A group of Filipinos of Japanese descent are defying old age and rejection in their fight to obtain citizenship. Their Japanese fathers died, went home or otherwise disappeared before or during World War II, and the claimants often have only vague memories of them.

Pacita Torres from the southern Philippine province of Davao Occidental on Mindanao Island is now 84 years old. More than two decades have passed since she and her two siblings sought to establish links with their father, whom they identify from memory as "Mashimura Maramoto."

They were among 10 Japanese descendants, aged from 70 to 79, who recently met with officials of the Philippine Nikkei-jin Legal Support Center, the Nippon Foundation, and, for the first time, the Japanese Embassy in Manila.