Japan leaves children of migrant families with dire choices

More than 500 children whose parents are seeking asylum in the country are waiting to see whether they will be able to continue their lives as equal members of Japanese society.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Gursewak Singh at his home in Matsudo, Japan. His family are seeking visas to live and work legally in Japan.

More than 500 children in Japan have been born and raised there with no legal rights. Teenager Gurwesak Singh is one of them.

Singh is in limbo while his parents' application for asylum is being reviewed. Meanwhile, he cannot attend a public school, work, travel, or obtain health insurance.

The issue is Japan's strict immigration rules. Blood, not birthright, determines citizenship. To become a Japanese citizen, at least one parent must be a Japanese national.

Immigration officials previously wanted Singh and his parents to leave the country.

“Immigration authorities are telling us to go back to our parents' home country. But I have never been to India. It is not like going back to your hometown in the countryside. The immigration authorities must be kidding themselves,” the young man told TRT World.

Now the immigration authority want his parents to return home, leaving their son in Japan.  

TRT World's Mayu Yoshida has the story.


TRTWorld and agencies