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Can a non Japanese become a Japanese citizen?


In this article, we will explore the process of becoming a Japanese citizen as a non-Japanese individual. Japan is known for its strict immigration laws, making it difficult for foreigners to become citizens. However, it is still possible under certain conditions.

Eligibility requirements

Non-Japanese individuals who wish to become Japanese citizens must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having lived in Japan for at least five years, being at least 20 years old, having a stable income, and demonstrating a willingness to renounce their original citizenship.

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The naturalization process

The naturalization process is the legal procedure for becoming a Japanese citizen. It involves submitting an application to the Ministry of Justice, attending an interview, taking an exam on Japanese language proficiency and knowledge of Japanese society, and passing a criminal background check.

Dual citizenship

Japan does not allow dual citizenship, meaning that individuals who become Japanese citizens must relinquish their original citizenship. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as for individuals who are married to Japanese citizens or have special permission from the Japanese government.

Marrying a Japanese citizen

One way for non-Japanese individuals to become citizens is by marrying a Japanese citizen. In this case, the individual may be eligible for permanent residency status after living in Japan for three years and can apply for naturalization after one year of marriage.

Working in Japan

Another way to become a Japanese citizen is by working in Japan. Non-Japanese individuals who have been living and working in Japan for at least five years may be eligible for permanent residency status and can apply for naturalization after ten years of residency.

Special skills visa

Under Japan’s new visa system, individuals with special skills or talents may be eligible for a special skills visa. This visa allows them to work in Japan and may eventually lead to permanent residency status and citizenship.

Language proficiency

Language proficiency is an important factor in becoming a Japanese citizen. Individuals must pass an exam on Japanese language proficiency as part of the naturalization process. It is recommended that non-Japanese individuals begin studying Japanese early on in their residency in Japan.

Cultural assimilation

Assimilating into Japanese culture is also an important factor in becoming a citizen. Individuals must demonstrate knowledge and respect for Japanese customs, traditions, and values. This includes following social norms such as bowing and proper etiquette in public settings.

Benefits of becoming a Japanese citizen

Becoming a Japanese citizen comes with several benefits, such as the ability to vote and hold public office, access to greater job opportunities, and the ability to travel more freely within Japan without restrictions on visas or permits.

The challenges of becoming a Japanese citizen

The process of becoming a Japanese citizen can be challenging due to the strict eligibility requirements and lengthy naturalization process. Additionally, Japan has historically been known for its homogenous society, making it difficult for non-Japanese individuals to assimilate into the culture and gain acceptance from the general population.


In conclusion, becoming a Japanese citizen as a non-Japanese individual is possible but comes with several challenges. The eligibility requirements are strict, and the naturalization process can be lengthy and difficult. However, with dedication and effort towards learning the language and culture, individuals can successfully become citizens of Japan.

Can a foreigner become a citizen of Japan?

What are the requirements for becoming a naturalized citizen? According to Article 5 of the Japanese Nationality Act, the individual must have been living continuously in Japan for five years or longer and must have held a valid residency status for the entire duration.

Is it difficult to become a Japanese citizen?

Due to strict immigration policies and a low rate of acceptance for permanent residency or citizenship, Japan is considered a challenging country for foreigners. Foreigners can become Japanese citizens through naturalization or by marrying a Japanese citizen. This information was last updated on January 31st, 2023.

Can a U.S. citizen have a Japanese citizenship?

There are no laws in the United States that force citizens with dual nationality or those who acquire a second nationality at a young age to choose one nationality over the other when they reach adulthood. This was established by a court case called Mandoli v. Acheson in 1952.

Is it easy for a US citizen to move to Japan?

Moving to Japan is not a challenging task as long as you have completed all necessary preparations beforehand, such as collecting all required documents prior to boarding your flight to the country. This is in contrast to some other Asian countries where relocation can be more difficult.

Can I realistically move to Japan?

It is possible to relocate from the US to Japan, but you will need to apply for the appropriate visa based on your circumstances. You can do this at the nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate to your home.

Can a U.S. citizen live permanently in Japan?

Individuals who have lived in Japan for a significant period of time can apply for Japan Permanent Residency, which is beneficial for those wishing to call Japan their permanent home. It eliminates the need to go through various bureaucratic processes, making life easier in the long run.

Conclusion (continued)

It is important to note that becoming a Japanese citizen is not the only way to live and work in Japan. Non-Japanese individuals can still obtain long-term visas and work permits, allowing them to stay in Japan for extended periods without becoming citizens. It ultimately depends on the individual’s goals and plans for their future in Japan.

It is also worth considering the social and cultural implications of becoming a Japanese citizen. As a citizen, individuals are expected to follow Japanese customs and values, which may be different from their own cultural background. It is important to research and understand these cultural differences before deciding to become a citizen.

In recent years, Japan has made efforts to increase its international presence and welcome more foreign residents. This includes initiatives such as the special skills visa, which aims to attract more skilled workers from overseas. As Japan continues to open up to the world, the process of becoming a Japanese citizen may become more accessible to non-Japanese individuals.

Overall, becoming a Japanese citizen as a non-Japanese individual requires dedication, effort, and a willingness to assimilate into Japanese culture. While it may be a challenging process, it can also lead to new opportunities and experiences in one of the world’s most fascinating countries.

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