I have a friend who only wants to meet his siblings. With the way that Japan is slowly accepting that their close society can no longer be as restrictive, it is just a matter of time before my friend gets his wish.

Most Japinos prefer dad’s ‘love’ over citizenship
08/21/2008 | 12:47 PM
MANILA, Philippines – Most Japanese-Filipino (‘Japino’) children would rather meet their fathers in person and be recognized as their children than be granted Japanese citizenship.

According to Mikas Matsuzawa, president of the Batis-YOGHI (Youth Organization Gives Hope and Inspiration) most first generation Japinos like her are not so much interested in getting a Japanese visa.

“We are more interested in being recognized by our fathers than being Japanese citizens,” Matsuzawa told GMANews.TV in an interview.

First generation Japinos are children of the first batch of Filipinas – mostly entertainers – who went to Japan in the 1970s to work.

There are no reliable data on the number of Japanese-Filipino children, but estimates range between 10,000 and 100,000.

Matsuzawa raised concern that the plight of Japinos would be constricted only to the issue of citizenship. “Most Japinos don’t even have enough knowledge about the issue. They’re confused. They are often stereotyped. It’s a complex situation.”

She explained that Japinos begin their ordeal with their quest to find their fathers. From there they still need to be recognized by them before dealing with their own nationality and identity.

“Japino children need to resolve the issue of their identities first before being coerced to become Japanese citizens,” she said adding that Filipino mothers often push their children to go to Japan to take advantage of the vast ‘opportunities’ there.

Nationality in Japan is determined by bloodline rather than place of birth, though foreigners may apply to become citizens. Many ethnic Koreans, for instance, have been born in Japan but retain the Korean nationality of their parents.

Under current law, a child born out of wedlock to a foreign mother and Japanese father is automatically granted Japanese nationality.

But a child born outside marriage can only obtain nationality if the father acknowledges paternity while the mother is still pregnant.

If the father recognizes the child as his only after the child’s birth, the child is unable to receive citizenship unless the parents get married, the report said.

Children born to Japanese mothers are automatically granted Japanese nationality, no matter what the nationality of the father is or whether the parents are married.

Voting 12-3, the Japanese Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional last June, a provision in the Japanese Nationality Law that states that such children can only become citizens of the mother’s home country.

The ruling applied to 10 Japanese-Filipino children in Japan — one child being deported for overstaying with his mother and nine others with resident visas.

In overturning the High Court’s decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the provision in the law resulted in “discrimination without any rational reason” and thus violated Article 14 of the Japanese Constitution, which stipulates equality under the law.

“The disadvantages caused to the children by this biased treatment cannot be disregarded,” said the ruling that found unlawful the clause requiring that the parents be married.

Meanwhile, Rieko Ito, secretary general of the Citizens’ Network for Japanese-Filipino, said in an interview last year that such children face an “identity crisis.”

Ito said these children can receive welfare benefits as long as they have residential status but will not have the right to vote as adults.

“Without suffrage, we are afraid they will feel alienated and face discrimination in job-hunting activities,” Ito said. – GMANews.TV