Passport name rules to be eased

The Foreign Ministry plans to ease rules for Romanizing Japanese names in passports.

Under the present system, for instance, people whose first name is “Joji” have their name spelled “Joji” in their passports according to the Romanization method. But there is a growing number of cases in which such people would rather have their name spelled “George.”

The ministry’s move comes in response to a number of Japanese parents who give their children names that can be accepted as both Japanese and English names, and the growing number of Japanese who have found careers abroad.

The ministry has allowed Japanese to spell their name in a foreign way if they were born overseas and had foreign names so registered in official documents.