Japan’s ban on dual nationality is less toothless than it used to be, as the government finds creative ways to keep people from maintaining multiple passports. Terrie Lloyd‘s e-mail newsletter this week quotes an unidentified source who says:
It seems that if you are Japanese and you renew your Japanese passport at your local US consulate, when you go to pick it up you are asked to show your green card or other residency documentation which allows you to be in the US. If you cannot produce this documentation, and you wouldn’t be able to if you held a US passport, they won’t hand over your new Japanese passport. Apparently this is how they are now catching dual citizens living abroad.
To avoid this, I could renew my passport in Tokyo, but if I do, I have to show them my juminhyo. That means I have to re-establish residency and live back in Japan for a few months — which of course is difficult to do when one has a career to fulfill.
Note that this particular procedure only affects people living outside Japan. Dealing with Japanese nationals resident in Japan while retaining a foreign passport is still much trickier to visualize, although with the new fingerprinting and photographing systems, anything is possible…