Naturalization process can take up to a year

Japanese descent does not guarantee citizenship, and fluency in the language is essential

Kanto, Gunma, Oizumi – Thassia Ohphata /

They no longer thinking of returning to Brazil. Children, family, job stability. There are countless reasons that make more and more Brazilians choose to live in Japan. Being naturalized in the country is a way to have the same rights as the Japanese citizen, such as the right to vote, but also the same duties.

Yukio Horie, 32, from Isesaki (Gunma), decided to become a Japanese citizen eight years ago, motivated by job stability. “The Japanese want employees who can stay longer and naturalization is a guarantee. They start to see our future and invest more”, he reveals.

In Japan 15 years ago, Horie started thinking about naturalization in 1995, a time when the country was facing an economic crisis. As a foreigner, he saw that he was not well accepted in the job market.

The naturalization process took about a year. “It was easy and I had a good acceptance from the Japanese.” Horie also had no difficulties in assessing the Japanese language and had only one interview at the regional office of the Ministry of Justice (Hoomu kyoku) in Isesaki. “At the time, there were few foreigners who applied for naturalization. In the interview, they asked about everyday life in the country, such as laws, customs, to see if I was really able to live here”, he says. “After I got naturalization, I felt the need to further improve my knowledge of the language. I looked for a school and in two years, I managed to pass the level one proficiency test”, he adds.

Brazilian nationality

The naturalization process is always full of doubts. The main one is in relation to the loss of Brazilian nationality. According to Shoko Takano, from the Centro Nippo Brasileiro, Oizumi (Gunma), the loss only occurs if the person declares in Brazil that he no longer accepts Brazilian nationality. “Within Japan, the person is Japanese, since the country does not allow dual nationality. In Brazil, he will continue with Brazilian nationality and with the same rights”, he says.

Shoko receives several consultations on naturalization, but the number of families that enter the process is still small, around ten requests per year.

Brazilians who do not have Japanese descent can also apply for naturalization, provided they also have knowledge of the Japanese language.

Knowledge of the language is assessed in the interviews, in filling out the forms and also in the writing. The candidate must write a text of at least ten lines, explaining why he wants Japanese nationality.

In general, the evaluation process is often time-consuming and requires patience. The wait is up to a year. Sandra Minamoto, 37, from Oizumi (Gunma), will soon have this experience. “My children are of the fourth generation and were born in Japan. I believe that they will have more opportunities here and I want to guarantee them the rights that may exist”.

Later this year, she plans to file her family documents, which have been in preparation for a year.

For 15 years in the country and with a permanent visa, Sandra also wants to avoid other bureaucracies. “Besides, we have been here for a long time, always with all taxes up to date, I want to have the same rights, despite knowing that we will never be accepted as Japanese by society”, he asks.

Since Sandra’s husband does not have Japanese descent, he will adopt his wife’s surname. “He and my children, aged 13 and 9, will need to choose their respective Japanese names. It is as if a new family is being born, in addition to being an opportunity for children to choose their own names”, he highlights.

Requirements and documents required to apply for Japanese nationality

– Have lived in Japan for more than three years in a row – in the case of Japanese descendants or spouses – and five years for the other candidates
– Be over 20 years old (in the case of a family, children over 15 years old) can apply personally, and minors under 14, only accompanied by parents)
– Knowledge of Japanese, including writing

– Application form for entering the naturalization process (kika kyoka shinseisho), which can be obtained from the regional office of the Ministry of Justice (Hoomu Kyoku)
– Family register (koseki toohon), which can be obtained from the prefecture where your parents or grandparents are registered
– Letter explaining the reason for the request for naturalization, written in Japanese
– Term of Commitment (kika no doo-kisho), which can be obtained from the local Ministry of Justice office
– Proof of Family Income (gensen chooshuuhyoo )
– Proof of Work (zaishoku shoomeisho)
– Proof of Alien Registration (gaikokujin tooroku genpyoo kisaijikoo shoomeisho)
– Report on the company (if you have your own business in Japan)
– Documents from the country of origin (passport, identity card, etc.) and those issued by the Japanese government (gaikokujin tooroku shoomeisho, Driver’s License, etc.)
– Documents proving kinship, such as birth and marriage certificates
– In the case of Japanese family members, these documents would be, in addition to the koseki toohon, the joseki toohon (Certificate of Exclusion from the Family Registry) and the juminhyoo (Certificate of Residence). In the case of having Japanese grandparents, the koseki todoke shokisaijikoo (Proof of Notification of Family Registration)
– Proof of payment of taxes, such as Income Tax (which is registered in the gensen), and Certificate of Payment of the Residential Tax (juuminzei noozei shoomeisho) . All documents from the country of origin must be translated into Japanese
– Guarantor

After obtaining the documents, the candidate needs to:
– provide advice to an employee of the local Ministry of Justice office
– presentation of the formal application for the naturalization process
– evaluation (includes interview and Japanese test)

Read this article in issue no. 793 of the International Press

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