Even if a foreigner gives birth in Japan, if they are not married to a Japanese person, their child will not receive Japanese citizenship. If the foreign mother of the child reports the birth to the government office of their country in Japan, then that child can receive the mother’s citizenship.  If the foreign mother reports the birth to a Japanese municipal office, even if they obtain the child’s Resident Card and Certificate of Residence under the mother’s nationality, the child will still not have a nationality. Children whose births have not been registered at the government office or embassy of their mother’s country are considered as stateless children.

ISSJ helps stateless children with the procedures to acquire a nationality. If the whereabouts of the parents are unknown, then we will examine what information is available, and try reporting the birth to the respective foreign government office located in Japan.

Family Reunion and Reunification

If the child is able to acquire a nationality, then the child will have the option to be reunited with birth family who lives in child’s original country.

ISSJ works with other ISS branches and The Republic of the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and request them to complete family social report in order to assess the family and relatives ability to welcome and care for the child. If the welfare department of the child’s original country assesses that the family could take care of the child, then the child may begin the process of returning to their home country.

Q&A Book for Stateless Children

Supported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in fiscal year 2020, ISSJ produced Q&A book for stateless children. Here is a link to the leaflet: English, Japanese, Thai, Tagalog, Nepali.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. It seems like this child who is in a children’s home is stateless. The mother’s whereabouts are unknown and she does not come to see the child. Is it possible for the child to receive a nationality?

We would need an identification of the mother. If we could obtain copy of passport and/or certificate of residence (Jyumin hyo) through the relevant embassy, we could trace her address in Japan. If we cannot find her whereabouts, we will request an interview with mother’s relatives in mother’s original country in order to prove that the mother is the actual mother of the child. We will make a report about the child’s background and history and turn it in to the embassy along with the report from the mother’s original country. This way, child’s birth could be registered.

Q. Do I get to know how the child is doing after they go back to their country?

ISS branches and other organizations conduct investigations on how the children are adapting. We will then report the results of the investigation to the person in charge of the child guidance center or caseworker at the children’s home.