2018: The case of the Unregistered

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Quelle: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 16 | Issue 15 | Number 4 | Aug 01, 2018
http://apjjf.org/


Household Registration and Suffrage in Post World War II
Japan: The case of the Unregistered (Mukosekisha)
Hajime Akiyama

Abstract
This paper examines the suffrage rights of mukosekisha: Japanese who are not listed in a household registration (koseki). It explains that Japanese who are not listed in a household registration do not enjoy the right to vote unless they are recorded in a resident record (jūmin hyō), which differs from the household registration. Moreover, a provision in the Public Offices Election Act enacted soon after World War II may prevent some Japanese who are not listed in a household registration from exercising their right to vote even if they are recorded in a resident record. This out-dated provision should be amended to allow the right to vote of Japanese who are not listed in a household registration but are recorded in a resident record.


Introduction
All Japanese are expected to be listed in a household registration or koseki (戸籍) – an official document which legally identifies a person as being Japanese.1 In other words, a household registration establishes Japanese nationality. However, there are Japanese who are not listed in a household registration. As of March 2017, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has identified 1,305 Japanese nationals who are not listed in a household registration.2 They are called mukosekisha (無戸籍者). Ido, who has long supported Japanese who are not listed in a household registration, estimates that some 10,000 Japanese are not listed in a household registration.3 In many cases, Japanese who are not listed in a household registration are also not recorded in a resident record (jūmin hyō, 住民票), which identifies their place of residence and allows them to access social services.4 Since the household registration is often a basis of theresident record,5 registration in the household registration is significant not only to legally identify a person as Japanese, but also to secure access to social services.6 Japanese nationals who are not listed in a household registration face difficulties in daily life, such as obtaining health insurance and registering a marriage. ....


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