Revised Nationality Law enacted

The revised law was approved at a House of Councillors plenary session by a majority vote, although nine lawmakers from New Party Nippon and the People’s New Party, including NPN leader Yasuo Tanaka, voting against it. Haruko Arimura and Seiichi Eto, both Liberal Democratic Party members, and upper house Vice President Akiko Santo, former LDP member and now independent for the post, abstained from the vote.

Before enactment of the revised law, a Japanese man and non-Japanese woman had to be married when their child was born for the baby to be granted Japanese nationality. In cases in which a child was born out of wedlock to such a couple, the child would only be able to obtain Japanese nationality, strictly as an exception, if the father recognized paternity before the child was born.

Under the revised law, Japanese nationality will be granted to a child whose father recognizes paternity, regardless of whether the child’s parents are married or if paternal recognition comes before or after birth.

The revision to remove the marital status clause from the law followed a ruling by the Supreme Court in June that the Nationality Law was unconstitutional in denying nationality to children born out of wedlock but recognized by fathers after birth.