposure. Then the whole thing came crashing down, or is crumbling before us now. There most likely wont be any Japan Olympics. Deujavu 1940. This, according to sources, is going to be a crushing financial blow to Japan, which financed it with public funds that we will all be responsible for, thank you Mr. Abe. There wont be any Olympic gold medal plaques to hang on some wall in a Japan University somewhere pronouncing the glorious sports acumen of Nipponjinron blood where Naomi would be immortalized and get a lifelong prestigious coaching job. Along with this is the blow to the commercial enterprises who hoped to take advantage of it to market their products and promote their brands. The biggest blow will be to firms like Nike, and others of Osakas biggest sponsors. This has to have an effect on her personal cash flow if the events and the promotions that go with them are not held. What is not on hold is her US citizenship cancellation process. This will proceed whether she likes the outcome of said events or not.

    The thing with renouncing ones citizenship is that it is permanent. There is no reruns or instant replay. What seems to be the right decision at the time can become a disaster as events and happenings occur that were not foreseen at the time of their making. In Osakas case, what seemed a good professional decision at the time in 2019, today doesnt look so good. At the moment she is in quarantine preparing for the Australian Open. I hope she wins and continues to win. Given the short life of professional athletes though, even shorter than most celebrities, she better be getting good financial advice. She may need it, or end up as a pathetic, obese, clown on an NHK childrens program, or get the tar beat out of her on cable sports by some white female MM Artist because she needs the money. That would be sad.

    Reply
    • I don’t know if this was mentioned here, but America is the only country I am aware of that taxes your income even if your income as well as residence is foreign based. Even if your income is low enough not to owe anything, you are still required to file taxes. This is a strong incentive to give up American citizenship, and I know several Americans who have naturalized in Japan for that reason.

      —- Also Eritrea and The Philippines, IIRC.

      Reply
      • David Markle says:

        Some people make a big issue of having to file taxes even if you have never lived in the US or earned income there for many years, but what they fail to understand is that filing a tax return and actually having to pay taxes are very different things. Filing a 1040 tax form is not difficult, takes only a few minutes actually. The US allows about 100,000 dollars of foreign earned income before you have to start paying taxes on it, double that if you file jointly, even if your spouse is not an American citizen. Not many English teachers in Japan make nearly enough to even have to pay anything (unless I am grossly misled). In the era of foreign expats who used to make six digit figures, this was an issue but nowadays….? The American club membership these days is not what it used to be.

        Just having to file a tax return in and of itself is not a good reason to renounce ones citizenship in my opinion. Self-righteous indignation at the US tax authorities might have been OK when I was an idealistic college student, and the US was involved in wars of genocide across the globe, but not today, thank you. Others may feel differently, so be it. When it does come into play are for the Ghosns, Buffetts, and Gates of the world, who are the high fliers with big incomes they wish to keep from the US tax man. They have lawyers and accountants working for them who can open offshore accounts in tax haven jurisdictions, so they hide their money where they vacation. Nationality to them is just something they chuckle over in their martinis at the VIP lounges in airports around the world. A commodity they can easily buy and add to their wallet whenever and wherever it suits them.

        There is though what I would call a “typical” case that may apply to some regular readers of this blog and it goes something like this: Lets say Charlie has US citizenship, and has lived all his adult life in Japan. He is not a multi-millionaire, but he and his Japanese spouse live a comfortable life in the suburbs someplace in Japan. They are looking forward to retirement and hope to travel someday, so they have a little put away for this part of their lives. One day they get a call from someone that Charlies, spouses, close relative has passed away and they will inherit a tidy sum as part of the estate of this relative. Fine, they think, a little extra money wont hurt, until they realize this extra money or property or whatever it is, will have to be declared on Charlies US tax return for the next year. This is painful. Why does Charlie have to pay tax on something the US has no interest or benefit in? Not only will the Japan taxman take his hefty cut, the US will too. Its not fair. This is a case where it might pay Charlie to look into giving up that US passport before it becomes an issue.

        What irks banks, governments and just about everybody around the world is the power the US has in enforcing their tax laws on other countries. They can do this because they control the SWIFT system of money transfer for the whole globe. Any time a party in A country wants to send money to a party in B country they have to purchase US dollars for the transfer. This give the US tremendous leverage over all the parties. The US tax people can then force the authorities in whatever country to turn over their US citizens who have anything in that country that may be taxable. They can also threaten to put a lien on any property in the US that country s bank or company have, forcing them to comply with requests for information. This is why US citizens are not desirable customers for overseas banks. These banks dont want to get hit by big fines for having US citizens as account holders. No other country on the planet has this power except maybe for those countries who blackmail their citizens into paying up or having their relatives back home disappear. Even the Philippines can only goes so far as to force bribes from its overseas workforce for various fees and services, etc. This might change someday if China has its way, but that is as the world is today.

        Reply
        • Brooks Slaybaugh says:

          And the other is it to give up a US passport costs 2300 dollars. For some people it is worth it, but not for most.

          And that’s before the “Exit Tax”.

          Reply
          • David Markle says:

            Which is 23.8% If you have in excess of 2 million dollars in assets total (including your home and deferred pensions, everything) and are up to date on your filings. They (some politicians) want to raise this to 30%.

            Even if you are a long-term green card holder, they still have their hooks in you. Many cannot afford the 2300 dollars to get out from under even having a green card.

  • (translated from Japanese)
    I’ve been away for a while, but when I was working for Japan at one of its overseas diplomatic missions we used to require applicants for a new or replacement Japanese passport to give us proof from the local department of immigration that they had a visa to legally be in the foreign country concerned. If they couldn’t provide such proof we assumed they were a citizen of the foreign country concerned and didn’t give them a Japanese passport if they weren’t entitled to one. I suspect that many Japanese dual nationals avoid applying for their new Japanese passport overseas and instead apply for it in Japan at the prefectural office where few, if any, questions are asked. By the way, it wasn’t always the case that proof of a foreign visa was required when Japanese nationals applied for a new passport in the country where I was working, so for many years I suspect than many Japanese nationals happily received a new passport when they weren’t entitled to one, but someone realized what was going on and a decision was made to require proof of a foreign visa in order to get a new Japanese passport. And another thing: for many years the local immigration department, based on an agreement between Japan and the country where I was working, collected the Japanese passport from Japanese nationals who acquired nationality of the country where I was working and sent it to us to demonstrate that the holder is no longer Japanese. But they stopped doing that after a while. We asked why and were told that while the foreign country concerned and Japan had an agreement to hand over the passport of a national who had acquired the other’s citizenship Japan had never done this even though they were required to do so, so the country where I was working decided to discontinue the practice.
    Just for your information

    Reply
    • This is quite an interesting point when discussing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to “clandestine” dual nationality. The diplomatic missions of my home country to Japan also require to present a valid Japanese Residence Card when applying for a new passport as proof that you a) live in Japan legally and long-term, and b) are eligible to the passport renewal fee for residents, which is not that much higher than the domestic fee. The fee is much much higher for e. g. tourists who seek to renew a lost or stolen passport. My home country allows dual nationality under a list of defined circumstances, and I tick one of the boxes. So, I’m curious of how the embassy would react if after naturalizing to Japan I would present a Japanese passport as proof that I’m legally long-term in the country when renewing the other passport.

      Reply
  • This disappoints me… I really love living here. I can’t 100% tell you why, I’m still trying to figure out what exactly about Japan pumps me up after nearly 9 years. I’ve had lots of ups and downs, but still in love and could see myself taking citizenship eventually. But giving up my other passport brings me pause, and hearing how much stricter it’s becoming worries me…

    Reply
  • @David Markle,

    you make some excellent points, and I have witnessed this “phenomenon” over and over: foreigners come to Japan thinking everything is the same or better then where they came from, only later to realize it was deception. Some are perhaps influenced by other gaijin who promote naturalization, some by academia, others bad experiences abroad. In the end, however, they all seem to end up with the same conclusion or career opportunities, like you describe Naomi sans potential shigoto prospects.

    Too complex to explain here but veterans of the game know what I mean.

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  • We all know that Japanese do not tend to favor the nail that sticks up, and as a celebrity who is now Japanese, it wont take long for those Japanese who demand conformity to take notice of someone who claims to be Japanese, but speaks little and is hardly engaged in the struggle to live in Japan.
    Im still waiting for this to occur; perhaps it already has, but I havent noticed it. She can get a free pass living in the US as a Japanese, as its a multi ethnic and diverse place, but in Japan, your expected to eventually submit, or at least appear that you know about, the crushing conformity and navigate the interviews etc with tatemae and all the other mannerisms that we gaijin must learn and do. I have not seen her do this, in any interview, rather it seems to be a resist or individualistic performance when she talks to Japanese

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    • David Markle says:

      Naomi will be tolerated like a petulant queen as long as she keeps winning, (especially against those arrogant white people). If she has an injury or a slump, expect her value to drop like a rock to the bottom. It is very difficult to remain on top of any professional sport for long, which is the definition of her shelf life. Debito has expounded on this especially with regard to Japan which is notorious for discarding its foreign talent to the trash bin at any slight whim, in fact they relish humiliating foreigners, it makes them feel good.

      In the tennis world (unless you are a fanatic) there are only three or four events that mean anything. Wimbledon, The US Open, The French Open, and runner up Australian Open or something like that. Even these are only short lived in the limelight of sportsdom. The only event that really means anything lasting is the Olympics. That is when Japan gets a chance to prove its superiority over EVERY other nation in the world for all eternity, wink wink.

      Naomi can poo poo her lessers all she wants for now, but they will have the last laugh, you can count on it.

      Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Nothing is more chilling than the state abuse of power to stripe native Japanese (yes, its’ wajin, the most entitled ones in the J-land) of legal agent. I know of no other developed country that openly penalizes its citizens for making their life choice outside their home soil as cultural transgression, yet it allows some citizens to obtain another citizenship when the government sponsors or secretly endorses (and they don’t call it “stab in the back!’ or transgression for sure). This denaturalization practice surely bodes ill for non-Japanese–long-term residents, naturalized citizen, Japan-born foreign nationals, and bi-racial people.

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    • Well, Japan is not really a country that is governed by the rule of law. For those who haven’t been paying attention let me explain, the laws in Japan are seemingly strict but their application is selective or lax. If you are part of the elite, then you don’t have to worry (too much) about the details of the law – no one will ever call you on it.

      That’s why Alberto Fujimori could be a citizen of Peru and Japan, while being sought for extradition, and he was harbored by Japan, as a citizen because, as Japan said, we don’t extradite Japanese citizens.

      Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    In case of Naomi Osaka, I think the government probably makes an exception by bending their rule for ‘specially talented individuals,’ and allows her to keep her US passport when she embarks on any country except for Japan. Like many other top rank professional tennis athletes, such as Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, she’s granted exclusive privileges many rank-and-file players don’t, let alone many ordinary people in Japan and overseas. Using her case as an example of counterargument toward GOJ’s nationality law pales in comparison because renown and privilege she’s earning makes her outclass any other group of people who are falling into this legal crack.

    Moreover, almost all of her entire life is invested in the US, not in Japan. This is crucial. She’s essentially ignorant about the history of Japanese homogeneity myth, and structure of racism that falls on NJs and some Japanese yet usually slips out of public mind due to their agnostic perception. She’s not old enough, nor is she ready to learn that. I don’t really expect her to understand the whole context of racism in Japanese society while she’s playing tennis, since it takes many years for us to comprehend. I guess all I can say about her understanding of Japanese society is, “Ignorance is a bliss.” She may(or may not) learn the gist of it after she finishes her professional career.

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  • Naomi, with her money,could open a tennis school or direct coaches, but this is risky in Japan; there has to be ninki aru to keep it going. I think above mentioned fella on NHK had a restaurant here, so perhaps the NHK gig was just another hustle.

    Reply
  • “Some people make a big issue of having to file taxes even if you have never lived in the US or earned income there for many years, but what they fail to understand is that filing a tax return and actually having to pay taxes are very different things. Filing a 1040 tax form is not difficult, takes only a few minutes actually”

    Not difficult at all, its actually shorter this year, filed along with 2555. Never bought the excuse about high taxes; there is usually more too it, involving rose tinted glasses and ignorance. Allot of hype about Bush Trump or whoever, America…but then they move to a more oppressive place like Singapore or Japan, where drug possession/distribution (one can be suddenly become the other, this is Asia after all) can get you some serious hard time/deportation for life, or even the rope.

    Reply

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