Naturalization – To become a Japanese citizen

Do you want to become a Japanese citizen ?

These procedures are the domain of the Legal Affairs Bureau ( houmukyoku) which handles naturalization by foreign nationals and other matters to do with citizenship in Japan. You can contact them at any time for questions regarding this.

Legal Affairs Bureau ( houmukyoku)

What is naturalization, to become a Japanese citizen?

If a foreign national ( someone without Japanese citizenship) indicates he would like Japanese citizenship, and the Minister of Law (Japanese national government) gives permission, then the foreign national can take Japanese citizenship.

What’s required to become a Japanese citizen ?

Some of the major conditions are as follows:

  1. Residency: The foreign resident must have been living in Japan for five or more years consecutively.
  2. Competency: The foreign resident must be of an adult age according to both Japan (20 years of age) and their own country.
  3. Conduct: The foreign resident must be of upright conduct. Criminal records, tax payments, and other societal measures are taken into account when determining this.
  4. Financial independence: The foreign resident must have a stable livelihood. This is determined on a household basis, so if the foreign resident is adequately supported by the assets or abilities of a spouse or relative, then they will fulfill this requirement.
  5. No other nationalities: The foreign resident must have no nationality, or declare they will give up their foreign nationality upon getting Japanese nationality.
  6. Protect the constitution of Japan: A foreign resident who actively plans harm on Japan or is involved in an organization that plans harm on Japan is not eligible for citizenship.

*Conditions are not as strict for persons born in Japan, and for spouses of Japanese nationals.

帰化 become a Japanese citizen
帰化 become a Japanese citizen


The documentation required for a naturalization application varies by case. For further details, please contact the Legal Affairs Bureau in Morioka, which handles these applications in Iwate. Please be aware that naturalization proceedings are carried out with great care, and therefore require a significant amount of time.

Here are some things that may be required:

  1. Naturalization application (with a photo of the applicant)
  2. Documents showing the makeup of your family
  3. An essay about your motivation to become a Japanese citizen
  4. Resume (work history, school history)
  5. Documents showing your financial status
  6. Documents giving an outline of the activities you are involved with
  7. Copy of your resident certificate
  8. Documents showing your foreign nationality
  9. Documents showing how you are related to your family
  10. Documents proving that you have paid taxes
  11. Documents showing your income
  12. Documents showing how long you have been in Japan
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