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Osaka native Haruko Kubota has waged a lifelong struggle to be “certified” as a living resident.

Kubota (not her real name), 31, a petite mother of three with long dyed hair, doesn’t have a “koseki” family registration. Lacking a family registry is a tremendous disadvantage — and virtually unthinkable — in a nation where all citizens are supposed to have their names registered at birth.

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