Ambassador Manuel Lopez Extends Assistance to “Philippine Nikkei-Jin”

08 August 2014 – Philippine Ambassador Manuel M. Lopez offered his support and assistance to “Philippine Nikkei-jin” in their effort to gain recognition by the Japanese Government of their Japanese heritage being children of Filipino mothers and Japanese citizens who migrated to the Philippines before the Second World War.

Nikkei-jin is a Japanese term for Japanese emigrants and their descendants who have established families and communities in foreign lands. In the case of the Philippines, a number of Japanese migrated from the late 19th century to 1945, many of them marrying Filipinos and raising families. Those children and their descendants are called “Philippine Nikkei-jin”. After WWII, the children of Nikkei families became orphans or were left behind in the Philippines with their Filipino mothers.

Amb. Lopez met the six senior “Philippine Nikkei-jin” at the Embassy, namely, (left to right, first row, photo-above) Henry Sato and his elder brother Ramon Sato, Hideo Miyake, Felixberto Fujiwara, Josefina Yagi and Victoria Takeshige. They were flow to Japan along with their caregivers or children with the assistance of the Philippine Nikkei-jin Legal Support Center (PNLSC), a non-stock, non-profit organization. The PNLSC helps the Philippine Nikkei-jin reconnect with their heritage and identify as Japanese or Nikkei-jin by searching for and reuniting them with their fathers, if still alive, or their relatives in Japan as well as assisting them before administrative and judicial agencies of Japan to gain recognition of their family connections with Japanese parents or relatives. The PNLSC has the assistance of the Nippon Foundation in this humanitarian project.

Amb. Lopez offered the assistance of the Embassy for the “Philippine Nikkei-jin” to secure the appropriate travel documents so that they can fly to Japan to face the administrative and judicial agencies for recognition purposes. The six “Philippine Nikkei-jin” were using travel documents as they could not be issued Philippine passports in view of the unique legal circumstances of their birth and residence in the Philippines. The Ambassador suggested that the “Philippine Nikkei-jin”, through the assistance of the PNLSC, sign a petition seeking the assistance of the Philippines Government in establishing their Philippine citizenship having been born in the Philippines with Filipino mothers and Japanese fathers and have lived, worked and raised families in the Philippines.

Joining the Ambassador for the group photo at the Embassy lobby are (left to right, front row) Ms. Sunao Matsuoka, Project Coordinator, Program Development Team, International Program Department, Nippon Foundation; “Philippine Nikkei-jin” Mr. Fujiwara, Ms. Yagi, Ms. Takeshige, the Sato brothers; Consul General Joy Tirol-Ignacio, Mr. Norihiro Inomata, Secretary General, PNLSC; Mr. Gilberto Asuque, Deputy Chief of Mission; (second row, left to right) Ms. Hiroko Awano, Nippon Foundation, and Mr. Miyake.