Migration and Diasporas
As Japanese citizenship is based on the principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood), children of refugees and asylum-seekers do not obtain Japanese citizenship even when they were born in Japan. However, it is also difficult for refugees and asylum-seekers to register the birth of their baby to the embassy or consulate of their origin country. Left unregistered, these children in consequence become citizens of no country. The international society has repeatedly criticized Japan for its low rate of refugee acceptance. Although some Indochinese refugees were accepted in the 1970s and a few Burmese refugees through the third-country program in recent years, only a handful were accepted each year as refugees after long waiting (Ex. Only 28 in 2018 and 20 in 2017 recognized as refugee). Especially low attention has been paid to the status of their children and problems they face. Focusing on these children of refugees and asylum-seekers left in statelessness, this research looks at the attitude of the Japanese government, efforts of civil organizations to support them, and how these children themselves face squarely with their life. It contends that the problem of such stateless children offers a key test of Japan’s interest in accepting diversity and integrating immigrants. Cross-border migration is already an everyday affair today. As patterns and motivations of migration diversify, change is inevitable on the side of the system of citizenship in order to accommodate and leverage such diversity.