Treaties concerning statelessness

The growth pains of the "right to a nationality" movement

By William Wetherall

First posted 15 September 2007
Last updated 22 June 2014


1930 Protocol Relating to a Certain Case of Statelessness
1930 Special Protocol Concerning Statelessness
1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
Other right-to-nationality measures 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights | 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child | 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights | 1979 International Year of the Child | 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child | On statelessness versus dual nationality
Related article Statelessness in Japan
Related article Rees v. State, 1992-1995


1930 Protocol Relating to a Certain Case of Statelessness

When it signed the 1930 Hague Convention on Nationality (see Dual nationality treaties), Japan signed this protocol on statelessness, apparently with no reservations.

In fact, the provisions of this protocol were precisely in accord with Japan's 1899 Nationality Law.

1930 Protocol   (Article 1)
In a State whose nationality is not conferred by the mere fact of birth in its territory, a person born in its territory of a mother possessing the nationality of that State and of a father without nationality or of unknown nationality shall have the nationality of the said State.

1899 Nationality Law   (Article 3)
When the mother is Japanese, in the event the father is not known or [in] the event [he] does not possess a nationality, the child will be a Japanese.

Japan never ratified this treaty, which continues to be effective under the United Nations. Nor did Japan sign the other protocol on statelessness (see below).

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1930 Protocol Relating to a Certain Case of Statelessness
Nationality of child of national mother married to stateless father

Sources

The following text is a reformated version of the text retrieved from the Refworld database on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Dates of participation, reservations, and some other details concerning party states have been omitted.

The Japanese title is based on わが国が未批准の国際条約一覧 (2003年7月現在) [Wagakuni ga mihijun no kokusai jōyaku ichiran (2003 nen 7 gatsu genzai)] [List of international treaties not ratified by our country (As of July 2003)] posted by the National Diet Library.

Signing and enforcement

The protocol was signed on 12 April 1930.

The protocol entered into force on 1 July 1937 (Articles 9 and 10).

Status of signatory states

The following information concerning the status of signatory states is as of 30 June 1999.

Actions between 1931 and 1937
when the convention was an instrument of
the League of Nations

Ratifications or definitive accessions

Brazil, Great Britain and Northern Ireland and all parts of the British Empire which are not separate Members of the League of Nations, Burma, Australia, Union of South Africa India, Chile, China, The Netherlands, Poland, Salvador

Signatures not yet perfected by ratification

Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay

Actions between 1953 and 1998
after the assumption of depositary functions by
the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Accession or succession

Cyprus, Fiji, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Niger, Pakistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe

PROTOCOL RELATING TO A CERTAIN CASE OF STATELESSNESS

無国籍のある場合に関する議定書

THE UNDERSIGNED PLENIPOTENTIARIES, on behalf of their respective Governments,

With a view to preventing statelessness arising in certain circumstances,

HAVE AGREED as follows:

Article 1

In a State whose nationality is not conferred by the mere fact of birth in its territory, a person born in its territory of a mother possessing the nationality of that State and of a father without nationality or of unknown nationality shall have the nationality of the said State.

Article 2

The High Contracting Parties agree to apply the principles and rules contained in the preceding Article in their relations with each other, as from the date of the entry into force of the present Protocol.

The inclusion of the abovementioned principles and rules in the said Article shall in no way be deemed to prejudice the question whether they do or do not already form part of international law.

It is understood that, in so far as any point is not covered by any of the provisions of the preceding Article, the existing principles and rules of international law shall remain in force.

Article 3

Nothing in the present Protocol shall affect the provisions of any treaty, convention or agreement in force between any of the High Contracting Parties relating to nationality or matters connected therewith.

Article 4

Any High Contracting Party may, when signing or ratifying the present Protocol or acceding thereto, append an express reservation excluding any one or more of the provisions of Articles 1 and 5.

The provisions thus excluded cannot be applied against the High Contracting Party who has made the reservation nor relied on by that Party against any other High Contracting Party.

Article 5

If there should arise between the High Contracting Parties a dispute of any kind relating to the interpretation or application of the present Protocol and if such dispute cannot be satisfactorily settled by diplomacy, it shall be settled in accordance with any applicable agreements in force between the Parties providing for the settlement of international disputes.

In case there is no such agreement in force between the Parties, the dispute shall be referred to arbitration or judicial settlement, in accordance with the constitutional procedure of each of the Parties to the dispute. In the absence of agreement on the choice of another tribunal, the dispute shall be referred to the Permanent Court of International Justice, if all the Parties to the dispute are Parties to the Protocol of 16 December 1920, relating to the Statute of that Court, and if any of the Parties to the dispute is not a Party to the Protocol of 16 December 1920, the dispute shall be referred to an arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with the Hague Convention of 18 October 1907, for the Pacific Settlement of International Conflicts.

Article 6

The present Protocol shall remain open until 31 December 1930 for signature on behalf of any Member of the League of Nations or of any non-Member State invited to the First Codification Conference or to which the Council of the League of Nations has communicated a copy of the Protocol for this purpose.

Article 7

The present Protocol is subject to ratification. Ratifications shall be deposited with the Secretariat of the League of Nations.

The Secretary-General shall give notice of the deposit of each ratification to the Members of the League of Nations and to the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6, indicating the date of its deposit.

Article 8

As from 1 January 1931, any Member of the League of Nations and any non-Member State mentioned in Article 6 on whose behalf the Protocol has not been signed before the date, may accede thereto.

Accession shall be effected by an instrument deposited with the Secretariat of the League of Nations. The Secretary-General of the League of Nations shall give notice of each accession to the Members of the League of Nations and to the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6, indicating the date of the deposit of the instrument.

Article 9

A proces-verbal shall be drawn up by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations as soon as ratifications or accessions on behalf of ten Members of the League of Nations or non-Member States have been deposited.

A certified copy of this proces-verbal shall be sent by the Secretary-General to each Member of the League of Nations and to each non-Member State mentioned in Article 6.

Article 10

The present Protocol shall enter into force on the 90th day after the date of the proces-verbal mentioned in Article 9 as regards all Members of the League of Nations or non-Member States on whose behalf ratifications or accessions have been deposited on the date of the proces-verbal.3

As regards any Member of the League or non-Member State on whose behalf a ratification or accession is subsequently deposited, the Protocol shall enter into force on the 90th day after the date of the deposit of a ratification or accession on its behalf.

Article 11

As from 1 January 1936, any Member of the League of Nations or any non-Member State in regard to which the present Protocol is then in force, may address to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations a request for the revision of any or all of the provisions of this Protocol. If such a request, after being communicated to the other Members of the League and non-Member States in regard to which the Protocol is then in force, is supported within one year by at least nine of them, the Council of the League of Nations shall decide, after consultation with the Members of the League of Nations and the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6, whether a conference should be specially convoked for that purpose or whether such revision should be considered at the next conference for the codification of international law.

The High Contracting Parties agree that, if the present Protocol is revised, the new Agreement may provide that upon its entry into force some or all of the provisions of the present Protocol shall be abrogated in respect of all of the Parties to the present Protocol.

Article 12

The present Protocol may be denounced.

Denunciation shall be effected by a notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, who shall inform all Members of the League of Nations and the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6.

Each denunciation shall take effect one year after the receipt by the Secretary-General of the notification but only as regards the Member of the League or non-Member State on whose behalf it has been notified.

Article 13

1. Any High Contracting Party may, at the time of signature, ratification or accession, declare that, in accepting the present Protocol, he does not assume any obligations in respect of all or any of his colonies, protectorates, overseas territories or territories under suzerainty or mandate, or in respect of certain parts of the population of the said territories; and the present Protocol shall not apply to any territories or to the parts of their population named in such declaration.

2. Any High Contracting Party may give notice to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations at any time subsequently that he desires that the Protocol shall apply to all or any of his territories or to the parts of their population which have been made the subject of a declaration under the preceding paragraph, and the Protocol shall apply to all the territories or the parts of their population named in such notice six months after its receipt by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations.

3. Any High Contracting Party may, at any time, declare that he desires that the present Protocol shall cease to apply to all or any of his colonies, protectorates, overseas territories or territories under suzerainty or mandate, or in respect of certain parts of the population of the said territories, and the Protocol shall cease to apply to the territories or to the parts of their population named in such declaration one year after its receipt by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations.

4. Any High Contracting Party may make the reservations provided for in Article 4 in respect of all or any of his colonies, protectorates, overseas territories or territories under suzerainty or mandate, or in respect of certain parts of the population of these territories, at the time of signature, ratification or accession to the Protocol or at the time of making a notification under the second paragraph of this Article.

5. The Secretary-General of the League of Nations shall communicate to all the Members of the League of Nations and the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6 all declarations and notices received in virtue of this Article.

Article 14

The present Protocol shall be registered by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations as soon as it has entered into force.

Article 15

The French and English texts of the present Protocol shall both be authoritative.

IN FAITH WHEREOF the Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Protocol.

DONE at The Hague on the twelfth day of April, one thousand nine hundred and thirty, in a single copy, which shall be deposited in the archives of the Secretariat of the League of Nations and of which certified true copies shall be transmitted by the Secretary-General to all the Members of the League of Nations and all the non-Member States invited to the First Conference for the Codification of International Law.

Belgium
Great Britain and Northern Ireland and all parts of the British Empire which are not separate Members of the League of Nations
Canada
Australia
Union of South Africa
Irish Free State
Chile
China
Colombia
Cuba
Denmark
Free City of Danzig
Egypt
Spain
Estonia
France
Greece
Japan: MUSHAKOJI
Latvia
Luxemburg
Mexico
The Netherlands
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Czechoslovakia
Uruguay

[ Names of other plenipotentiaries omitted. ]

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1930 Special Protocol Concerning Statelessness

This protocol has yet to fly and most likely will never fly. Japan didn't sign it, and most other states also ignored it.

It gathered only eight "ratifications or definitive accessions" under the League of Nationals and has gained only four "successions" under the United Nations.

It could come into force ninety days after it receives ten ratifications or accessions -- but it is virtually dead, in view of the 1961 convention (see below).

1930 Special Protocol Concerning Statelessness
"Relation of stateless person to State of nationality last possessed"

Sources

The following text is a reformated version of the text retrieved from the Refworld database on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Dates of participation, reservations, and some other details concerning party states have been omitted.

The Japanese title is based on わが国が未批准の国際条約一覧 (2003年7月現在) [Wagakuni ga mihijun no kokusai jōyaku ichiran (2003 nen 7 gatsu genzai)] [List of international treaties not ratified by our country (As of July 2003)] posted by the National Diet Library.

Signing and enforcement

The protocol was signed on 12 April 1930.

The protocol is not yet in force (Articles 9 and 10).

Status of signatory states

The following information concerning the status of signatory states is as of 30 June 1999.

Actions between 1931 and 1939
when the convention was an instrument of
the League of Nations

Ratifications or definitive accessions

Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Australia, Union of South Africa, India, China, Salvador

Signatures not yet perfected by ratification

Austria, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay

Actions between 1953 and 1998
after the assumption of depositary functions by
the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Succession

China, Fiji, Pakistan, Zimbabwe

SPECIAL PROTOCOL CONCERNING STATELESSNESS

無国籍に関する特別議定書

THE UNDERSIGNED PLENIPOTENTIARIES, on behalf of their respective Governments,

With a view to determining certain relations of stateless persons to the State whose nationality they last possessed,

HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

Article 1

If a person, after entering a foreign country, loses his nationality without acquiring another nationality, the State whose nationality he last possessed is bound to admit him, at the request of the State in whose territory he is:

(i) if he is permanently indigent either as a result of an incurable disease or for any other reason; or

(ii) if he has been sentenced, in the State where he is, to not less than one month’s imprisonment and has either served his sentence or obtained total or partial remission thereof.

In the first case the State whose nationality such person last possessed may refuse to receive him, if it undertakes to meet the cost of relief in the country where he is as from the thirtieth day from the date on which the request was made. In the second case the cost of sending him back shall be borne by the country making the request.

Article 2

The High Contracting Parties agree to apply the principles and rules contained in the preceding article in their relations with each other, as from the date of the entry into force of the present Protocol.

The inclusion of the above-mentioned principles and rules in the said article shall in no way be deemed to prejudice the question whether they do or do not already form part of international law.

It is understood that, in so for as any point is not covered by any of the provisions of the preceding article, the existing principles and rules of international law shall remain in force.

Article 3

Nothing in the present Protocol shall affect the provisions of any treaty, convention or agreement in force between any of the High Contracting Parties relating to nationality or matters connected therewith.

Article 4

Any High Contracting Party may, when signing or ratifying the present Protocol or acceding thereto, append an express reservation excluding any one or more of the provisions of Articles 1 and 5.

The provisions thus excluded cannot be applied against the High Contracting Party who has made the reservation nor relied on by that Party against any other High Contracting Party.

Article 5

If there should arise between the High Contracting Parties a dispute of any kind relating to the interpretation or application of the present Protocol and if such dispute cannot be satisfactorily settled by diplomacy, it shall be settled in accordance with any applicable agreements in force between the Parties providing for the settlement of international disputes.

In case there is no such agreement in force between the Parties, the dispute shall be referred to arbitration or judicial settlement, in accordance with the constitutional procedure of each of the Parties to the dispute. In the absence of agreement on the choice of another tribunal, the dispute shall be referred to the Permanent Court of International Justice, if all the Parties to the dispute are Parties to the Protocol of the 16th December, 1920, relating to the Statute of that Court, and if any of the Parties to the dispute is not a Party to the Protocol of the 16th December, 1920, the dispute shall be referred to an arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with the Hague Convention of the 18th October, 1907, for the Pacific Settlement of International Conflicts.

Article 6

The present Protocol shall remain open until the 31st December, 1930, for signature on behalf of any Member of the League of Nations or of any non-Member State invited to the First Codification Conference or to which the Council of the League of Nations has communicated a copy of the Protocol for this purpose.

Article 7

The present Protocol is subject to ratification. Ratifications shall be deposited with the Secretariat of the League of Nations.

The Secretary-General shall give notice of the deposit of each ratification to the Members of the League of Nations and to the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6, indicating the date of its deposit.

Article 8

As from January 1st, 1931, any Member of the League of Nations and any non-Member State mentioned in Article 6 on whose behalf the Protocol has not been signed before that date, may accede thereto.

Accession shall be effected by an instrument deposited with the Secretariat of the League of Nations. The Secretary-General of the League of Nations shall give notice of each accession to the Members of the League of Nations and to the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6, indicating the date of the deposit of the instrument.

Article 9

A proces-verbal shall be drawn up by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations as soon as ratifications or accessions on behalf of ten Members of the League of Nations or non-Member States have been deposited.

A certified copy of this proces-verbal shall be sent by the Secretary-General to each Member of the League of Nations and to each non-Member State mentioned in Article 6.

Article 10

The present Protocol shall enter into force on the 90th day after the date of the proces-verbal mentioned in Article 9 as regards all Members of the League of Nations or non-Member States on whose behalf ratifications or accessions have been deposited on the date of the proces-verbal.

As regards any Member of the League or non-Member State on whose behalf a ratification or accession is subsequently deposited, the Protocol shall enter into force on the 90th day after the date of the deposit of a ratification or accession on its behalf.

Article 11

As from January 1st, 1936, any Member of the League of Nations or any non-Member State in regard to which the present Protocol is then in force, may address to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations a request for the revision of any or all of the provisions of this Protocol. If such a request, after being communicated to the other Members of the League and non-Member States in regard to which the Protocol is then in force, is supported within one year by at least nine of them, the Council of the League of Nations shall decide, after consultation with the members of the League of Nations and the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6, whether a conference should be specially convoked for that purpose or whether such revision should be considered at the next conference for the codification of international law.

The High Contracting parties agree that, if the present Protocol is revised, the new Agreement may provide that upon its entry into force some or all of the provisions of the present Protocol shall be abrogated in respect of all of the Parties to the present Protocol.

Article 12

The present Protocol may be denounced.

Denunciation shall be effected by a notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, who shall inform all Members of the League of Nations and the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6.

Each denunciation shall take effect one year after the receipt by the Secretary-General of the notification but only as regards the Member of the League or non-Member State on whose behalf it has been notified.

Article 13

1. Any High Contracting Party may, at the time of signature, ratification or accession, declare that, in accepting the present Protocol, he does not assume any obligations in respect of all or any of his colonies, protectorates, overseas territories or territories under suzerainty or mandate, or in respect of certain parts of the population of the said territories; and the present Protocol shall not apply to any territories or to the parts of their population named in such declaration.

2. Any High Contracting Party may give notice to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations at any time subsequently that he desires that the Protocol shall apply to all or any of his territories or to the parts of their population which have been made the subject of a declaration under the preceding paragraph, and the Protocol shall apply to all the territories or the parts of their population named in such notice six months after its receipt by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations.

3. Any High Contracting Party may, at any time, declare that he desires that the present Protocol shall cease to apply to all or any of his colonies, protectorates, overseas territories or territories under suzerainty or mandate, or in respect of certain parts of the population of the said territories, and the Protocol shall cease to apply to the territories or to the parts of their population named in such declaration one year after its receipt by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations.

4. Any High Contracting Party may make the reservations provided for in Article 4 in respect of all or any of his colonies, protectorates, overseas territories or territories under suzerainty or mandate, or in respect of certain parts of the population of these territories, at the time of signature, ratification or accession to the Protocol or at the time of making a notification under the second paragraph of this article.

5. The Secretary-General of the League of Nations shall communicate to all the Members of the League of Nations and the non-Member States mentioned in Article 6 all declarations and notices received in virtue of this article.

Article 14

The present Protocol shall be registered by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations as soon as it has entered into force.

Article 15

The French and English texts of the present Protocol shall both be authoritative.

IN FAITH WHEREOF the Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Protocol.

DONE at The Hague on the twelfth day of April, one thousand nine hundred and thirty, in a single copy, which shall be deposited in the archives of the Secretariat of the League of Nations and of which certified true copies shall be transmitted by the Secretary-General to all the Members of the League of Nations and all the non-Member States invited to the First Conference for the Codification of International Law.

AUSTRIA
LEITMAIER
BELGIUM
GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND and all parts of the British Empire which are not separate Members of the League of Nations.
CANADA
UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA

[ Signatures of plenipotentiaries omitted. ]

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1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons

This convention on stateless persons, the first to be adopted by the United Nations, got off the ground, but fewer than half of the world's states are aboard, and most major states have chosen not to fly with it.

1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
Personal status governed by law of country of one's domicile,
or by law of country of residence if one has no domicile

"Stateless persons" defined as de jure stateless aliens

Sources

The following text is a reformated version of the text retrieved from the website of L'Association Européenne pour la defénse des Droits de l'Homme (European Association for the Defense of Human Right) (AEDH). Dates of participation, reservations, and some other details concerning party states have been omitted.

Pretext

The United Nations promulgated the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees on 28 July 1951, but it did not address the status of stateless persons, nor did it include measures to reduce if not eliminate statelessness. To redress this problem, the United Nations convened a Conference on the Status of Stateless Persons in September 1954.

Signing and enforcement

The conference culminated in the signing of the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons on 28 September 1954.

The convention entered into force on 6 June 1960 (Article 39).

Status of signatory states

As of this writing (2014), some 23 states have signed the convention, and 80 have become parties to it. Most states -- few major states -- have become signatories or parties to the convention. In Asia and the Pacific, only Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Korea, and the Philippines have joined it. In the Americas, only Barbados, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago have signed it, or acceded or succeeded to it.

Commentary

Boxed comments are mine.

CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF STATELESS PERSONS

Adopted 28 September 1954
Effective 6 June 1960

PREAMBLE

The High Contracting Parties,

Considering that the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations have affirmed the principle that human beings shall enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms without discrimination,

Considering that the United Nations has, on v arious occasions, manifested its profound concern for stateless persons and endeavoured to assure stateless persons the widest possible exercise of these fundamental rights and freedoms,

Considering that only those stateless persons who are also refugees are covered by the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 and that there are many stateless persons who are not covered by that Convention,

Considering that it is desirable to regulate and improve the status of stateless persons by an international agreement,

Have agreed as follows:


Chapter I -- GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1
Definition of the term "Stateless Person".

1. For the purpose of this Convention, the term "stateless person" means a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.

De jure statelessness

The convention defines what is essentially a de jure stateless alien, who has no nationality in the regard of any state -- as opposed to a de facto stateless alien, who either (1) has a nationality not recognized by the state in which the person is living or wishes or needs to enter, or (2) has a nationality not fully effective in the eyes of the state that governs it. See Statelessness for examples of both kinds of statelessness.

Though Japan is not a party to this convention, its definition of "stateless person" would exclude -- and properly so -- the following kinds of residents of Japan, who are not categorically (legally) stateless in Japan's eyes.

Nationals of the Republic of China (ROC)1972-present
Until 1972, Japan recognized ROC as a state, hence ROC's nationality existed in its eyes, and ROC passport holders were treated accordingly as the nationals of a recognized state. In 1949, when the People's Republic of China (PRC) was founded and insisted that it and not ROC was China, Japan continued to recognize ROC rather than PRC as China. Then in 1972 it switched its recognition from ROC to PRC, and since then it has recognized PRC passports and treated PRC passport holders as aliens with a recognized nationality. Japan has had only one "China" classification in its nationality breakdowns immigration and resident alien statistics, though data shows territorial breakdowns within the "China" category, which now includes Hong Kong and Macao. In other words, though Japan does not recognize ROC nationality, it recognizes that ROC passport holders have a nationality, and hence they are not de jure stateless.

Citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
Japan has never recognized DPRK, which regards people who possess its nationality as "citizens" rather than "nationals". Hence Japan does not recognize DPRK nationality, and treats DPRK passport holders as affiliates of an unrecognized entity. Some people from DPRK have been given short-term visas for business or cultural purposes, and a few have been admitted to Japan and permitted to stay for humanitarian reasons. As they have a nationality, they are not categoricall (de jure) stateless, but immigration and resident alien statistics conflate them with nationals of the Republic of Korea (ROK), which Japan has recognized since 1965.

Affiliates of Chōsen1952-present
Chosenese residents of Japan are former nationals of Japan, or their lineal Japan-born descendants, whose status in Japan is associated with the former Japanese territory of Chōsen, as the Empire of Japan renamed the peninsula when it annexed the Empire of Korea in 1910. In 1945, under the terms of its surrender in World War II, Japan provisionally lost its control and jurisdiction over Chōsen (Korea), which was occupied by the Soviet Union in the north and the United States in the south. And in 1948 the Chōsen (Korean) peninsula was claimed by two new states, the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the south (South Korea) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north (North Korea).

Japan formally abandoned its sovereignty over Korea (Chōsen) in the San Francisco Peace Treaty, effective from 28 April 1952. On this day, on account of the territorial separation of Chōsen from Japan's sovereign dominion, Chosenese everywhere lost their Japanese nationality in Japan's eyes and reverted to the "Korean" nationality they would have been had there been a single "Korean" successor state. Koreans in Japan remained simply "Chosenese" until 1965, when Japan recognized ROK, and recognized Chosenese who had been recognized by ROK as ROK nationals. Other Chosenese, including those who considered themselves DPRK affiliates, remained simply "Chosenese" in Japan's eyes -- i.e., affiliates of the former territory of Chōsen.

Over the decades, practically all Chosenese have migrated to ROK nationality, Only a few thousand of the original Chosenese population in Japan and its Japan-born descendants remain Chosenese. Like most ROK nationals in Japan, most Chosenese are Special Permant Residents (SPR) whose status is based on the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Some, however, are general aliens.

After Chosenese lost their Japanese status in 1952, and until 1965, Japan classified all Chosenese aliens as affiliates of 朝鮮 (Chōsen) or "Korea" regardless of personal political orientations, which have no legal significance. Since 1965, the "Korea" classification has been 韓国・朝鮮 (Kankoku·Chōsen) or "ROK and Chōsen (Korea)", sometimes 韓国・北朝鮮 (Kankoku·Kita Chōsen) or "ROK and North Chōsen (North Korea).

Many writers have called Chosenese residents of Japan "stateless" -- but note that, under the above definition, they would not qualify as "stateless persons" because DPRK tends to view all Chosenese in Japan -- regardless of whether their primary domicile is defined by a household register in ROK or DPRK -- as eligible for possession of its nationality. More importantly, though, under its own domestic laws, Japan has never treated them as categorically (i.e., de jure) 無国勢 (mukokuseki) or "stateless". They have always been treated as affiliates of the "Korea" which "Chōsen" reverted to being after World War II. While most of the few thousand Chosenese in Japan today seem to be politically oriented toward DPRK, some appear to be holding out hope for a united Korea, and a few appear to feel that they should have been given a choice of remaining Japanese after 1952.

Some Chosenese in Japan have managed to acquire a DPRK passport from a DPRK legation in another country, but Japan does not recognize their passport, and their status of residence in Japan continues to be based on the history of their continuous residence in Japan's prefectures before the end of World War II, or their settlement in Japan during the confusion of postwar migration between the Korean peninsula and Occupied Japan. Japan differentiates them from the few resident aliens who originated in DPRK, but who it admitted into the country and permitted to stay for humanitarian reasons. These bona fide DPRK migrants are also subsummed in Japan's general "Korean" cohort -- which thus includes three "kinds" of Koreans -- Chōsen Koreans (some), ROK Koreans (practically all), and DPRK Koreans (very few).

2. This Convention shall not apply:

(i) To persons who are at present receiving from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees protection or assistance so long as they are receiving such protection or assistance;

(ii) To persons who are recognized by the competent authorities of the country in which they have taken residence as having the rights and obligations which are attached to the possession of the nationality of that country;

(iii) To persons with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that:

(a) They have committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provisions in respect of such crimes;

(b) They have committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of their residence prior to their admission to that country;

(c) They have been guilty of acts contrary to the purpose and principles of the United Nations.

Article 2
General obligations

Every stateless person has duties to the country in which he finds himself, which require in particular that he conform to its laws and regulations as well as to measures taken for the maintenance of public order.

Article 3
Non-discrimination

The Contracting States shall apply the provisions of this Convention to stateless persons without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin.

Article 4
Religion

The Contracting States shall accord to stateless persons within their territories treatment at least as favourable as that accorded to their nationals with respect to freedom to practise their religion and freedom as regards the religious education of their children.

Article 5
Rights granted apart from this Convention

Nothing in this Convention shall be deemed to impair any rights and benefits granted by a Contracting State to stateless persons apart from this Convention.

Article 6
The term "in the same circumstances"

For the purpose of this Convention, the term "in the same circumstances" implies that any requirements (including requirements as to length and conditions of sojourn or residence) which the particular individual would have to fulfil for the enjoyment of the right in question, if he were not a stateless person, must be fulfilled by him, with the exception of requirements which by their nature a stateless person is incapable of fulfilling.

Article 7
Exemption from reciprocity

1. Except where this Convention contains more favourable provisions, a Contracting State shall accord to stateless persons the same treatment as is accorded to aliens generally.

2. After a period of three years' residence, all stateless persons shall enjoy exemption from legislative reciprocity in the territory of the Contracting States.

3. Each Contracting State shall continue to accord to stateless persons the rights and benefits to which they were already entitled, in the absence of reciprocity, at the date of entry into force of this Convention for that State.

4. The Contracting States shall consider favourably the possibility of according to stateless persons, in the absence of reciprocity, rights and benefits beyond those to which they are entitled according to paragraphs 2 and 3, and to extending exemption from reciprocity to stateless persons who do not fulfil the conditions provided for in paragraphs 2 and 3.

5. The provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3 apply both to the rights and benefits referred to in articles 13, 18, 19, 21 and 22 of this Convention and to rights and benefits for which this Convention does not provide.

Article 8
Exemption from exceptional measures

With regard to exceptional measures which may be taken against the person, property or interests of nationals or former nationals of a foreign State, the Contracting States shall not apply such measures to a stateless person solely on account of his having previously possessed the nationality of the foreign State in question. Contracting States which, under their legislation, are prevented from applying the general principle expressed in this article shall, in appropriate cases, grant exemptions in favour of such stateless persons.

Article 9
Provisional measures

Nothing in this Convention shall prevent a Contracting State, in time of war or other grave and exceptional circumstances, from taking provisionally measures which it considers to be essential to the national security in the case of a particular person, pending a determination by the Contracting State that that person is in fact a stateless person and that the continuance of such measures is necessary in this case in the interests of national security.

Article 10
Continuity of residence

1. Where a stateless person has been forcibly displaced during the Second World War and removed to the territory of a Contracting State, and is resident there, the period of such enforced sojourn shall be considered to have been lawful residence within that territory.

2. Where a stateless person has been forcibly displaced during the Second World War from the territory of a Contracting State and has, prior to the date of entry into force of this Convention, returned there for the purpose of taking up residence, the period of residence before and after such enforced displacement shall be regarded as one uninterrupted period for any purposes for which uninterrupted residence is required.

Article 11
Stateless seamen

In the case of stateless persons regularly serving as crew members on board a ship flying the flag of a Contracting State, that State shall give sympathetic consideration to their establishment in its territory and the issue of travel documents to them or their temporary admission to its territory particularly with a view to facilitating their establishment in another country.


Chapter II -- JURIDICAL STATUS

Article 12
Personal status

1. The personal status of a stateless person shall be governed by the law of the country of his domicile or, if he has no domicile, by the law of the country of his residence.

2. Rights previously acquired by a stateless person and dependent on personal status, more particularly rights attaching to marriage, shall be respected by a Contracting State, subject to compliance, if this be necessary, with the formalities required by the law of that State, provided that the right in question is one which would have been recognized by the law of that State had he not become stateless.

Article 13
Movable and immovable property

The Contracting States shall accord to a stateless person treatment as favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances, as regards the acquisition of movable and immovable property and other rights pertaining thereto, and to leases and other contracts relating to movable and immovable property.

Article 14
Artistic rights and industrial property

In respect of the protection of industrial property, such as inventions, designs or models, trade marks, trade names, and of rights in literary, artistic and scientific works, a stateless person shall be accorded in the country in which he has his habitual residence the same protection as is accorded to nationals of that country. In the territory of any other Contracting State, he shall be accorded the same protection as is accorded in that territory to nationals of the country in which he has his habitual residence.

Article 15
Right of association

As regards non-political and non-profit-making associations and trade unions the Contracting States shall accord to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory treatment as favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances.

Article 16
Access to Courts

1. A stateless person shall have free access to the Courts of Law on the territory of all Contracting States.

2. A stateless person shall enjoy in the Contracting State in which he has his habitual residence the same treatment as a national in matters pertaining to access to the Courts, including legal assistance and exemption from caution judicatum solvi.

3. A stateless person shall be accorded in the matters referred to in paragraph 2 in countries other than that in which he has his habitual residence the treatment granted to a national of the country of his habitual residence.


Chapter III -- GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT

Article 17
Wage-earning employment

1. The Contracting States shall accord to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory treatment as favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances, as regards the right to engage in wage-earning employment.

2. The Contracting States shall give sympathetic consideration to assimilating the rights of all stateless persons with regard to wage-earning employment to those of nationals, and in particular of those stateless persons who have entered their territory pursuant to programmes of labour recruitment or under immigration schemes.

Article 18
Self-employment

The Contracting States shall accord to a stateless person lawfully in their territory treatment as favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances, as regards the right to engage on his own account in agriculture, in industry, handicrafts and commerce and to establish commercial and industrial companies.

Article 19
Liberal professions

Each Contracting State shall accord to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory who hold diplomas recognized by the competent authorities of that State, and who are desirous of practising a liberal profession, treatment as favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances.


Chapter IV -- WELFARE

Article 20
Rationing

Where a rationing system exists, which applies to the population at large and regulates the general distribution of products in short supply, stateless persons shall be accorded the same treatment as nationals.

Article 21
Housing

As regards housing, the Contracting States, in so far as the matter is regulated by laws or regulations or is subject to the control of public authorities, shall accord to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory treatment as favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances.

Article 22
Public education

1. The Contracting States shall accord to stateless persons the same treatment as is accorded to nationals with respect to elementary education.

2. The Contracting States shall accord to stateless persons treatment as favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances, with respect to education other than elementary education and, in particular, as regards access to studies, the recognition of foreign school certificates, diplomas and degrees, the remission of fees and charges and the award of scholarships.

Article 23
Public relief

The Contracting States shall accord to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory the same treatment with respect to public relief and assistance as is accorded to their nationals.

Article 24
Labour legislation and social security

1. The Contracting States shall accord to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory the same treatment as is accorded to nationals in respect of the following matters:

(a) In so far as such matters are governed by laws or regulations or are subject to the control of administrative authorities: remuneration, including family allowances where these form part of remuneration, hours of work, overtime arrangements, holidays with pay, restrictions on home work, minimum age of employment, apprenticeship and training, women's work and the work of young persons, and the enjoyment of benefits of collective bargaining;

(b) Social security (legal provisions in respect of employment, injury, occupational diseases, maternity, sickness, disability, old age, death, unemployment, family responsibilities and any other contingency which, according to national laws or regulations, is covered by a social security scheme), subject to the following limitations:

(i) There may be appropriate arrangements for the maintenance of acquired rights and rights in course of acquisition;

(ii) National laws or regulations of the country of residence may prescribe special arrangements concerning benefits or portions of benefits which are payable wholly out of public funds, and concerning allowances paid to persons who do not fulfil the contribution conditions prescribed for the award of a normal pension.

2. The right to compensation for the death of a stateless person resulting from employment injury or from occupational disease shall not be affected by the fact that the residence of the beneficiary is outside the territory of the Contracting State.

3. The Contracting States shall extend to stateless persons the benefits of agreements concluded between them, or which may be concluded between them in the future, concerning the maintenance of acquired rights and rights in the process of acquisition in regard to social security, subject only to the conditions which apply to nationals of the States signatory to the agreements in question.

4. The Contracting States will give sympathetic consideration in extending to stateless persons so far as possible the benefits of similar agreements which may at any time be in force between such Contracting States and non-contracting States.


Chapter V -- ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES

Article 25
Administrative assistance

1. When the exercise of a right by a stateless person would normally require the assistance of authorities of a foreign country to whom he cannot have recourse, the Contracting State in whose territory he is residing shall arrange that such assistance be afforded to him by their own authorities.

2. The authority or authorities mentioned in paragraph 1 shall deliver or cause to be delivered under their supervision to stateless persons such documents or certifications as would normally be delivered to aliens by or through their national authorities.

3. Documents or certifications so delivered shall stand in the stead of the official instruments delivered to aliens by or through their national authorities, and shall be given credence in the absence of proof to the contrary.

4. Subject to such exceptional treatment as may be granted to indigent persons, fees may be charged for the services mentioned herein, but such fees shall be moderate and commensurate with those charged to nationals for similar services.

5. The provisions of this article shall be without prejudice to articles 27 and 28.

Article 26
Freedom of movement

Each Contracting State shall accord to stateless persons lawfully in its territory the right to choose their place of residence and to move freely within its territory, subject to any regulations applicable to aliens generally in the same circumstances.

Article 27
Identity papers

The Contracting States shall issue identity papers to any stateless person in their territory who does not possess a valid travel document.

Article 28
Travel documents

The Contracting States shall issue to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory travel documents for the purpose of travel outside their territory, unless compelling reasons of national security or public order otherwise require, and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such documents. The Contracting States may issue such a travel document to any other stateless person in their territory; they shall in particular give sympathetic consideration to the issue of such a travel document to stateless persons in their territory who are unable to obtain a travel document from the country of their lawful residence.

Article 29
Fiscal charges

1. The Contracting States shall not impose upon stateless persons duties, charges or taxes, of any description whatsoever, other or higher than those which are or may be levied on their nationals in similar situations.

2. Nothing in the above paragraph shall prevent the application to stateless persons of the laws and regulations concerning charges in respect of the issue to aliens of administrative documents including identity papers.

Article 30
Transfer of assets

1. A Contracting State shall, in conformity with its laws and regulations, permit stateless persons to transfer assets which they have brought into its territory, to another country where they have been admitted for the purpose of resettlement.

2. A Contracting State shall give sympathetic consideration to the application of stateless persons for permission to transfer assets wherever they may be and which are necessary for their resettlement in another country to which they have been admitted.

Article 31
Expulsion

1. The Contracting States shall not expel a stateless person lawfully staying in their territory save on grounds of national security or public order.

2. The expulsion of such a stateless person shall be only in pursuance of a decision reached in accordance with due process of law. Except where compelling reasons of national security otherwise require, the stateless person shall be allowed to submit evidence to clear himself, and to appeal to and be represented for the purpose before competent authority or a person or persons specially designated by the competent authority.

3. The Contracting States shall allow such a stateless person a reasonable period within which to seek legal admission into another country. The Contracting States reserve the right to apply during that period such internal measures as they may deem necessary.

Article 32
Naturalization

The Contracting States shall as far as possible facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of stateless persons. They shall in particular make every effort to expedite naturalization proceedings and to reduce as far as possible the charges and costs of such proceedings.


Chapter VI -- FINAL CLAUSES

Article 33
Information on national legislation

The Contracting States shall communicate to the Secretary-General of the United Nations the laws and regulations which they may adopt to ensure the application of this Convention.

Article 34
Settlement of disputes

Any dispute between parties to this Convention relating to its interpretation or application, which cannot be settled by other means, shall be referred to the International Court of Justice at the request of any one of the parties to the dispute.

Article 35
Signature, ratification and accession

1. This Convention shall be open for signature at the Headquarters of the United Nations until 31 December 1955.

2. It shall be open for signature on behalf of:

(a) Any State member of the United Nations;

(b) Any other State invited to attend the United Nations Conference on the Status of Stateless Persons; and

(c) Any State to which an invitation to sign or to accede may be addressed by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

3. It shall be ratified and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

4. It shall be open for accession by the States referred to in paragraph 2 of this article. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 36
Territorial application clause

1. Any State may, at the time of signature, ratification or accession, declare that this Convention shall extend to all or any of the territories for the international relations of which it is responsible. Such a declaration shall take effect when the Convention enters into force for the State concerned.

2. At any time thereafter any such extension shall be made by notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and shall take effect as from the ninetieth day after the day of receipt by the Secretary-General of the United Nations of this notification, or as from the date of entry into force of the Convention for the State concerned, whichever is the later.

3. With respect to those territories to which this Convention is not extended at the time of signature, ratification or accession, each State concerned shall consider the possibility of taking the necessary steps in order to extend the application of this Convention to such territories, subject, where necessary for constitutional reasons, to the consent of the Governments of such territories.

Article 37
Federal clause

In the case of a Federal or non-unitary State, the following provisions shall apply:

(a) With respect to those articles of this Convention that come within the legislative jurisdiction of the federal legislative authority, the obligations of the Federal Government shall to this extent be the same as those of Parties which are not Federal States.

(b) With respect to those articles of this Convention that come within the legislative jurisdiction of constituent States, provinces or cantons which are not, under the constitutional system of the Federation, bound to take legislative action, the Federal Government shall bring such articles with a favourable recommendation to the notice of the appropriate authorities of states, provinces or cantons at the earliest possible moment.

(c) A Federal State Party to this Convention shall, at the request of any other Contracting State transmitted through the Secretary-General of the United Nations, supply a statement of the law and practice of the Federation and its constituent units in regard to any particular provision of the Convention showing the extent to which effect has been given to that provision by legislative or other action.

Article 38
Reservations

1. At the time of signature, ratification or accession, any State may make reservations to articles of the Convention other than to articles 1, 3, 4, 16 (1) and 33 to 42 inclusive.

2. Any State making a reservation in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article may at any time withdraw the reservation by a communication to that effect addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 39
Entry into force

1. This Convention shall come into force on the ninetieth day following the day of deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification or accession.

2. For each State ratifying or acceding to the Convention after the deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification or accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day following the date of deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification or accession.

Article 40
Denunciation

1. Any Contracting State may denounce this Convention at any time by a notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2. Such denunciation shall take effect for the Contracting State concerned one year from the date upon which it is received by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

3. Any State which has made a declaration or notification under article 36 may, at any time thereafter, by a notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, declare that the Convention shall cease to extend to such territory one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.

Article 41
Revision

1. Any Contracting State may request revision of this Convention at any time by a notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2. The General Assembly of the United Nations shall recommend the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such request.

Article 42
Notifications by the Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all Members of the United Nations and nonmember States referred to in article 35:

(a) Of signatures, ratifications and accessions in accordance with article 35;

(b) Of declarations and notifications in accordance with article 36;

(c) Of reservations and withdrawals in accordance with article 38;

(d) Of the date on which this Convention will come into force in accordance with article 39;

(e) Of denunciations and notifications in accordance with article 40;

(f) Of requests for revision in accordance with article 41.


IN FAITH WHEREOF the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed this Convention on behalf of their respective Governments.

DONE at New York, this twenty-eighth day of September, one thousand nine hundred and fifty-four, in a single copy, of which the English, French and Spanish texts are equally authentic and which shall remain deposited in the archives of the United Nations, and certified true copies of which shall be delivered to all Members of the United Nations and to the non-member States referred to in article 35.

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1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness

Japan does not participate in this convention.

The convention was adopted at the second United Nations Conference on the Elimination of Reduction of Future Statelessness, convened in New York in 1961. The first conference was held in Geneva 1959 persuant to a 1954 General Assembly reolution related to statelessness.

The convention has remained relatively unpopular. Barely one-fourth of the world's states -- and few major states -- have joined it. It took 14 years -- 1961-1975 -- for the convention to muster the very nominal number of participants it needed to come into force. It took several years just to convene the conferences to reconsider the future of what had begun, in 1954, as a protocol to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (see above).

In a world dominated by states with laws that favor those with at least one nationality, being stateless can be a huge disadvantage. At the same time, the conference of plenipotentiaries, which met in 1959 and reconvened in 1961 "in pursuance of resolution 896 (IX), adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 4 December 1954", appears to have taken more pride in increasing the complexity of nationality law than in reducing statelessness.

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1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
All children born otherwise stateless in a state should be
a national either by operation of the law or upon application

Sources

The following text is a reformated version of the text retrieved from the Refworld database on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Dates of participation, reservations, and some other details concerning party states have been omitted.

The Japanese title is based on わが国が未批准の国際条約一覧 (2003年7月現在) [Wagakuni ga mihijun no kokusai jōyaku ichiran (2003 nen 7 gatsu genzai)] [List of international treaties not ratified by our country (As of July 2003)] posted by the National Diet Library.

Adoption and enforcement

Adopted on 30 August 1961 by a conference of plenipotentiaries which met in 1959 and reconvened in 1961 in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 896 (IX) of 4 December 1954.

Entry into force 13 December 1975, in accordance with Article 18 status of ratifications, reservations and declarations.

Status of signatory states

As of 2014, only 5 states have signed, and only 53 other states have acceded or succeeded to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Only a few major states have joined the treaty, which continues attract relatively little attention.

Commentary

Boxed comments are mine.

CONVENTION ON THE REDUCTION OF STATELESSNESS

無国籍の減少に関する条約

The Contracting States,

Acting in pursuance of resolution 896 (IX), adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 4 December 1954,

Considering it desirable to reduce statelessness by international agreement,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1

1. A Contracting State shall grant its nationality to a person born in its territory who would otherwise be stateless. Such nationality shall be granted:

(a) At birth, by operation of law, or

(b) Upon an application being lodged with the appropriate authority, by or on behalf of the person concerned, in the manner prescribed by the national law. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 of this article, no such application may be rejected. A Contracting State which provides for the grant of its nationality in accordance with subparagraph (b) of this paragraph may also provide for the grant of its nationality by operation of law at such age and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by the national law.

With regard to paragraph (a) of Article 1 -- Japan's Nationality Law, since its formal start in 1899, has provided that a child born in Japan, if unqualified for Japanese nationality through jus sanguinis (right of blood), can acquire Japanese nationality at time of time through jus soli (right of soil) if both of its parents are unknown (the child is a foundling), or if both of its parents are stateless (neither parent has a nationality). Japan does not "grant" or "permit" the acquisition of Japanese nationality at time of birth, but "recognizes" a child's right to be Japanese through an "operation of law" procedure it calls "notification". Registrars vet notifications, but the law obliges them to "recognize" nationality if the notification is in order with respect to particulars that satisfy the conditions stipulated in the Nationality Law. They do not have the authority to "grant" or "permit" nationality.

With regard to paragraph (b) of Article 1 -- Japan recognizes both birth in Japan and continuous residence in Japan, and lack nationality, as causes for mitigating conditions for naturalization later in life. Naturalization, though, is not a "notification" (operation of law) procedure but an "application" proceedure which seeks the discretionary "permission" of the Minister of Justice, who is empowered to "grant" or "not grant" permission. The National Diet has the authority to grant permission in certain cases that exceed the Justice Minister's discretionary authority. Regional Legal Affairs Bureau officials interview prospective applicants to determine whether a person is qualified to apply, in terms of the particular conditions that apply to the applicant, and then vet the application, which they may reject if shows that the applicant is not qualified. The application is then reviwed by Ministry of Justice. MOJ may reject the application if finds something amiss, but regional officials know their jobs, and there are few rejections.

2. A Contracting State may make the grant of its nationality in accordance with subparagraph (b) of paragraph I of this article subject to one or more of the following conditions:

(a) That the application is lodged during a period, fixed by the Contracting State, beginning not later than at the age of eighteen years and ending not earlier than at the age of twenty-one years, so, however, that the person concerned shall be allowed at least one year during which he may himself make the application without having to obtain legal authorization to do so;

(b) That the person concerned has habitually resided in the territory of the Contracting State for such period as may be fixed by that State, not exceeding five years immediately preceding the lodging of the application nor ten years in all;

(c) That the person concerned has neither been convicted of an offence against national security nor has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of five years or more on a criminal charge;

(d) That the person concerned has always been stateless.

3. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs I (b) and 2 of this article, a child born in wedlock in the territory of a Contracting State, whose mother has the nationality of that State, shall acquire at birth that nationality if it otherwise would be stateless.

Japan's 1899 Nationality Law, and its 1950 Nationality Law until 1985, provided for matrilineal jus sanguinis nationality in the case of Japanese woman married to a (de jure) stateless alien regardless of where the child was born. The materilineal provision did not apply to a child born in wedlock if its alien father was not stateless but the child did not qualify for patrilineal nationality. Rarely, but occasionally, a child of a Japanese woman married to such an alien became stateless (see, for xample, Shapiro v. Japan in Sugiyama v. State on this website.

Since 1985, Japan's Nationality Law has been ambilineal, regardless of the Japanese parents marital status, hence in principle no child of a Japanese national who notifies the child's birth (and also acknowledges the child) in a timely manner at the time of the child's birth should become stateless. However, failure to notify and/or recognize may result in statelessness.

4. A Contracting State shall grant its nationality to a person who would otherwise be stateless and who is unable to acquire the nationality of the Contracting State in whose territory he was born because he has passed the age for lodging his application or has not fulfilled the required residence conditions, if the nationality of one of his parents at the time of the person's birth was that of the Contracting State first above-mentioned. If his parents did not possess the same nationality at the time of his birth, the question whether the nationality of the person concerned should follow that of the father or that of the mother shall be determined by the national law of such Contracting State. If application for such nationality is required, the application shall be made to the appropriate authority by or on behalf of the applicant in the manner prescribed by the national law. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 5 of this article, such application shall not be refused.

5. The Contracting State may make the grant of its nationality in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 4 of this article subject to one or more of the following conditions:

(a) That the application is lodged before the applicant reaches an age, being not less than twenty-three years, fixed by the Contracting State;

(b) That the person concerned has habitually resided in the territory of the Contracting State for such period immediately preceding the lodging of the application, not exceeding three years, as may be fixed by that State;

(c) That the person concerned has always been stateless.

Article 2

A foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be considered to have been born within that territory of parents possessing the nationality of that State.

Article 3

For the purpose of determining the obligations of Contracting States under this Convention, birth on a ship or in an aircraft shall be deemed to have taken place in the territory of the State whose flag the ship flies or in the territory of the State in which the aircraft is registered, as the case may be.

Article 4

1. A Contracting State shall grant its nationality to a person, not born in the territory of a Contracting State, who would otherwise be stateless, if the nationality of one of his parents at the time of the person's birth was that of that State. If his parents did not possess the same nationality at the time of his birth, the question whether the nationality of the person concerned should follow that of the father or that of the mother shall be determined by the national law of such Contracting State. Nationality granted in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph shall be granted:

(a) At birth, by operation of law, or

(b) Upon an application being lodged with the appropriate authority, by or on behalf of the person concerned, in the manner prescribed by the national law. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 of this article, no such application may be rejected.

2. A Contracting State may make the grant of its nationality in accordance with the provisions of paragraph I of this article subject to one or more of the following conditions:

(a) That the application is lodged before the applicant reaches an age, being not less than twenty-three years, fixed by the Contracting State;

(b) That the person concerned has habitually resided in the territory of the Contracting State for such period immediately preceding the lodging of the application, not exceeding three years, as may be fixed by that State;

(c) That the person concerned has not been convicted of an offence against national security;

(d) That the person concerned has always been stateless.

Article 5

1. If the law of a Contracting State entails loss of nationality as a consequence of any change in the personal status of a person such as marriage, termination of marriage, legitimation, recognition or adoption, such loss shall be conditional upon possession or acquisition of another nationality.

2. If, under the law of a Contracting State, a child born out of wedlock loses the nationality of that State in consequence of a recognition of affiliation, he shall be given an opportunity to recover that nationality by written application to the appropriate authority, and the conditions governing such application shall not be more rigorous than those laid down in paragraph 2 of article I of this Convention.

Article 6

If the law of a Contracting State provides for loss of its nationality by a person' s spouse or children as a consequence of that person losing or being deprived of that nationality, such loss shall be conditional upon their possession or acquisition of another nationality.

Article 7

1. (a) If the law of a Contracting State entails loss or renunciation of nationality, such renunciation shall not result in loss of nationality unless the person concerned possesses or acquires another nationality;

(b) The provisions of subparagraph (a) of this paragraph shall not apply where their application would be inconsistent with the principles stated in articles 13 and 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

2. A national of a Contracting State who seeks naturalization in a foreign country shall not lose his nationality unless he acquires or has been accorded assurance of acquiring the nationality of that foreign country.

3. Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 4 and 5 of this article, a national of a Contracting State shall not lose his nationality, so as to become stateless, on the ground of departure, residence abroad, failure to register or on any similar ground.

4. A naturalized person may lose his nationality on account of residence abroad for a period, not less than seven consecutive years, specified by the law of the Contracting State concerned if he fails to declare to the appropriate authority his intention to retain his nationality.

5. In the case of a national of a Contracting State, born outside its territory, the law of that State may make the retention of its nationality after the expiry of one year from his attaining his majority conditional upon residence at that time in the territory of the State or registration with the appropriate authority.

6. Except in the circumstances mentioned in this article, a person shall not lose the nationality of a Contracting State, if such loss would render him stateless, notwithstanding that such loss is not expressly prohibited by any other provision of this Convention.

Article 8

1. A Contracting State shall not deprive a person of his nationality if such deprivation would render him stateless.

Many people have criticized Japan for regarding Chosenese and Taiwanese as having lost its nationality as a result of its loss of Korea (Cōsen) and Formosa (Taiwan) under the terms of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Objections are strongest in the case of Chosenese (Koreans), who many critics claim became stateless as a result of losing their Japanese nationality without having a choice between remaining Japanese to becoming a national of the Republic of Korea (ROK) if not a citizen of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Unlike Taiwan, which reverted to China, namely ROC, an established state which Japan had recognized before the Pacific War, Chōsen reverted to a state which no longer existed. In other words, Chōsen became a stateless territory, or rather a territory claimed by Korean states -- ROK and DPRK -- which had been at war since 1950, and still at war in 1952. Both Koreas claimed to be the rightful successor state of Chōsen and its people, meaning those in Chōsen population registers, i.e., Chosenese.

By the time Taiwanese lost their Japanese status in 1952, ROC had already enrolled most Taiwanse in its nationality. And the treaty Japan and ROC signed in 1952 recoginzed ROC's right to determine their nationality.

Unlike Japan and ROC, however, Japan and ROK failed to reach an agreement regarding Chōsen; by 1952 -- not that it would have mattered to Chosenese in Japan. ROK and DPRK were still at war, and while practically all Chosenese in Japan were from provinces in the parts of Chōsen under ROK's control and jurisdiction, half or more of them supported DPRK.

In any event, Japan did not regard Chosenese who lost its nationality as having become stateless, and has never classified them as stateless. They may be regarded as de facto stateless in the sense that their presumed nationality -- as nationals of Chōsen, a stateless national entity -- has yet to be resolved as either ROK or DPRK nationality. For certain their loss of Japanese nationality left their status in limbo, and an argument can be made that Japan should have unilaterally offered Chosenese and Taiwanese a choice of keeping its nationality in 1952 -- even though most would probably have opted to relinquish (separate from) their Japanese status and become aliens in Japan.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article, a person may be deprived of the nationality of a Contracting State:

(a) In the circumstances in which, under paragraphs 4 and 5 of article 7, it is permissible that a person should lose his nationality;

(b) Where the nationality has been obtained by misrepresentation or fraud.

3. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph I of this article, a Contracting State may retain the right to deprive a person of his nationality, if at the time of signature, ratification or accession it specifies its retention of such right on one or more of the following grounds, being grounds existing in its national law at that time:

(a) That, inconsistently with his duty of loyalty to the Contracting State, the person:

(i) Has, in disregard of an express prohibition by the Contracting State rendered or continued to render services to, or received or continued to receive emoluments from, another State, or

(ii) Has conducted himself in a manner seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the State;

(b) That the person has taken an oath, or made a formal declaration, of allegiance to another State, or given definite evidence of his determination to repudiate his allegiance to the Contracting State.

4. A Contracting State shall not exercise a power of deprivation permitted by paragraphs 2 or 3 of this article except in accordance with law, which shall provide for the person concerned the right to a fair hearing by a court or other independent body.

Article 9

A Contracting State may not deprive any person or group of persons of their nationality on racial, ethnic, religious or political grounds.

Article 10

1. Every treaty between Contracting States providing for the transfer of territory shall include provisions designed to secure that no person shall become stateless as a result of the transfer. A Contracting State shall use its best endeavours to secure that any such treaty made by it with a State which is not a Party to this Convention includes such provisions.

2. In the absence of such provisions a Contracting State to which territory is transferred or which otherwise acquires territory shall confer its nationality on such persons as would otherwise become stateless as a result of the transfer or acquisition.

Article 11

The Contracting States shall promote the establishment within the framework of the United Nations, as soon as may be after the deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification or accession, of a body to which a person claiming the benefit of this Convention may apply for the examination of his claim and for assistance in presenting it to the appropriate authority.

Article 12

1. In relation to a Contracting State which does not, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph I of article I or of article 4 of this Convention, grant its nationality at birth by operation of law, the provisions of paragraph I of article I or of article 4, as the case may be, shall apply to persons born before as well as to persons born after the entry into force of this Convention.

2. The provisions of paragraph 4 of article I of this Convention shall apply to persons born before as well as to persons born after its entry into force.

3. The provisions of article 2 of this Convention shall apply only to foundlings found in the territory of a Contracting State after the entry into force of the Convention for that State.

Article 13

This Convention shall not be construed as affecting any provisions more conducive to the reduction of statelessness which may be contained in the law of any Contracting State now or hereafter in force, or may be contained in any other convention, treaty or agreement now or hereafter in force between two or more Contracting States.

Article 14

Any dispute between Contracting States concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention which cannot be settled by other means shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice at the request of any one of the parties to the dispute.

Article 15

1. This Convention shall apply to all non-self-governing, trust, colonial and other non-metropolitan territories for the international relations of which any Contracting State is responsible; the Contracting State concerned shall, subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 of this article, at the time of signature, ratification or accession, declare the non-metropolitan territory or territories to which the Convention shall apply ipso facto as a result of such signature, ratification or accession.

2. In any case in which, for the purpose of nationality, a non-metropolitan territory is not treated as one with the metropolitan territory, or in any case in which the previous con sent of a non-metropolitan territory is required by the constitutional laws or practices of the Contracting State or of the non-metropolitan territory for the application of the Convention to that territory, that Contracting State shall endeavour to secure the needed consent of the non-metropolitan territory within the period of twelve months from the date of signature of the Convention by that Contracting State, and when such consent has been obtained the Contracting State shall notify the Secretary General of the United Nations. This Convention shall apply to the territory or territories named in such notification from the date of its receipt by the Secretary-General.

3. After the expiry of the twelve-month period mentioned in paragraph 2 of this article, the Contracting States concerned shall inform the Secretary-General of the results of the consultations with those non-metropolitan territories for whose international relations they are responsible and whose consent to the application of this Convention may have been withheld.

Article 16

1. This Convention shall be open for signature at the Headquarters of the United Nations from 30 August 1961 to 31 May 1962.

2. This Convention shall be open for signature on behalf of:

(a) Any State Member of the United Nations;

(b) Any other State invited to attend the United Nations Conference on the Elimination or Reduction of Future Statelessness;

(c) Any State to which an invitation to sign or to accede may be addressed by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

3. This Convention shall be ratified and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

4. This Convention shall be open for accession by the States referred to in paragraph 2 of this article. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 17

1. At the time of signature, ratification or accession any State may make a reservation in respect of articles 11, 14 or 15.

2. No other reservations to this Convention shall be admissible.

Article 18

1. This Convention shall enter into force two years after the date of the deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification or accession.

2. For each State ratifying or acceding to this Convention after the deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification or accession, it shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification or accession or on the date on which this Convention enters into force in accordance with the provisions of paragraph I of this article, whichever is the later.

Article 19

1. Any Contracting State may denounce this Convention at any time by a written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Such denunciation shall take effect for the Contracting State concerned one year after the date of its receipt by the Secretary-General.

2. In cases where, in accordance with the provisions of article 15, this Convention has become applicable to a non-metropolitan territory of a Contracting State, that State may at any time thereafter, with the consent of the territory concerned, give notice to the Secretary-General of the United-Nations denouncing this Convention separately in respect to that territory. The denunciation shall take effect one year after the date of the receipt of such notice by the Secretary-General, who shall notify all other Contracting States of such notice and the date of receipt thereof.

Article 20

1. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall notify all Members of the United Nations and the non-member States referred to in article 16 of the following particulars:

(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under article 16;

(b) Reservations under article 17;

(c) The date upon which this Convention enters into force in pursuance of article 18;

(d) Denunciations under article 19.

2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall, after the deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification or accession at the latest, bring to the attention of the General Assembly the question of the establishment, in accordance with article 11, of such a body as therein mentioned.

Article 21

This Convention shall be registered by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the date of its entry into force.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this Convention.

DONE at New York, this thirtieth day of August, one thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, in a single copy, of which the Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic and which shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations, and certified copies of which shall be delivered by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to all members of the United Nations and to the non-member States referred to in article 16 of this Convention.

[ Names of signatory states and their plenipotentiaries omitted. ]

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Post-World War II right-to-nationality measures

Statelessness occurs in individuals who find themselves ineligible for the nationality of any state, usually at the time of their birth, but occasionally later in life. Most nationality laws attempt to minimize if not eliminate the occurence of statelessness, especially at time of birth, and particularly within their own borders. But only fairly recently have more states begun to take seriously the so-called "right to a nationality" as stipulated in Article 15 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on 16 December 1949 (boxed comments mine).

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1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

The United Nations adopted the 30-article Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948. The declaration became the springboard for all manner of UN conventions and protocols that aim to redress infringements on so-called human rights, including the right to a nationality, the subject of Article 15.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 15

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

Does everyone also have right to not possess a nationality" -- just as everyone has the right to life implies also that everyone also has the right to die? The concept of "nationality" was mainly contrived to serve the interests of states. States have a need for the allegiance of those who possess their nationality and who they in turn are obliged to protect. States can thus expect other states to be responsible for their own nationals. A stateless person, who belongs to no state, salutes no flag, and so which state is obliged to offer a stateless person refuge? Who feeds a stray dog who is loyal to no master?

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away . . .

The counterpoint of "arbitrarily deprived" is "arbitrarily acquired". All people passively acquire their natal nationality at the convenience of the state in which they were born or which governs the nationality of their parents. Hence children born in the United States become Americans, and those born outside the United States to Americans also generally become Americans. And children born to Korean or Japanese parents have generally become Koreans or Japanese, and some children born in Korea or Japan to non-Korean or non-Japanese parents have also become Koreans or Japaneses.

However, adults may also experience changes of nationality caused more by political events than by their own volition or action. Some people experience a change in their natal nationality essentially at the convenience of the state that gains sovereignty over the state in which they were born.

Taiwanese became Japanese in 1895 (or by 1897) when China ceced Taiwan to Japan. Taiwanese didn't really have much choice in the matter.

Koreans became Japanese in 1910 when Japan annexed Korea as Chōsen. Koreans -- even those residing outside Japan, i.e., outside the prefretural Interior, Taiwan, Karafuto, or Chōsen -- became Chosenese, and few felt they had much choice in the matter.

And some people experience a change in nationality when the territority to which they legally belong is transferred to the sovereignty of another state, or reverts to the sovereignty of the state that it originally belonged to.

People with household registers in Japanese territory of Taiwan, who were living in Taiwan when legally occupied by the Republic of China (ROC) in 1945, became Chinese at the convenience of ROC. Most Taiwanese residing in Occupied Japan enrolled in ROC nationality before they formally lost their Japanese nationality in 1952.

People with registers in the Japanese territory of Chōsen when Japan surrended the territory to Soviet and American occupation forces in 1945, found themselves divided between the conveniences of the two Korean states that were born in 1948 -- the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Those residing in ROK or DPRK had little choice but to accept that they had become nationals of those states. Those living in Occupied Japan had no opportunity to enroll in ROK or DPRK nationality before losing their Japanese nationality in 1952.

. . . and the Lord sayeth thy must have a nationality

Does the right to change nationality include the right to divest oneself of any and all nationalities one has acquired -- if one prefers not to have any nationality? Article 22 of Japan's 1947 Constitution provides that "Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest themselves of their nationality shall be inviolate." But Japan does not allow a person to to rounce its nationality unless the person can show evidence of possessing the nationality of another state -- in particular one that Japan recognizes. Most states think this way -- i.e., they do not recognize the right not to have a nationality.

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1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child (DRC)

The United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (DRC) on 10 December 1959. The 3rd of its 10 princples declares that a child has a right to a name and a nationality from the time of its birth.

Declaration of the Rights of the Child

Principle 3

The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.

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1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), an extension of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was adopted and opened for signature, ratification, and accession on 16 December 1966, and entered into force from 23 March 1976. in 1976. Japan signed the convention on 30 May 1978 and ratified it on 21 June 1979, which obliged it to abide by the following provisions in Article 24 concerning the rights of a child to a nationality (boxed comments mine).

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Article 24

1. Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State.

This provision is extremely vague as to what "measures of protection" are required by a child's "status as a minor" -- and how the "family" and "society" and "the State" are supposed to collaborate for the purpose of providing such protection. As such, it appears to have intentionally been written in a manner that avoids drawing clear lines of accountability. How are a minor's family, society, and the State to collectively protect a minor? What, in the first place, determines a person's "status" as a minor?

Japan's 1947 Constitution includes race, creed, sex, social status, and family origin -- none of which are be causes for inequality under the law, or for discrimination in political, economic or social relations. However, "race" and "creed" (faith, religion) have never been codified or otherwise operational in Japanese law. "Sex" is a basic element in status laws. Legally speaking, "social status" includes sex, age, marital status, and legitimacy (wedlock or out-of-wedlock status of child). Degrees of blood relationship in direct and collateral lines also figure in determinations of legal obligations regarding the care of other family members. Elements of family law that might connote "family origin" no longer figure in Japanese status laws -- with the exception that the so-called Imperial Family constitutes a separate demographic caste and its few members are subject to different family laws than those which govern the general population. The Constitution declares that peers and peerage shall not be recognized, meaning that titles of nobility no longer have legal efficacy. Moreover, no privilege are to accompany any award of honor, decoration, or distinction.

"Language" is an element of Japanese law to the extent that Japanese is Japan's official language. Only Japanese script can be used in family registers. Japanese translations of supporting documents that originated in other languages are required in official applications and court proceedings. Only Japanese versions of Japan's laws have efficacy in Japanese courts, with the exception of private matters that are governed by the laws of a litigant's home country law if other than Japanese, or of matters that are governed by treaties done in multiple langauges, including Japanese, one of which, other than Japanese, may be considered the most authoritative should there be disagreements over meanings. Et cetera et cetera.

Japanese laws have never codified "race" or "colour" or "national origin" or anything related to race or ethnicity. Japan officially objects to the use of "national origin" in international covenants as a synonym of "race" or "racioethnicity" -- its usual connotation in American English. Japan takes "national origin" to mean the former nationality of someone who has changed nationality -- but, again, the expression has no standing in Japanese law.

2. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name.

Japan's Civil Code requires parents or other competent individuals to notify municipal registrars of the birth of a child born in the country within 14 days of a child's birth. Late notifications, however, have to be accepted if valid. The birth notification includes a birth certificate, which is issued by the delivering physician or midwife, a name must be entered on the certificate.

3. Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.

Japan's common civil status laws until 1899, and the 1899 Nationality Law (old) and 1950 Nationality Law (current), have operated to minimize the chances that a child born in Japan will not acquire a nationality. Most children born in Japan acquire Japanese nationality through a Japanese parent, and or a foreign nationality through a foreign parent, through jus sanguinis principles. And foundlings (meaning children for whom neither parent is known), and children born to stateless parents, became Japanese through jus soli.

Sometimes -- though very rarely -- a child is is born in Japan into a stateless condition on account of holes between Japan's Nationality Law and other nationality laws that might apply. And at present, Japan's Nationality Law lacks provisions for a categorial right of a child born in Japan to acquire it's nationality should the child be unable to acquire another state's nationality.

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1979 International Year of the Child (IYC)

The United Nations earlier calls for recognition of a child's right to a nationality were reiterated in 1979, which the UN designated as the International Year of the Child (IYC). The publicity was perfectly timed for Shapiro v. State, which involved a stateless girl's plaintiff. But it also underscored the shortcomings of a nationality law that could easily have prevented her statelessness had it treated the children of Japanese women married to aliens the same as it treated the children of Japanese men married to aliens -- and, for that matter, the same as it treated the children of unmarried Japanese men and women.

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1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted an open for signature, ratification, and accession on 20 November 1989, It gained sufficient support to come into force on 2 September 1990.

Japan signed the convention on 21 September 1990, and ratified it on 22 April 1994.

Articles 7 and 8 cover nationality -- which the convention considers an essential element of a person's "identity" -- as follows.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Article 7

1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.

Article 8

1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.

2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.

UNICEF, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, describes the Convention on the Rights of the Child as "the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history" (UNICEF website, 14 June 2014). This claim is supported by the convention's record of signatory and other party states.

CRC gained the 20 ratifications it needed to enter into force (Article 49) within a year of its adoption. As of this writing (2014), 194 states -- practically all of the UN's members -- have become parties to the convention, including 140 states which have signed it. All about a couple of 194 party states have not ratified it, including the United States, most likely because the Supreme Court recognized the constitutionality of the right of Union States to execute minors if their laws permit.

Practically all ratifications and accessions were effected in the early 1990s, within the convention's first few years.

Japan's reservations and declarations

Japan has made 1 reservation and 2 declarations regarding it's embrace of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Reservation:

In applying paragraph (c) of article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Japan reserves the right not to be bound by the provision in its second sentence, that is, 'every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so', considering the fact that in Japan as regards persons deprived of liberty, those who are below twenty years of age are to be generally separated from those who are of twenty years of age and over under its national law.

Declarations:

1. The Government of Japan declares that paragraph 1 of article 9 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child be interpreted not to apply to a case where a child is separated from his or her parents as a result of deportation in accordance with its immigration law.

2. The Government of Japan declares further that the obligation to deal with applications to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family re-unification `in a positive, humane and expeditious manner' provided for in paragraph 1 of article 10 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child be interpreted not to affect the outcome of such applications.

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On statelessness versus dual nationality

The problem with all such measures to eliminate statelessness is that sovereign states have the right to determine their own nationality. And the United Nations -- though a supranational body -- cannot dictate a member state's qualifications for nationality.

The UN, the complex political body that it is, at best can get a consensus from enough states to define this or that human right, and to gain enough support to adopt a convention on one or another area of human rights, and to entice enough states to join the petition in order for its provision to come into force. But a convention comes into force only in the countries that have joined it and accorded it the status of a domestic law. And even then, the vageness of the convention, and the flexibility that may have been built into the convention in order to give party states some latitude in interpreting it, leave a lot of room for states to minimize if not entirely avoid revising their domestic laws to reflect the letter and spirit of the convetion. Most states have already worked out the politicolegal math before they accept a convention.

Japan, since the 19th century, has never really been a legal backwater when it comes to nationality law. In 1899, following practices familiar in most major states, adopted criteria that were actually very compatible with its own customary standards -- a primary patrilineal criterion backed up by secondary matrilineal and jus soli criteria. At the time, this mix of criteria was considered sufficient to prevent statelessness, at least among states that adopted the same mix. Most nationality laws also shared provisions for preventing dual nationality, and for singularizing the nationalities of husbands and wives, in the belief that individuals and families should have only one nationality.

Today, however, the more common scheme among jus sanguinis states is a primary ambilineal criterion backed up by a secondary jus soli criterion -- which creates the problem that states originally hoped to avoid -- namely, dual nationality.

Note that the few states which have adopted jus soli as their primary critrion and jus sanguinis criteria secondarily, did not do so out of a desire to prevent statelessness, but in order to brand everyone born in their territory as their subjects -- as their nationals and/or citizens -- as people who owed the state their allegiance. Most right-of-soli (jus soli) states coveted larger populations and welcomed certain amounts and qualities of immigration. A bascially jus sanguinis law would would created a large population of native-born aliens who would owe their allegiance to another state. Jus soli was a way to minimize the number of aliens in the state. And encouraging immigrant parents to naturalize -- i.e., change their allegiance -- also helped lower the potentially larger size of the domestic alien population.

Jus soli states, like jus sanguinis states, also conventionally took measures to prevent dual nationality, and to singularize the nationality of a husband and wife and their children in marriages between their nationals and aliens. Until fairly recently, a woman typically acquired her husband's nationality if different from hers, when doing so lost her nationality. Japan was just one of many other states that abandoned this standard, but until recently, Japan continued to uphold the standard of one nationality per family in naturalization, prefering that, one alien member of a family in Japan naturalize, the other other members also naturalize.

The United Nations has not gotten around to declaring the right to more than one nationality, though seems to have abandonened the concern that many states collectly expressed in the 1930 Hague Convention on Double Nationality, which Japan signed but did not ratify. The United Nations took over the depository functions of the dual nationality convention, as it did for many international agreements fostered by the League of Nations. While more states that once objected to dual nationality are passively accepting it, few states encourage possession of more than one nationality.

Both statelessness and multiple nationality need special consideration in internationaal private law when the applicable law in a case involving an alien is taken to be the alien's home country law rather than the law of the state in which the alien to residing (just keep the example simple). For stateless people have no home country, and multiple nationals have multiple home countries, which can create conflicts, such as subjectivity to taxes or military service in more than one country.

As more countries subscribe to similar laws of laws, which determine applicable law, the difference between being statelessness and having a nationallity, and between having only one nationality and having two ore more, may be getting smaller. Arguably, stateless people today experience before disadvantages than stateless people did in the past, and multiple nationals appear to face fewer conflicts of nationality today than they did before.

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