What are the requirements to become a Japanese citizen?

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There are several ways for a foreign national to become a Japanese citizen but one of the most common methods is listed in the Japanese Nationality Act and is composed of six requirements.

First, the foreign national must have continuously lived in Japan for five years or more. Second, he or she must be over 20 years old and possess the capacity to act independently under the laws of his or her country. Third, the foreign national must have good moral character. Fourth, the foreign national must be able to support his or her lifestyle in Japan, either through employment or support from a relative. Fifth, the foreign national must give up his or her original nationality upon receiving Japanese nationality. Finally, the foreign national must never have plotted to overthrow the Japanese government.

In addition to meeting these six requirements, the foreign national will be subject to an interview and a simple Japanese test. The test is designed to determine whether the foreign national has the simple language skills to survive in Japan and only requires the reading and writing ability of a second or third grade elementary student in Japan.

While this process may seem easy and straightforward, there are further unwritten rules that play an important part in whether an application is accepted or rejected. If you have any questions about becoming a Japanese citizen, please contact our office for a legal consultation.