Tokyo court grants citizenship to another Filipino-Japanese

Posted at 03/25/14 6:06 PM

MANILA - Another Filipino of Japanese descent was officially recognized Monday as a Japanese national by a Tokyo family court, a non-profit organization helping him said Tuesday.

Yuka Kanamaru of the Philippine Nikkei-Jin Legal Support Center said Rogelio Kimura, 69, from the northern Philippine province of Nueva Ecija on Luzon island, acquired his Japanese citizenship more than three years after filing his petition.

Kimura, the son of a native from Hiroshima who came to the Philippines in 1936 and got married to a Nueva Ecija woman three years later had been a "stateless citizen" since his father was repatriated to Japan after World War II.

The social bias against Japanese descendants at that time up to the 1960s also forced him to hide his Japanese roots, Kimura said in an interview last year.

Named by his father as "Masao" and officially registered as a Japanese national, Kimura started tracing his father's whereabouts only in 1986, leading him to his father's family registry in 1998. By that time, his father had already been dead for three years.

Before leaving for Japan in August last year for an interview at the family court in Tokyo, Kimura said he was encouraged to apply for Japanese citizenship because he has four siblings in Japan.

He also wants to be with his children who are already long-term residents in Japan.

Kanamaru said Kimura is the second petitioner from the Philippines to have been approved this year, after Inia Nobuko Kato 80, from Sarangani Province on Mindanao island whose Japanese citizenship was granted last Jan. 28.

So far, 112 Filipino-Japanese have acquired their Japanese nationality since 2006 through the help of Kanamaru's center, she said.

Kanamaru said 29 other cases are pending and the center plans to file 20 new petitions this year.