Fil-Japanese from Baguio finally gets Japanese citizenship
MANILA - A 68-year-old man from the northern Philippine city Baguio on Wednesday became the first of nine Filipino-Japanese who petitioned the Tokyo Family Court in August to have his Japanese citizenship officially recognized.
Yuka Kanamaru of the Philippine Nikkei-jin Legal Support Center told Kyodo News in Manila that Antonio Takara's "shuseki" petition was approved three months after it was filed.
"The decision was made rather quickly, but we can say it is reasonable, considering the fact that his father was identified and the strong evidence he had," Kanamaru said in an e-mail message.
Quoting a staff member of the Filipino-Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc. who conveyed the court decision to Takara, Kanamaru said, "He (Takara) was overjoyed, saying he did not expect that decision would be made so fast."
Takara's father Shinkichi Takara, a native of Okinawa, migrated to the southern Philippine province Davao on Mindanao Island in 1930.
According to the center, the older Takara followed his father, who was already engaged in abaca farming in Davao. He married a Filipino woman in 1942.
Antonio was born on May 28, 1945 on Luzon where his father moved to serve for the Imperial Japanese Army when World War II was about start.
"His father went along with the Japanese Army and never visited or contacted (him, his older brother and his mother)," the center said of Antonio.
It was only in 2011 the center traced Takara's father, who had been listed as a prisoner of war.
The profile included the names of his family members.
In an interview in August before going to Japan to personally appear at the court for his petition, Takara, who expressed happiness to see his father's homeland, said his intentions for acquiring the Japanese citizenship are "for the sake of my son."
"He likes to be a Japanese (citizen), and he's proud to have Japanese blood," Takara said.
"Mr. Takara is expecting his children to work in Japan now. This will probably be the next step. And now with his approval, his grandchildren can apply for working visas in Japan," Kanamaru said. "Another thing he can do is acquire a Japanese passport, although I am not sure if he will do so at this point."
Kanamaru said last August that Japanese family courts have so far granted citizenship petitions of 95 Filipino-Japanese descendants since 2006 and continue to hear more than 50 other cases.
More than a hundred other cases are being prepared by Kanamaru's center and the Nippon Foundation.
The center estimates there were around 3,000 second-generation Filipino-Japanese descendants, of whom, nearly 900 were not officially registered with the Japanese government due to disrupted lives after the war.
Most of the fathers of the second-generation descendants arrived in the Philippines before wartime and married local women.