Will Japan accept dual citizenship someday?

by Rina Yoshikawa

Since the word “globalization” has become popular all over the world, many people began to meet new people that have different language or culture each other. Migrating to new countries for better jobs and international marriage are not unusual things anymore and it is easier to move across borders now.

However there are still many problems to live over borders since we do not share all the same laws or rules in the world. Even some policies have completely opposite views between countries. One is how nationality is granted when child is born that depends on whether the country takes “jus soli” or “jus sanguinis”.

I have a friend who is half-Japanese and half-French, born and grown up in France. She owns both citizenships since French law grants nationality based on the child’s place of birth and Japanese law grants nationality according to the child’s blood relations. She is now turning 22 and has to give up one of the citizenship. She is aware that she is comfortable with being as French but is not completely true. Since she was young she has tried to know what Japan is like and studied Japanese to communicate with her relatives living in Japan. It must be hard to choose one from two that both consists one’s self and cannot be changed.

Not only her but there are millions of people in a same situation in Japan. Children cannot choose where to be born. This is just adults’ ego in a society. Japan put too much emphasis on nation’s loyalties that are believed only who owns Japanese blood, are able to behave just like Japanese and looks like Japanese. Other excuses tend to be left away. I feel like this is just we are trying to protect ourselves and stay where we are without any advance or moving backward.

To allow dual citizenship is a big issue that concerns many things which may change Japanese society or even history drastically. It takes few years to adjust between international laws and Japanese ones. However, I think those people in a neutral situation have right to insist on both citizenship just like what they are. We cannot draw a complete line for it. Those cases that hold international matters such as mixed children will be more familiar since globalization develops more and more, and society needs to catch up and make changes as it goes. Japan is not an isolated island anymore.

Does Japanese mono-citizenship policy limit diversity of thoughts and activities?

by Naoko Yoshida

In the last class, we talked about dual-citizenship. Our group was in the negative side, and we ended up with a conclusion that dual-citizenship can make a big confusion of political regulations, laws, and sanction, and that is why Japanese government does not allow us to have more than one citizenship. However, actually, since all of students from our group personally agree to allow dual-citizenship, we focused more on positive side. One of the topics we discussed at that time was relationship between citizenship, and thought and activities. I believe Japanese policy of mono-citizenship limits diversity of thoughts and activities. In this essay, I will discuss relation between citizenships and thoughts by using an example of a friend of mine.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Justice, everyone who has both Japanese citizenship and foreign citizenship should choose his/her citizenship before he/she becomes 22 year-old or within two years after he/she has got dual-citizenship. Otherwise he/she could lose his/her Japanese citizenship.

During my studying abroad in the US, I made friends with one Japanese-American man. His father was born in America, and his mother was born in Japan and moved to America because of her marriage. Since he is still 19 years old, he is one of the people who have both Japanese citizenship and American citizenship. He told me that he is still wondering whether he will keep having either his Japanese citizenship or his American one. Although his personality seems more like American than Japanese, he has been really proud of himself as Japanese and he really loves Japanese custom. Moreover there seems a much stronger likelihood that he would get Japanese citizenship if he had no dream. His dream is to be in the American military. In order to be in American military, he should have American citizenship. In other words, he should give up on his Japanese citizenship if he makes his dream come true. That is why he is still in wonder if he gets Japanese or American citizenship. Of course, I think one’s citizenship do not greatly influence one’s way of thinking. But if Japanese government allowed us to have dual-citizenship, he would live both as American and Japanese. By not allowing having two citizenships, his thoughts and activities as Japanese would be limited. By knowing that fact, I feel like by mono-citizenship policies, Japanese government limits diversity of thoughts and citizenship’s activities by itself.

In conclusion, Japanese mono-citizenship policy limits the diversity of thoughts and activities of their citizenship. That is why, I agree that Japanese citizenships should be allowed to have dual-citizenship.


Japanese Ministry of Justice.国籍選択について. Retrieved October 22nd from http://www.moj.go.jp/MINJI/minji06.html.

Dual Citizenship in Japan

by Sayaka Umei

Dual citizens are the people who have more than one citizenship. In Japan people have to choose one of them when they are 22 years old but in some countries people do not have to choose it, which is why they can have two citizenships. I think Japan needs to permit the dual citizenship because of two reasons below.

First, people can live better off in the host country if they are permitted to have dual citizenship. I have a friend who has American and Mexican citizenship. He was born in Mexico and moved into America when he was a little. He got the American citizenship because he needed to have been living in America for the rest of his life. When people live in one country, they need citizenship if they need to live contemporary. So they need the rights to live, pay taxes, use the taxes, use the medical care and so on. Moreover they need the protection against the crimes or wars. To be relieved that they can feel protected, they need to have citizenship literally.

Second, they can be proud of having two identities. Other friends of mine who have American citizenship and Japanese citizenship are really proud of their Japanese identity. He has Japanese parents but was born in America. He actually rose in America so he does not have Japanese background, culture, and custom but he is really proud of his Japanese nationality. When I hear their background, I was really glad because even though he does not know Japan so much, his nationalities are both America and Japan. Another friend has both American parents but he was born in Japan because his father is in army. He does not look Asian but he can speak Japanese and he really likes Okinawa where he was born and he love Japan as well. If he was born and grew up in America, he would never think about Japan. I think he will never come back to Japan because he was in Japan just because of his parent. If they are allowed to have dual citizenship, they will never think they are rejected to have Japanese and can be more proud of their nationalities.

Some people say there are some difficulties to have more than one citizenship to live in one country. Usually people do not pay attention at how many citizenship he has but occasionally when they travel around the world, or they want to join the army, dual citizenship is a kind of confusing. However, just Japanese government needs to establish the new law to correct, reduce, or clear these problems. Just they need to take an action to these problems.

Above all, I think Japan needs to admit the dual citizenship so that people who have dual citizenship can live better off and be proud of their nationalities and background.

Should Japan allow dual citizenship?

by Asako Morita

At the present day, Japanese government does not allow a person to have dual or multiple citizenships after the age of 22. The person who has it needs to choose one citizenship he or she wants to hold. Many European countries and Australia for example, allow dual citizenship since numbers of people immigrated there. Along the globalization, it is more convenient and easier for us to live another country. Global economy is now expanding all over the world and flow of people is more active. Although Japan is a nearly homogeneous country, more and more people are facing difficult choice.  In this short essay, I would like to argue why Japan needs to allow dual citizenship at the view of rights of residents and making ties to global society.

First, if the person who already holds dual citizenship and has lived or has ties to Japan, they should have rights as a citizen. Becoming the citizenship means citizens have rights which people usually regard them as perfectly normal. The disqualification of becoming public workers and election rights are unfair to the person who lives in Japan for a long time and pay a tax as almost same as “Japanese”. They may want to become Japanese citizens but also they still do not want to give up on their other nationality of their roots. It is not they do not like Japan but the choice of their identity is an extreme to them. The Japanese politicians concern that admitting dual citizenship leads to undermine national loyalty. However, people who live in Japan for a long time or related to Japan must have feeling for the nation somehow. Pessimistic fear of manipulation of the nationality takes valuable rights from a number of people.

Second, the advantages of admitting dual citizenship are remarkably large. Especially, the tie to people from other countries become strong and it enhances economic advantage. Many Japanese who are quite active and achieves successful outcome in other countries have to give up on Japanese nationality. Once they let the nationality go away, they hardly come back to Japan and the relation to Japan easily fade when generation passes. The case of Ireland, which admits dual citizenship, proves people who once left the country for immigration and succeeded in various fields lately came back and produces prosperous economic condition. I think in this global trend, Japan should be tolerant to dual citizenship so that Japanese business can easily recruit a talented person who have experienced in another countries. We should not forget many variable Japanese people who live all over the world.

Therefore, I believe Japan should admit dual citizenship. As globalization move advance and more and more flow of people are active, the advantages of admitting dual citizenship are getting bigger and conservative perspective takes rights of great number of people away. I think it is advisable for the Japanese future to admit dual citizenship for not losing more Japanese all over the world.

Dual Citizenship

by Natsumi Ichioka

In the last class, we discussed whether we allow dual citizenship or not. I agree with dual citizenship. Though I have only Japanese nationality, I would like to get another nationality if I could. There are two reasons.

First, I think dual citizens have more opportunities than single citizens. If you have the dual citizenship, you can go both countries anytime without visa. It is the extent of action. It also means when there are some urgent events for example funeral in one country, you can go there soon. It is so wastes of time to get a visa.

Secondly, there are so many countries which admit the dual citizenship. Japan doesn’t admit dual citizenship now. But, most of the developed countries admit it. U.S. government gave the nationality those who were born in U.S. Recently, the rates of the international marriage are getting high. The dual citizenship’s problems are so important in the world. In Japan, in 1984, the nationality constitution was reformed. People who were born before this reform and have dual citizenship have to decide one nationality by one’s effort. But this reform are not perfect, actually some people still have the dual citizenship in Japan. Japanese government tries to lose the dual citizenship, but it is impossible. So, we have to change this situation. I think Japan have to adopt with the foreign policy.

There are also some problems for example, crime, tax, war, conscription and so on. If you have a dual citizenship, and have a trouble in the foreign country, which country will help you? It is a complicated problem. Because I have a Japanese nationality, I can feel relief when I was in foreign country because Japanese government might help me when I have some trouble. It is the merit of the single citizenship.

But, we should adopt the positive trend in the world. There are so many people who have the dual citizenship in the world. We should not pay attention the negative case which deals with crime or war, but the way to make a good relation between the single nationality and dual citizenship. Japan has so many appeal points for example the skills of chemistry, the minds of the Japanese and so on. Most of Japanese people are proud of themselves. I think Japanese government admit the dual citizenship, the relationship with the foreign country becomes better. The world situations are changing for admitting the dual citizenships, Japan have to follow the changing as well. I hope many people who have in trouble with this problem can live more comfortably in Japan and in the world.



http://japanese.japan.usembassy.gov/j/acs/tacsj-dual.html 米国大使館 東京・日本

Citizenship in Japan

by Yuuka Kageyama

What is the meaning of being Japanese or having a citizenship in Japan? The answer can be various, depending on the idea of citizenship and when and where is the citizenship used or considered. Citizenship is usually defined as a form of membership in a community. One of the biggest features of Japan is that many people have same or similar culture, language (Japanese) and race, that is, Japan has less ethnic diversity compared to other countries such as America which has so many kinds of ethnic groups and immigrants. However, with the advance of globalization, Japan came to have various people and culture. In this society, how does the citizenship work especially on the immigrants from other countries or people whose parental origin are different from that of Japanese?  Let’s think about it from three dimension of citizenship.

First, in order to hold the citizenship as legal status, people need to have Japanese mother or father. However, there are many immigrants and people who were born and grown up in Japan but don’t have Japanese parents. Such people cannot be “Japanese” in terms of nationality. They also don’t have Japanese passport.  I met a student whose both parents are American but born and grown up in Japan and even have never been to America. He was educated as Japanese and his way of thinking and behavior is quite Japanese. However he doesn’t have Japanese citizenship in this regards even if he spends his entire life in Japan.

Second, citizenship ensures the right of participation in the community. In a society in Japan people who have right to be Japanese have responsibility to obey the law, which gives the government obligation to protect them at the same time. Moreover, individual needs to be treated equally as human right. Although it sounds natural and easy to implement, the reality is that people are not always equal in some part. For example, people who don’t have Japanese nationality cannot be national civil servant and cannot join the government by voting. It is true that there is a difficulty to give every citizen equally the right to be involved in the national important organizations, however, such people as immigrants should also have chance to reflect their wishes in some ways.

Third, citizenship gives people in a community a sense of belonging. People in a community share their own culture, belief, language and so on, which is closely connected with their identities. Immigrants who don’t share such identity can be ‘other’ in the society. The citizenship in this regard is different from the one which come from legal or political meanings.

Immigrants in Japan have still difficulty to join the society there is a need that Japanese government takes measures including achievement of substantive citizenship or expansion of the criterion to hold citizenship.

Dual Citizenship in Japan


Dual citizenship occurs when one person acquires nationality from more than one country. This can happen when a child is born of parents of mixed nationality or of parents who are living in country other than that of their citizenship.


Nowadays, a child born in Japan of mixed parents would be eligible for both Japanese citizenship and the citizenship of their foreign parents. However, Japan takes a stricter view of individuals holding more than one nationality, since the situations and laws can easily become a bit complex. Therefore, when young people become adult, about 22, they have to choose their citizenship.

Unlike many countries that tolerate but not officially endorse dual citizenship, Japan chooses to take restrictions on dual nationality. Thus, when a Japanese national holding a foreign nationality turns 20, they will be required to choose on sole citizenship within 2 years.


For Japanese citizens holding a foreign nationality, there are two methods of declaring a single nationality. One is abandoning the foreign nationality, the other one is swearing to Japanese nationality. When the time comes to choose one nationality, people are usually supposed to think carefully and make the right decision.


In my own opinion, the actively cracking down on dual nationality in Japan may be a wise choice, even though the practice to require one to make a decision seems a little cruel. But what I am thinking of is that it’s better for one to choose which country one belongs to. In this way, it will be more clearly who is responsible for you, but you don’t have to cut the tie with the other country. It’s just like choosing your belief. To our motherland, we should become a faithful, loyal and devoted national.

By Yan Yinyan