Japan to give nationality to illegitimate children: Nikkei

TOKYO —

The government is planning to reform its nationality law to recognize children born out of wedlock to foreign mothers after a benchmark Supreme Court ruling last month, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Sunday.

The justice ministry drafted the amendment so as to give Japanese nationality to children born to foreign mothers without consideration to their parents’ marital status, the Nikkei reported, without citing sources.

The plan comes after the Supreme Court last month ruled it was unconstitutional to deny nationality to illegitimate children who were mostly born to Filipina entertainers working in Japan.

The bill for the planned amendment was likely to be submitted to the next parliament session starting in late August or in September, the report said.

According to official statistics, approximately 2,800 children born out of wedlock to foreign mothers reside in Japan, more than 2,000 of whom have Japanese fathers.

Japan, which largely regards itself as ethnically homogeneous, bases nationality on blood ties. It has rejected the idea of large-scale immigration even though it has one of the world’s lowest birthrates.

In Japan, nationality was traditionally passed down through the paternal line, with a child obtaining Japanese citizenship only if his or her father was Japanese.

Japan changed the law effective from 1985 to permit either a mother or father to pass on their nationality, but imposed the condition that the father must recognize paternity while the child was still in the womb.

The Tokyo High Court had last year refused to grant the plaintiffs Japanese nationality, saying that illegitimate passport seekers could abuse the law if fathers gave nationality to children already born out of wedlock.

AFP

  • 0

    rjd_jr

    A step in the right direction, finally.

  • 0

    bamboohat

    Bravo

  • 0

    lipscombe

    about time.

  • -1

    morosophos

    Don't they call these children "bastards" anymore? Shame on the fathers! And shame on the "entertainers."

  • 1

    Molenir

    Shame? For preferring to give the child a chance at life rather then just flushing them down the toilet? Myself I think this is a great thing. And like Rjd said, finally a step in the right direction.

  • 0

    norinrad21

    Logic has some what found its way to the Islands. This is indeed good news

  • 0

    Bovinus

    A step that should have been taken decades ago but nevertheless, a good step.

  • 0

    noborito

    It's 2008. Genetic testing, paternity testing, etc. They've been around for years. How about doing what most of the real world does. Automatic nationality "where" you are born, and by paternity. Could Japan handle such a case. I always think it's interesting to hear "homogeneous" when in fact Japan and America are the same. Made up from people all over the world. (Well for Japan, all over Asia) This law only protects men from "well" those weekend sex trips to the Philippines, Thailand etc. Who wants some kid coming up to your house when they are 18 saying "Hi Dad".

  • 0

    lipscombe

    the nationality based on bloodties argument is just against every historical precedent in every country across the world. how far back do they want to go to find a 'homogenous' race? dodgy ground and plain idiocy in 2008 considering Japan's future

  • 0

    stanoue

    Rats. There goes my great excuse for a quick registry marriage on our next trip to Japan to avoid the need for an oopsy shot-gun one somewhere down the track...

  • 0

    helloklitty

    How could they have thought otherwise all these year?

    It would be interesting to know where the "rest of the world" stands on this and other citizenship issues.

  • 0

    kimigano

    This is wrong. It opens up the door for all kinds of fraudsters to pay homeless men to say they fathered a child, which then makes that child a Japanese citizen. Courts and society need to look at these cases with suspicion.

  • 0

    sensei258

    For the sake of those children, this is a good thing. They did not choose to be born into that situation. But, shame on those who create a life (or end one for that matter) for their convenience.

  • 0

    borscht

    kimigano,

    The last thing Japan needs is another citizen, that's for sure. Especially one that isn't 'pure' Yamato. And if you wish, you can always have what is called a 'blood test' to check for paternity. Oh, wait. You live in Japan. I'll explain more slowly. A 'blood test' is one way to check to make sure the homeless man is actually the biological father of the 'less than pure' child.

  • 0

    kimigano

    borscht,

    What you're talking about is called a 'paternity test' or a 'DNA test' and it's done with cheek cells, not blood.

    What are you talking about?

  • 0

    Triple888

    Good decision.

  • 0

    Hughgarse

    welcome to the 21st century Japan.. Hope you enjoy your stay..

  • 0

    reddragonguy

    The Japanese lawmakers can change the law overnight but the fact is these children shall never be absorbed by the Japanese society due to their half japanese ethnics! The japanese society was the most exclusive to foreign backgrond people in the world but still she was regarded as 'democratic', very lovely isnt it?

  • 0

    cleo

    the fact is these children shall never be absorbed by the Japanese society due to their half japanese ethnics!

    The fact is you don't know what you're talking about. Both my kids have what you call 'half japanese ethnics', very visibly, and they have had no problems at all making their way in Japanese society.

    The children mentioned in the article may have problems on account of their illegitimacy, which is sad, but hopefully that aspect of society is also changing now. The kids had no say in who their Mum went to bed with.

  • 0

    kimigano

    The fact is you don't know what you're talking about. Both my kids have what you call 'half japanese ethnics', very visibly, and they have had no problems at all making their way in Japanese society.

    Do you have some proof of this claim?

  • 0

    cleo

    Just two very well-adjusted, well-integrated, successful kids.

  • 0

    kawaiitenshi

    A lot of people suggest half japanese kids will never be accepted... however this is not the case. I'm not exactly living in a big city here, but no one has ever pointed out the fact my daughter is "only half" Sure some people may have bad experiences, but we have had nothing but positive ones... I think the apparent "problems" with having a half japanese kid are about as played up as the stories of "used panty vending machines"

  • 0

    Janet Bradecina

    pls help all the kids nikkei jin here in the philippine

  • 0

    Yuan Asahina Kageyama

    how can i get my Japan Visa?

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