Nationality and Citizenship in Japan

by Shoki Fujimoto

As we studied in EKK class, Japan forces its people who has right to possess foreign nationality to choose one nationality. In short, we can have only one nationality in Japan. This is because Japan does not allow dual citizenship. Japan has kept the system for a long time. However, I found an article that created a stir in the field of citizenship in Japan. The article says that one member of the House of Councilors who was born in Finland petitioned abolition of the system of choosing nationality. According to the article, the hard choice made the “victims” anguish and because of it, superior human resources are leaking out of Japan. The politician named Martti Turunen thinks that we are facing a time that we should consider the present states of abolition of dual citizenship.

The netizens in Japan reacted against this petition. The main reactions of them are that we are not confronting the time of reconsidering dual citizenship and Japan should keep its systems. Moreover, the fact that Martti Turunen is supporting the movement of promoting voting rights for foreign residents. Conservative netizens have argued that the policy might destroy Japanese local small community.

I think this series of debate is largely biased by their political thought, but I think this can be a chance of reviewing Japanese way of regarding citizenship and nationality. I will check the merits and demerits of the policy. First, with it, people who have dual citizenship can go to both parent’s home countries easily. Next, they do not have to apply for permanent-residence visa. Negative opinions are that the policy can cause identity crisis, and it makes procedures of disembark difficult and complex.

Japan has been said that “homogeneous country”, and Japanese people have not have to think about it because of (thanks to) it. This has some relationship between insubstantiality about mixed ancestry people, hafu. I learned that most Japanese people have only positive image about hafu by the video we watched in a class. However, the realities of hafu were different from our fantasy over them.

In conclusion, Japanese people have had a fantasy of monoracial country, and it has made reviewing the value of mixed ancestry people or hafu. Martti Turunen’s policy created a chance to reconsider such situation. It is time to reconsider such situation.


GCNET [](retrieved May 9,2013)

Serchina [] (retrieved May 9, 2013)

Ministry of Justice [] (retrieved May 9, 2013)

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