The Yomiuri Shimbun
Renho’s lack of awareness regarding ‘dual nationality’ problematic
蓮舫氏の台湾籍 「二重国籍」への認識が甘い

It is nothing but a sorry state of affairs that a Diet member failed to correctly understand her own nationality.
国会議員が自らの国籍を正確に把握できていないとは、あまりにお粗末と言うほかない。

Renho, acting leader of the opposition Democratic Party, admitted at a press conference Tuesday that she retains Taiwan citizenship. Taiwan is her father’s birthplace.
民進党の蓮舫代表代行が記者会見し、台湾籍を保有していたことを認めた。台湾は父親の出身地だ。

Until that day, Renho had explained that she had renounced her Taiwan citizenship when she obtained Japanese citizenship in January 1985. After she filed her candidacy for the DP leadership election, it was pointed out that she may have dual citizenship. She then reportedly had the Taiwan side check whether she still possessed Taiwan citizenship, and it turned out she did.
蓮舫氏はこれまで、1985年1月に日本国籍を取得した際、台湾籍を放棄した、と説明してきた。党代表選への出馬後、二重保有ではないかとの指摘を受けて、台湾側に確認し、判明したという。

It has transpired that Renho let this abnormal state of affairs go uncorrected for more than 30 years. “I have caused various sorts of confusion because of my inaccurate memory,” she said in apology. Renho said she would retake the procedures to renounce her Taiwan citizenship. This response, however, came too late.
結果的に、30年超も不正常な状態を放置してきたことになる。蓮舫氏は「私の記憶の不正確さによって様々な混乱を招いた」と陳謝し、改めて放棄手続きを進めるというが、遅きに失した対応だ。

The Japanese government does not allow “dual nationality.” The Nationality Law stipulates that a Japanese national with dual nationality must choose one, in principle, before they reach 22 years of age.
日本政府は「二重国籍」を認めていない。国籍法で、原則22歳までに、自らの国籍を選択しなければならない、と定めている。

Although there is no provision excluding people with a foreign nationality from becoming a Diet member, they are prohibited from being appointed as diplomatic officials. It is out of the question for a legislator — who is supposed to serve the interests of the nation, including in foreign affairs and national security — to leave their own nationality obscure.
外国籍保有者が国会議員になることを排除する規定はないが、外交官への採用は禁止されている。外交・安全保障などの国益を担う国会議員が、自身の国籍を曖昧にしておくことは論外である。

Renho said that at 17 she undertook procedures to renounce her Taiwan citizenship at Taiwan’s de facto embassy, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan. She failed to confirm that the procedures were completed. Renho, who also failed to confirm this when she ran in the 2004 House of Councillors election, has such little understanding of what it means to be a politician that her quality as one will be put into question.
蓮舫氏は、17歳当時、台湾の大使館に当たる台北駐日経済文化代表処で行ったとされる放棄手続きの完了を確認しなかった。2004年参院選の出馬時にも、その作業を怠った。政治家として認識が甘く、資質が問われよう。

Flip-flopping explanations

Although Taiwan is friendly toward Japan, it is in conflict with the Japanese standpoint regarding some issues, for instance, its ownership claims on the Senkaku Islands. If Renho retains her Taiwan citizenship, she could become the target of undesirable suspicions regarding her relations with Taiwan.
台湾は親日的とはいえ、尖閣諸島の領有権を主張するなど、日本の立場と相反する問題もある。台湾籍があれば、台湾との関係であらぬ疑念を招きかねない。

That Renho’s explanations have been inconsistent is not to be overlooked.
見過ごせないのは、蓮舫氏の説明が二転三転したことだ。

Initially, she asserted that she “had renounced Taiwan citizenship.” She even showed displeasure, saying: “It is very sad that the rumors are making their rounds.” Later, however, the age she said she took the procedures changed from 18 to 17. An interview carried in a magazine about 20 years ago came to light in which she referred to possessing Taiwan citizenship.
当初は「台湾籍は抜いた」と断言し、「うわさの流布は本当に悲しい」と不快感さえ示した。その後、手続きをした年齢が18歳から17歳に変わったり、台湾籍保有に言及した約20年前の雑誌インタビューが発覚したりした。

Some have also pointed out that the description she made on an official list of the details of electoral candidates for the upper house election ran counter to the Public Offices Election Law. Her description said she “became naturalized from Taiwan citizenship.”
参院選の公報に「台湾籍から帰化」と記したことが公職選挙法に抵触する、との指摘もある。

Saying that “there is no illegality,” Renho emphasized that she will not withdraw her candidacy in the DP leadership election. She must further clarify all the facts and be accountable.
蓮舫氏は「違法性はない」として、代表選から撤退しない考えを強調した。事実関係をより明確にし、説明責任を果たすべきだ。

DP leader Katsuya Okada said, “It would be extremely unsound if the recent commotion partly stems from such a way of thinking as, it is inappropriate because her father is from Taiwan.”
岡田代表は、「父が台湾人だからおかしいという発想が一連の騒ぎにあるとすると、極めて不健全なことだ」と主張している。

That such a twisted interpretation can be heard within the party, whereby criticism toward Renho could be taken as a form of racial discrimination, is hard to understand. What is being considered as problematic lies absolutely with the fact that Renho failed to take necessary procedures in accordance with the law.
民進党内に、蓮舫氏への批判が民族差別であるかのような曲解があるのは理解に苦しむ。問題にされているのは、あくまで蓮舫氏が法に基づく手続きを適切に行っていなかったことだからだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 14, 2016)

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