Awesome citizenship story from an Asahi reporter (translated from page 11 of the Asahi Shimbun April 10 morning edition):
[Correspondent’s Notebook] Sao Paolo, Brazil: A Dubious Fine
I paid a fine the other day.
The reason? It was my duty as a Brazilian.
I was born in Brazil due to my father’s job, but after returning to Japan at age 1 I was raised as a Japanese and never doubted otherwise.
All that changed when the decision was made to dispatch me to Sao Paolo. I headed to the Consulate General Brazil of Brazil in Tokyo to apply for a visa, but they refused to issue one, telling me, “You are a Brazilian.” They said I had no standing to get a visa as visas can only be issued to foreigners.
Brazil is a jus solis country, meaning that you automatically receive citizenship if you are born there. Well I never… Slightly confused, I accepted the green Brazilian passport and headed to my post.
In Sao Paolo, I tried to get my ID card and was told I needed to register to vote. On top of that, since I had neglected to register at age 18, they ordered me to pay a fine. Voting is mandatory in Brazil.
Though I retorted, “Until recently I was a Japanese living in Japan,” the official was ready with a comeback: “Just the other day, a native came in here and insisted, ‘I was living in the jungle until now, so I had no idea about registering to vote.’ But rules are rules!”
Not totally satisfied with the explanation, I gave up and paid the fine of 3.5 real (160 yen or USD $1.60).
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