by Rina Terasaki
Today, I would like to write about fraudulent marriage in Japanese society. The reason why I took my interest in this topic is a little long story but simply it comes from a story I heard from my friend. My Filipina friend living in Japan told me that she is not able to invite her close relatives from the Philippines even a several days trip due to the Japanese immigration-control reason. So at first, I was interested about the immigration-control system in Japan and I was willing to write about this, but while searching, I came across to another interesting topic which is‘fraudulent marriage.’ Fraudulent marriage (false marriage) happens in various reasons but generically is transnational and many of those are at criminal situations.
According to the national police agency, the number of fraudulent marriage crushed in Japan last year’s first half (January-June) was 88 times, and that was about 50 percent more than the prior year. Fraudulent marriage is not the same with normal marriage, it often includes organized illegal acts, so that the issue is quite serious and being urgent priority. Though marriage is a precious experience for one’s whole life and meant to be an act which would realize between two who are loving each other, however many people still choose this form of false marriage only for their profit even they are doing not a very right thing. I would like to focus on the false marriage in terms of immigrants, and explain what are behind this situation, and what problems would this cause, with using some stories that I found on the Internet.
First, when do people make fraudulent marriage? With the expanse of globalization, more and more people in developing countries want to go abroad for a job. Filipina hostess in Japan is also one case, and the imminent big problem for them is the right of residence. It is not easy at all for them to stay in Japan, or even to enter the country, if they have no relatives in Japan. It means many people are hoping to go abroad but in reality chances of entering legally are very less. Then, some people choose to get married with the local man or woman, and will get a visa. EU is having a problem nowadays over this. Many people make false marriage with an EU local resident to get whatever rights and citizenship. I guess on the background of increasing of southasian woman getting married with a Japanese man, also has a little similar point with EU’s case in terms of ‘getting rights.’ When there is love between two people who marry, this would be wonderful, but if there is not, then it becomes a problem. Next, I would like to explain what I call a ‘problem’ in two reasons.
The first reason is a governmental reason. In Japan, (and may be in other countries too) the law prohibit false marriage. If a couple married and a foreign woman enter country, but then they soon get apart and not having contact, it cannot call a family essentially, and the office do not allow this kind of situation to be happened. The immigration office control strictly about new marriage between Japanese and foreign pairs. It has been concerned that after recent year’s detection of false marriage, the office made it more and more strict, and now it effects on the people who really want to marry properly. Moreover, a complex problem is that there are black market organizations that help women in the developing countries and men in Japan for fraudulent marriage. The negotiations are being conducted behind the scenes with a large amount of money.
The second reason is that fraudulent marriage are often connected with swindling. (kekkon sagi= being swindled out of one’s money under a false promise of marriage) I found a story on the internet that a Japanese man was engaged to a Chinese woman, and was going to marry soon, but he one day happened to hear that the woman was willing to do fake marriage, not loving him very much but for a chance of working in Japan legally. I found this story interesting and also ironic at the same time. Though their marriage was going to be a proper one, depending on a thought he was kind of deceived by his most dearest woman. Just to get a citizenship, is it necessary to exploit a person in a bad way? In reality, yes, for those few people. As above, most false marriage happens through two people’s agreement, but sometimes he or she does not really notice and just get involved. This is an ironical case in those marriages.
To conclude my essay, I strongly feel the importance of stop this fraudulent marriage ‘system.’ Those institution needs to be regulated and penalized by the government, to avoid more people to get involved into this bad system. Also, I am feeling something complex about Japanese immigrant system. It seems to be very strict about foreigners. As I mentioned in the very begging also, even foreign residence’s close relations cannot reach them in Japan. The government in one side needs to strengthen unlawful entry but on the other hand I believe they need to reconsider our national immigrant system.