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Japan: Revision of the Nationality Law

Categories: East Asia, Japan, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Ethnicity & Race, Governance, Human Rights, International Relations, Law, Protest, Youth

On the 4th of June, on the occasion of cases filed in 2003 [1] [en] and in 2005 whose protagonists were 10 children born out of wedlock to Japanese fathers and Filipino mothers, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional an article of the Nationality Law [2][en] because it infringes on Article 14 of the Constitution [3] [en], which grants the right to equality. According to the article, while a child born in wedlock to a Japanese father and a foreign mother is in every respect recognized as a Japanese citizen, before the June 4th decision children born out of wedlock were only recognized as Japanese citizens if paternity had been confirmed before the child's birth.

Figure of Japan's Nationality Law
id:Inflorescencia [4] at her blog describes, through the use of pictures, details of the Nationality Law and the process that brought about its revision.

On the 18th of November, after this historical ruling by the Supreme Court, a bill [5] [jp] was passed by the House of Representatives to amend Article 3 of the Nationality Law. However, while the enactment of the bill by the House of Councilors is expected by the 30th of November, many voices have been raised in opposition to it [6].

Responding to these protests, Hideo Ogura at la_causette [7] posted an entry titled: “Opposing to the revision of the Nationality Law, Clause 1, Article 3 is a waste of energy” (国籍法3条1項の改正に反対することはエネルギーの無駄である). In it he refers to the nationalist movement born on the Internet which opposes the decision of the the Supreme Court [8][en] and the subsequent amendment of the Law.

 最高裁判所の違憲判決を受けて行われている国籍法改正について,相変わらずの人たちによる反対運動がネットを中心に熱心に行われているようです。
 ただ,なんだか無駄なエネルギーを使っているようにしか私には見えません。というのも,上記国籍法改正を阻止できたところで,彼らが望んでいる社会にはならないからです

As often happens, a movement has been gaining ground recently, especially on the Internet, which opposes revision of the Nationality Law proposed following the ruling of the Supreme Court.
To me this is nothing but a waste of energy. Because even if they managed to block the mentioned revision, it wouldn't bring about the society that these people are hope for.

 

 […] すなわち,上記国籍法改正を阻止してみたところで,法務局を困らせることにしか繋がらないのであって,仮にこの反対運動並び右派国会議員等からの圧力に屈してこの種の国籍取得届に対して国籍取得を認めない旨の通知を発する法務局が現れたところで,子供の親と法務局と裁判所に訴訟のための無駄な費用と労力をかけさせるだけに終わるのです(最高裁の大法廷で下された合憲限定解釈に敢えて逆らおうとする下級審というのもあまりいないように思いますし。)。
 ある種のゼノフォビアのために,国に無駄な仕事をさせようとする人々を,「愛国者」と呼ぶことに,私は大いなる躊躇を感じます。

That is to say, even if they block the mentioned amendment to the Nationality Law, they would just cause problems at the Legal Affairs Bureau. And if, hypothetically speaking, the opposition movement together with all the members of the rightist national assembly, putting pressure, managed to get the Legal Affairs Bureau to refuse Japanese citizenship to such children [under the conditions newly established by the Supreme Court's ruling], the new lawsuit would be a waste of money and labor for the child and his parents as well as for the Legal Affairs Bureau and Court of Justice (Besides, it would seem quite unlikely that the lower court would dare to go against the interpretation of the constitution [9] [合憲限定解釈] [ja] set down by the Grand Bench of the Supreme Court.)
Plus this bunch of people who are trying to pile useless work on the State just for the sake of xenophobia, who pretend to be called “patriots”, perplex me very much indeed.