March 5, 2024

Abandoned and unrecognized Japanese-Filipino children in Baguio City will be assisted by a group of Japanese human rights lawyers to reunite them with their fathers and acquire citizenship.
The Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (Jalisa) initiated the Japan Family Reunification Project (JFRP) to provide legal assistance to migrants embroiled in various legal issues.
In a letter dated Jan. 21, JFRP coordinator Luisito Pongos informed the Office of the Mayor that the project was first envisioned to provide legal support to children in Japan who were born to Filipina mothers and Japanese fathers.
“As many of them were born out of wedlock, child recognition is important to secure residence status for the child and the mother. Child recognition, on the other hand, is an important procedure to secure citizenship for the child and Jalisa, through the JFRP, offers legal assistance to realize this,” Pongos said.
In a recent study by the Japan Bar Association, there are about 30,000 to almost 100,000 Japanese-Filipino children who remain unrecognized by their Japanese father.
“Many of these children are abandoned in the Philippines under the care of their Filipina mother and who are in dire need of help,” the JFRP said.
The JFRP is also lobbying to both the Japanese and Philippine governments to enact equitable policies that will recognize, respect, and promote the rights and welfare of Japanese- Filipino children and help raise awareness on the issue among the peoples of both countries.
“The struggles of Japanese-Filipino children are increasingly becoming critical as Japan embarks on stricter migration policies. A lot more work needs to be done, including lobby work to amend the Nationality Law of Japan in order to remove legal impediments to the exercise of the rights of Japanese-Filipino children to their cultural heritage, including their father’s nationality or freedom of movement in their father’s birthplace,” the group stated.
Jalisa lawyers will visit Baguio City on Feb. 7 to give free orientation and conduct interviews with Japanese-Filipino children and their legal guardians to determine how it may help the child secure paternal recognition and acquire Japanese citizenship.
Interviews are scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at 99 Finteo Skylands, Dr. Cariño St., Baguio City while a barangay orientation will be conducted at the multipurpose hall of the Baguio City Hall on the same date starting 1 p.m.
Legal assistance will include how to locate the whereabouts of the Japanese father through his last known address and coordinating with local municipal governments; negotiate on behalf of the child to seek paternal acknowledgment from the Japanese father; negotiate for child support; negotiate for child recognition, or take judicial action through Japan’s family courts; assist in securing Japanese nationality for the child below 20 years old, or residence status for children 20 years old and above; and provide welfare assistance to Japanese-Filipino children and parents who wish to live in Japan by coordinating with Filipino NGOs.
Inquiries may be sent through email: [email protected] or call +639-214-454-862. – Jessa Mardy Samidan