Is a child born in Japan automatically Japanese?

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Under the citizenship by parentage system, as long as one of the child’s parents is Japanese, the baby is entitled to receive Japanese citizenship.  The birth of the baby must be registered with the local government office or, if overseas, at the Japanese embassy or consulate.  However, simply being born in Japan is not enough for a baby without Japanese parents to acquire Japanese citizenship.

There are two major systems that countries use to grant citizenship to newborn babies.  The first is called “jus sanguinis” (citizenship by parentage) and under this system babies will be granted the citizenship of one or both of their parents.  The second system is called “jus soli” (citizenship by place of birth) and under this system a baby will be granted citizenship for the country of its birth.  Japan follows the citizenship by parentage system exclusively and only babies born to one or more Japanese parents will receive Japanese citizenship.  Only a few countries, including the United States, follow the citizenship by place of birth system.

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