|"Marriages of foreigners in Japan
③－Which nationality will foreign
nationals acquire when they got married in Japan" Sep 1, 2003
| Good evening. Have you ever
wondered which nationality will a foreign national
acquire when they got married in Japan especially when the spouse is a Japanese
national. Well, we will be talking about it today.
It is generally thought that a citizenship is customarily acquired by marriage with
or without the consent of the involved. And some countries are actually
implementing such law like that in Iran where the wife of foreign nationality
automatically acquires an Iranian citizenship upon marriage to an Iranian. In fact,
Japan had once implemented such law until 1950 and Korea until June of 1998. So,
what is the present existing nationality law of Japan? The nationality law of Japan
stipulates that Japanese citizenship cannot be acquired nor forfeited by marriage
but can be acquired through naturalization or "Kika" in Japanese. So, let's say if a
Japanese woman got married to an Iranian, what are the consequences? According
to the civil law of Iran, she will automatically acquire the Iranian citizenship by
marriage whether she likes it or not. But what happens now to her Japanese
citizenship? The point here lies on whether her other nationality was acquired
automatically or through naturalization, which must be done with her own consent.
Because her Iranian citizenship was acquired by marriage regardless of her own will,
she can maintain her Japanese citizenship. In such case, she will be holding a dual
However, in Japan, dual citizenship can only be carried within a certain period.
Article 14 of the nationality law stipulates that those who acquire their dual
nationality at the age below 20, they must choose which nationality to maintain by
the time they become 22 years old. Also, those who did acquire dual nationality at
the age over 20, they must decide which nationality to maintain within 2 years. If
the choice has not been made within the provided period, the minister of justice will
issue an advice. And if the matter was left pending for a month after the advice,
the Japanese nationality of the concerned will be revoke as stated in article 15 and
16 of nationality law.
Now, regarding the Iranian husband, he won't be able to acquire the Japanese
citizenship by marriage according to the existing nationality law of Japan. If ever he
wishes to acquire the Japanese citizenship, he must then file a petition for
naturalization. However, please remember that the spouse of a foreign national can
only be eligible for filing a petition not until 3 years of living in Japan with their
Japanese souse which is one that differ immigration related marriage with fraud.
We must also remember that the condition and the procedures for naturalization
differ from one country to another, so the processing could be easy or difficult.
What if a Japanese acquire a different nationality on his own will? In this case, of
course he will lose his Japanese nationality in accord to article 14 of the nationality
law. Once the Japanese citizenship has been revoke, it must be reported to the
municipal office within one month from the date of annulment. The spouse of
relatives within the fourth degree of relationship can report it in behalf of the
concern in accordance to article 103 of the registration law.