National

Top court recognizes man as being Japanese

The Supreme Court upheld Thursday a high court ruling recognizing the Japanese nationality of a 58-year-old man who was born to a Japanese woman and Korean man before the end of World War II but denied citizenship because his father was not Japanese.

The man, who lives in the city of Kawachinagano, Osaka Prefecture, was stripped of his Japanese nationality as a child because his father acknowledged parenthood in September 1950.

Although the Nationality Law, introduced in July 1950, entitles children of Japanese mothers and foreign fathers to Japanese nationality, the government continued observing the old law until December that year. Under the old law, children take the nationality of their father, and those born of Japanese lose their Japanese nationality upon gaining the nationality of another country.

Presiding Justice Tatsuo Kainaka said: “The man was recognized (by his father) after the new law, which denies any change in nationality upon recognition by a foreign father, had taken effect. So the man has not lost his Japanese nationality.”

The man, who works at a construction firm, filed a lawsuit against the government seeking recognition of his Japanese nationality in 1997, after his colleagues at work told him that he probably had it.

In January 2000, the Osaka High Court ruled that the man, born in August 1945, has Japanese nationality, but the government appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.

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