PH Releases Guidelines on ‘Philippine Nikkei-Jin’

MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has unveiled new guidelines addressing the immigration requirements of Filipinos with Nikkei-Jin status under Japanese law.

In the order, the BI acknowledged that the Japanese government issues documents recognizing Philippine Nikkei-Jin as Japanese nationals.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that a Philippine Nikkei-Jin may depart from the Philippines with or without a Philippine passport.

Those who travel without a Philippine passport lose the presumption of being a Filipino for purposes of traveling outside the Philippines. In such cases, a Philippine Nikkei-Jin may travel abroad to and from Japan with a Japanese passport or travel document and a BI Order recognizing him as a Nikkei-Jin.

The order would allow the Philippine Nikkei-Jin to depart from the Philippines with deferment of payment of immigration fees.

Philippine Nikkei-Jin who likewise arrives without a Philippine passport should present the same order, otherwise applicable rules for foreign nationals will apply.

“If, however, the Philippine Nikkei-Jin has already renounced his Philippine citizenship, then he will be treated as a foreign national, subject to rules regulating aliens in the Philippines,” clarified Tansingco.

“The BI recognizes the needs of Filipinos who have the status of Nikkei-Jin under Japanese law,” said Tansingco. “They are Filipinos who are likewise descendants of Japanese nationals. Hence we see the importance of crafting specific guidelines in processing their immigration documents,” he added.

Nikkei-Jin refers to Japanese emigrants and their descendants who have left Japan and established their families in foreign countries.

Data from the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad reveals that over 3 million Nikkei-Jin currently reside in various adopted nations, with the largest communities being in Brazil, the USA, China, Canada, Peru, and the Philippines.

Last July 5, the Department of Justice issued Immigration Memorandum Circular No. 2023-004, unveiling new guidelines aimed at extending support to Japanese individuals who remained in the Philippines after World War II. Under these guidelines, fines and fees related to Japanese nationality for departures from and re-entries into the Philippines will be deferred for eligible individuals who lack Philippine passports provided they obtain prior certification from the BI, confirming their status as Philippine Nikkei-jin. - FJJ, PR