With Mami four months pregnant, we have been thinking about which nationality our child should be. It’s really not a hard decision to choose Japanese as Peanut‘s nationality since he or she will be born and raised in Japan and take Mami’s family name.
However, I’ve just been reading about birth registration on the British Embassy’s website and they point out that…
Under Japanese Nationality Law at the age of 20, but before the age of 22, dual Japanese/British children are required to choose which nationality they wish to retain. If they wish to retain Japanese nationality they may be asked to renounce British nationality by the Japanese authorities.
Well, I had heard that Japan was one of the few countries in which dual nationality is not allowed, but I didn’t realize that a child can have two nationalities until they are 20. So that’s a bonus for Peanut, but is there really any merit in registering our child with the embassy? I guess getting a British birth certificate could be handy…. erm… maybe.
I’m also interested in the wording used by the British Embassy when they say “they may be asked to renounce British nationality.” Could this mean that there’s a chance the law will be changed within 20 years and dual nationality will be allowed? Hmm.. if anyone reading this blog has had personal experience with choosing the nationality of their child, I’d love to hear from you.
It’s starting to feel a bit weird, you know, being British even though my life is Japanese. I was reading TV in Japan‘s post titled Man In Rabbit Suit Plays Giant Pinball Game with Bowling Balls, and even though Gavin described the show as completely absurd, I actually watched it when it aired on TV and thought it was… normal. So, perhaps Japan has become so familiar to me that what I now perceive as normal, my fellow foreigners think is absurd. Cripes!
When I retire, having spent my entire working life in Japan, I doubt I’ll have any connections with the U.K. at all, with the exception of my brother. So, as a 65-year old lifer in Japan, who by that time will probably have forgotten English, perhaps it would make sense to renounce my British nationality and become a Japanese citizen. Of course, I’ll need to choose a Japanese name, and I’ve been thinking quite hard about that:
Me: Hi. How are you? I’m Toshinobu.
Me: Um…. but you can call me Nick?
Man: …Ah…Nikku-san! How do you do? Are you American? How you like Japan? Chopsticks, ok? Japanese food, ok?
I’m sure I’m thinking too much about this. Perhaps I’ll wait twenty years and let Peanut decide his or her own nationality, and I’ll just see which one works best for him or her.