Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Japanese Supreme Court Strikes Down Nationality Law

"TOKYO (AP) — Japan's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday against a law that denied citizenship to children born out of wedlock to Japanese fathers and foreign mothers, a court official said.

"Japan's top court ruled in favor of 10 Japanese-Filipino children suing for citizenship in Japan. The children were split into two separate cases, one filed in 2003 and one filed in 2005.

"The suits were filed by Filipino mothers who had proved the fathers of their children were Japanese, the report said.

""The court rejected the previous rulings," a court spokesman said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy, referring to the Tokyo High Court's decisions in 2006 and 2007 that denied the children Japanese citizenship. He declined to give further details.

"But the Wednesday decisions backed up even earlier rulings by the Tokyo District Court that the marital status of the parents had no bearing on nationality, and that denying the children citizenship violated constitutional guarantees of equality for all.

"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 in 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, according to Kyodo News agency.

"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."

By Shino Yuasa (6/4/2008), AP, Link to article (last visited 6/4/2008)

1 comment:

uk immigration lawyer said...

International law generally recognizes the right of states to set their own policy concerning nationality.[1] Nevertheless, there are a number of international treaties that are relevant to nationality law.