The Tokyo District Court granted Japanese nationality Wednesday to nine Japanese-fathered children born out of wedlock to Filipino women, ruling that a legal clause that bars such status only if the father acknowledges paternity after birth is unconstitutional.
The kids, who currently hold Philippine citizenship, filed to be recognized as Japanese nationals in February and March last year, but their applications were rejected on grounds that they did not meet the necessary conditions.
The children, aged 6 to 12 and residents of Tokyo and Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures, had lawsuits filed on their behalf in April.
The court said the Nationality Law clause that only allows Japanese-fathered kids born out of wedlock whose fathers admit paternity before birth to acquire Japanese nationality runs counter to the principle of equality before the law.
The same court made a similar ruling last April, granting Japanese nationality to a 7-year-old boy.
That decision was overturned by the Tokyo High Court in February, which ruled that even if the clause is invalid because it runs counter to the principle of equality before the law, it did not automatically create a system that granted Japanese nationality to the boy.
Presiding Judge Hiroyuki Kanno said in Wednesday’s ruling it is “an immense disadvantage” for a kid born out of wedlock to a foreign mom and Japanese dad who doesn’t come forward and admit paternity until after birth.