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Since you're here on this nipponophiliac website, the thought of living in Japan has surely crossed your mind in the past, at least once or twice (unless you have already fulfilled that dream, in which case "Bravo!"). But what about taking the next step? It's one thing to just live there, and another one to actually become a full-fledged Japanese citizen.

Gaijin in Akihabara

The Mainichi Daily News website is running a story today that seeks to answers precisely this question: "How can foreigners get Japanese citizenship?" (not to be insensitive, but about time they took a break from their year-long propaganda about nuclear power related issues; they haven't been much fun lately, ever since the quake...).

So, about that citizenship. The first obvious way to get it, naturally, is being born of Japanese parents - either one, or both parents. In case only one of the parents is Japanese, there are a few formalities to be followed, but they're fairly simple and easy to overcome.

Now, if you're a complete foreigner, and you're not worried about being derided as a "gaijin" for the rest of your life there, you're going to have to put in quite a bit of effort, before the justice minister can officially proclaim you a Japanese citizen (and even then, the natives' still-rampant xehophobia will probably haunt you till the end of days). Here are some basic conditions for getting the citizenship.
"The Japanese Nationality Act requires that foreigners wishing to take Japanese nationality be 20 years or older, live in Japan for at least 5 years even after obtaining citizenship, and that the applicant be able to make an independent living. Of course, things like criminal and tax payment records are also taken into consideration. It's also important that the applicant be able to read and speak Japanese."

Once you've managed that, comes the really "fun" part: holy bureaucracy!
"In addition to the application forms, the candidate must submit over 10 documents, including a family history, resume, and an explanation of their reasons for seeking Japanese citizenship. All these papers are submitted to the applicant's regional legal affairs bureau - local branches of the Ministry of Justice. After several more steps, including an interview, the applicant can take Japanese nationality if granted permission by the justice minister. The entire process takes six to 10 months."

Well, then... Anyone still having wet dreams about it?
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