Saturday, September 18, 2010

No Dual Citizenship for You

Yesterday, a friend posted on her blog (Japanese) about an article in the New York Times about the famous Japanese conductor, Seiji Ozawa. She pointed out that he has dual citizenship, U.S. and Japanese. My children who were born and raised for most of their young lives in Japan (the older two's first language was Japanese) have dual citizenship. However, due to Japanese law, they must choose one or the other by the age of 22.

This choice is still a few years away for them. However, I looked at the link to the Ministry of Justice that Clara had in her post. And sure enough the Japanese Government is asking to choose your citizenship by age 22. They even have a PDF pamphlet you can download! (and what's with the blurry PDF? Is it just me, or do others see the PDF as blurry? ) The consequences of not voluntarily choosing is to possibly lose your Japanese citizenship.

Oooo, now that's a real threat. That'll get us to make sure we pick.

If my kids have to choose, they'll choose U.S. citizenship. The only possible negative impact to them is if they are already in Japan when they lose their Japanese citizenship - they may get deported for not having a proper Visa(clearly not a good thing). Other than that, there is zero motivation for them to go through the time and effort to let the Japanese government know that they are choosing U.S. citizenship since by not doing so that choice is "automatically" made for them.

You really have to wonder what the Japanese Government is thinking. As parents we both love both countries and want to have our kids feel pride about both their countries and cultures. The Japanese Government is pretty much guaranteeing that kids will have a bad taste in their mouths left over from having to choose. They will certainly like Japan a little less for it. And to what end? What's the purpose? Keeping the race pure? But that doesn't make sense either since anyone born in the U.S. is automatically a U.S. citizen, it is possible that a "pure" Japanese also has dual citizenship.

In the grand scheme of things it is zero impact on my kids' lives. No I may be overly proud of my kids, but the only losers is Japan. Of course, they may not thinks so. I am absolutely baffled as to the purpose of this. What are they trying to achieve?

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