Thursday, February 19, 2004

Special treatment at the passport office

The moment of truth. I have to renew my son's passport, his Japanese one. It expired, because when I called to find out what I needed to do to get him a new one last year, they told me. What they didn't tell me is that the rules are different if your parent isn't Japanese. Yes, Japanese children whose parents are not Japanese have to jump through extra hoops when they renew their passports. He needed his family registration. What is this? It is a thing that foreigners can't get. It is a record of lineage. My name will appear on his form as his father, but I cannot have one of my own. Nor can foreigners be registered as head of household on their residence registry. I won't go into all that mess right now. For more on that go look at Debito Arudou's site.

There is also grief about how to spell his family name. They must put his name in Roman letters, but they will want to spell his name as it would appear in a Japanese transcription of English words, not the way it is actually spelled. I know that this will entail a protracted discussion about whether they can have copies of my American passport. Not because they have any reason to be susupicious about my residence status in the country, but because they will want to have documentation of the way our name is spelled. The same thing happened when my wife got her passport.

Full report at 11.

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