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A lawsuit was filed against the government Tuesday on behalf of nine children born in Japan to Japanese fathers and Filipino mothers who are seeking to be recognized as Japanese, according to their lawyer.

The children, aged 5 to 11, have lived their entire lives here and speak only Japanese. While all of them are legally acknowledged by their fathers, none of their parents is married.

“Forms of families and parent-and-child relationships are diverse,” lawyer Hironori Kondo told a news conference after the suit was filed. “These children should be given Japanese nationality by nature.”

According to the Nationality Law, parents must be married and a Japanese mother or father must legally acknowledge his or her child before the child can be recognized as Japanese.

Only if a Japanese father legally recognizes his child before the child is born, is the child granted Japanese nationality regardless of the marital situation.

One of the plaintiffs, 7-year-old Masami, is considered Filipino. But her younger sister, born to the same father, is considered Japanese.

Their father only recognized Masami as his after she was born, while her younger sister was acknowledged before birth.

“I would be very happy if I had the same nationality as my sister,” Masami told the news conference.

Masami’s mother, Rossana, said: “How do you tell your children that they are sisters with the same father but have different last names and nationalities? When I gave birth to (Masami), I thought that if (she) was born in Japan, (she) would be given Japanese nationality.”

The plaintiffs and their mothers have permanent residency in Japan as Filipinos.

Refugee status hit

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) The government has appealed a court ruling that approved refugee status for a 33-year-old Afghan man, government officials said Tuesday.

The appeal, filed with the Hiroshima High Court, argues that the state sees a problem in the March 29 ruling by the Hiroshima District Court that declared Abdul Aziz a refugee, according to the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau.

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