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Is it hard to get a Japanese citizenship?


Japan is a beautiful country known for its technological advancements, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. Many people aspire to live in Japan and experience its unique way of life. However, obtaining Japanese citizenship can be a challenging process. In this article, we will explore the requirements and procedures involved in acquiring Japanese citizenship.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for Japanese citizenship are stringent. Applicants must be at least 20 years old and have lived in Japan for at least five years. They must also have a clean criminal record and be willing to renounce their current citizenship. Additionally, applicants must be able to speak, read, and write Japanese fluently and have knowledge of Japanese culture.

Japanese Snack Box

Application Process

The application process for Japanese citizenship involves several steps. First, applicants must submit their application documents to the local government office. The documents include a birth certificate, passport, resident card, tax certificates, and a certificate of employment or school enrollment. After reviewing the application documents, the government will conduct an interview with the applicant.

Naturalization Exam

The naturalization exam is a critical aspect of the application process. It tests the applicant’s knowledge of Japanese language, history, and culture. The exam consists of two parts: a written test and an interview with a government official.

Renunciation of Existing Citizenship

One of the most challenging aspects of acquiring Japanese citizenship is the requirement to renounce existing citizenship. This means that applicants must give up their current nationality and become a citizen solely of Japan.

Lengthy Processing Time

The processing time for Japanese citizenship can be lengthy. It typically takes several months for the government to review the application documents and conduct the naturalization exam. Further delays may occur if additional documentation is required or if there are any issues with the application.

Difficulty in Obtaining Permanent Residency

Before applying for Japanese citizenship, many individuals obtain permanent residency status in Japan. However, obtaining permanent residency can also be difficult as it requires meeting specific eligibility criteria such as having lived in Japan for ten years or more.

Strict Immigration Laws

Japan has strict immigration laws that make it challenging for foreigners to obtain citizenship or permanent residency. The government prioritizes protecting its citizens’ interests over accommodating foreign residents’ needs.

Cultural Barriers

Cultural barriers can also make it difficult for foreigners to obtain Japanese citizenship. Japan has a unique culture that values conformity and social harmony. It can be challenging for foreigners to assimilate into this culture and meet the expectations of society.

Language Barrier

A significant barrier to obtaining Japanese citizenship is language proficiency. The government requires applicants to speak, read, and write Japanese fluently, which can be a challenge for non-native speakers.

Economic Barriers

Economic barriers can also make it difficult for foreigners to obtain Japanese citizenship. Japan is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in, making it challenging for non-Japanese residents to meet financial eligibility criteria.


In conclusion, obtaining Japanese citizenship is a challenging process involving strict eligibility criteria, lengthy processing times, and cultural barriers. However, with determination and perseverance, it is possible to fulfill this dream.

Can a foreigner become a Japanese citizen?

What are the requirements for becoming a naturalized citizen? According to Article 5 of the Japanese Nationality Act, the individual must have lived in Japan continuously for at least five years and held a valid residence status throughout that period.

How long does it take to get a Japanese citizenship?

In order to be eligible for Japanese citizenship, you need to have a permanent residence in Japan for at least five years without interruption.

How hard is Japanese citizenship?

Acquiring Japanese citizenship is relatively simple, as the necessary procedures are straightforward and only require a residency of five years (compared to the usual ten years for Permanent Residency applicants). While theoretically one must renounce their previous citizenship, this is not actually enforced.

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

The current law and policy in the United States do not mandate that individuals with dual nationality or those who acquire a second nationality at a young age must choose one nationality over the other once they reach adulthood. This is supported by a legal case, Mandoli v. Acheson, 344 U.S. 133 (1952).

Why Japan doesn t allow dual citizenship?

The Japanese government believes that permitting adults to hold dual nationality could create conflicts between countries and between the individual and the state with regard to rights and responsibilities.

Is Japanese passport powerful?

For five years in a row, Japan has been ranked as the country with the most powerful passport in the world. As of 2023, Japanese passport holders can visit 193 out of 227 destinations without needing a visa, which equates to 85% of the world’s countries. This data was gathered by Henley & Partners using information from the International Air Transport Association.

Benefits of Japanese Citizenship

Despite the challenges involved, there are many benefits to becoming a Japanese citizen. Japanese citizens have the right to vote and run for public office, which allows them to participate in shaping the country’s future. They also have access to various social and welfare services, including healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.

Another advantage of Japanese citizenship is the ability to travel on a Japanese passport. A Japanese passport is one of the most powerful passports globally, allowing visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 190 countries worldwide.

Furthermore, Japanese citizenship provides security and stability for individuals and their families. It eliminates the need for visa renewals and grants the right to live and work in Japan indefinitely.

Dual Citizenship

While Japan requires applicants to renounce their existing citizenship, some countries allow dual citizenship. Individuals who hold citizenship in a country that permits dual citizenship can retain their original nationality while obtaining Japanese citizenship.

It’s important to note that even if an individual’s home country allows dual citizenship, Japan does not recognize it. Therefore, individuals who wish to obtain Japanese citizenship must be willing to renounce their existing nationality fully.


Acquiring Japanese citizenship is a challenging process that requires determination, patience, and perseverance. The eligibility criteria are stringent, and there are many barriers that can make it difficult for foreigners to become citizens.

However, for those who are willing to meet the requirements and overcome the challenges, Japanese citizenship offers numerous benefits. It provides stability, security, and access to social services while allowing individuals to participate in shaping the country’s future.

Ultimately, whether or not one decides to pursue Japanese citizenship depends on their personal goals and aspirations. For those who dream of living and working in Japan long-term, obtaining citizenship may be a worthwhile investment.

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