How difficult is it to regain Japanese citizenship?
If you lose your Japanese citizenship for any reason, you may be concerned that you will never be able to regain Japanese citizenship.
However, in this case, there is a system by which you can regain citizenship if you meet certain conditions.
This article describes how you can regain Japanese citizenship.
If you do not actively choose Japanese citizenship, you will lose it
If you were born in another country, depending on the laws of that country, you can acquire not only Japanese citizenship but also the citizenship of that country.
For example, suppose there is a law that says, “Children born in country A must take citizenship A unconditionally."
A child born in country A acquires both Japanese citizenship and citizenship A at birth, even if the child was born to a Japanese couple.
Children who have acquired both Japanese and foreign citizenship at birth lose Japanese citizenship retroactively from the date of birth unless they clearly indicate that they wish to “reserve” Japanese citizenship (Article 12 of the Nationality Law).
Acquisition of Japanese citizenship in the case described in Article 12 of the Nationality Law
If you do not apply for reservation of Japanese citizenship, you will lose Japanese citizenship in accordance with Article 12 of the Nationality Law.
If you have lost your Japanese citizenship under Article 12 of the Nationality Law, you may regain Japanese citizenship by submitting an application to the Minister of Justice if you meet the following two requirements (Article 17, Paragraph 1 of the Nationality Law).
- You are under 18 years of age
- You have an address in Japan
If you are over 18 years old or do not have an address in Japan, you cannot regain Japanese citizenship because you do not meet the requirements set forth in the Nationality Law.
Loss of Japanese citizenship after announcement in the Official Gazette.
A person who holds both Japanese and foreign citizenship (dual citizenship) may be required by the Minister of Justice to choose one citizenship.
If the whereabouts of a person with dual citizenship are unknown, the Minister of Justice may publish a notice in the Official Gazette (a government-published gazette).
In principle, if you receive a notice in the Official Gazette and do not choose Japanese citizenship within one month of receiving the notice, you will lose Japanese citizenship (Article 15, Paragraph 3 of the Nationality Law).
Reacquisition of Japanese citizenship in case of leave of absence under Article 15 of the Nationality Law
A person who has lost Japanese citizenship under Article 15 of the Nationality Law may regain Japanese citizenship if all the following conditions are met.
- They have been notified by a notice in the Official Gazette
- They have lost Japanese citizenship because they have not opted for Japanese citizenship within one month of receiving the notice.
- They are stateless or lose their current citizenship by acquiring Japanese citizenship.
- They notified the Minister of Justice within one year from the day they learned they lost Japanese citizenship (there are exceptions such as natural disasters).