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I am just over the age of 22 and taking a 1 week trip to Japan.

I have different surnames on my Australian and Japanese passports like so:

Mary Jane Smith

Mary(Jane) Suzuki(Smith)

and I have bought my plane tickets under my Australian name (Mary Smith).

What would you advise is the best way for me to enter and leave Japan, as being a dual national is technically illegal? I have heard to show both passports at the airline's check-in counter and then the passport for the country I'm in at immigration/customs but I'm not sure if this advice still applies if my surname is different. Does the immigration counter in Japan need to take a look at my plane ticket?

  • FYI, for a Japanese citizen to enter Japan on a non-Japanese passport is also technically illegal. – fkraiem Nov 13 '17 at 6:06
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    @fkraiem Would you mind providing reference for your comment? – KH.Lee Nov 13 '17 at 6:55
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I would just use the Australian passport. Australians don't need a visa to visit Japan for up to 90 days, so there is no need to show multiple passports anywhere in the process.

Source: my children are dual Australian/Japanese citizens (legally, since they're still underage) and have entered Japan using an Australian passport.

  • I am not familiar with Japanese nationality law. Since OP is already 22 (being an adult), any chances OP might lose one of the nationality / citizenship if the Japanese government find out about the dual nationality? Ref: moj.go.jp/ENGLISH/information/tcon-01.html – KH.Lee Nov 13 '17 at 3:10
  • Japan does not permit dual nationality, so yes, losing Japanese citizenship is theoretically possible. In practice, though, Japan does not seem to enforce this very strictly, and I'm not aware of any cases of anybody involuntarily losing Japanese citizenship due to this. – lambshaanxy Nov 13 '17 at 5:05
  • -1 for condoning illegal behaviour, if only "technically" illegal. – fkraiem Nov 13 '17 at 6:11
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    @fkraiem It's not a crime (there are no punishments), it's just not possible to be a dual citizen. Put another way, would it be illegal if I advised an intersex person to mark "male" on their landing card, because Japan doesn't legally recognise genders other than male/female? – lambshaanxy Nov 13 '17 at 8:45
  • There was one news article that said that Japan had never actually enforced the dual citizenship rule and stripped a person of their Japanese citizenship but a lot of anecdotal comments in forums seem to suggest otherwise (making a person choose a citizenship on the spot at the airport or at embassies) which I found a bit worrying. – user70237 Nov 14 '17 at 7:38
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To avoid any troubles on this trip, you should enter Japan using your Australian passport.

Now, regarding being a dual national is technically illegal, and your comment to the other post:

There was one news article that said that Japan had never actually enforced the dual citizenship rule and stripped a person of their Japanese citizenship but a lot of anecdotal comments in forums seem to suggest otherwise (making a person choose a citizenship on the spot at the airport or at embassies) which I found a bit worrying.

If you were born to Australian-Japanese parents (which I think you were), you must choose either nationality before reaching 22 (in "choose" I mean to report to the authorities, and in either case you must report to the authorities). Since Japan does not permit the dual nationality, if you choose Australian citizenship, or more correctly, if you don't renounce your Australian citizenship by reporting to the authorities, the Japanese government might treat you as having renounced Japanese nationality.

In that case it is possible that your Japanese passport gets deprived, because it implies you are having the Japanese passport illegally. (but don't get afraid; this is extremely rare.)

That being said, the law is pretty lax and exists just for the sake of bureaucracy. This year the head of the opposing party was found to have the dual nationality (i.e. she didn't report to the authorities which nationality to choose) but she didn't get arrested nor even fined. She eventually renounced her Chinese nationality, though. (And she keeps being a politician, even though Japan does not allow any foreign citizen to become a politician).

For more information, check out the following pages:

  • Hm, she was a Republic of China (not People's Republic of China) national, but Japan does not recognize the ROC, so technically she is not a dual national as far as Japanese law is concerned... Same for North Koreans in Japan, they are often considered stateless persons by Japanese authorities (because Japan does not recognize the DPRK). – xuq01 May 18 '18 at 4:37

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