The number must be quite high.
As you might know, the United States government publishes a list, in the Federal Register, of U.S. citizens who renounce their citizenship. When an American takes Japanese citizenship, he or she is not required to renounce their American one. (You can be a dual citizen.) BUT, the Japanese require that you only have one citizenship.
The American Embassy is supposed to make inquiries when it learns that a U.S. citizen has voluntarily obtained a foreign passport; but, it seems, they never do, unless it’s for a Cold War country or something.
Here is the latest quarterly publication by the federal government, by the way. I am waiting to see if I know anyone on May’s list.
Several years back, I met an American who was waving a Japanese passport around at an Eikaiwa. For some time now, when I’ve seen the quarterly list, I’ve looked for his name. It’s never there. It’s a common name, so you might figure that maybe it would appear there, and not be him. But even so, the common name just never shows.
By my figuring, this man has been able to live in Japan, as a citizen, for over six years, while still being an American citizen! This is supposed to be a total no-no by Japanese law, but, I guess, it’s just one more way where the foreigner community in Japan rewrites things for its own benefit.
It may be, that the fellow has gotten away with it by keeping a low profile. Except–if it’s the same person, his later Eikaiwa school got destroyed in the March 11, 2011 tsunami.
I’m just curious: how does someone obtain Japanese citizenship and not give up their U.S passport? A lot of Eikaiwa workers would want to know. It’s a fair question.
[Update 4/3/12: Wasn’t I just talking recently about foreigners writing their own rules in Japan?]
[Update 2/26/2014: Someone writing as Chris responds:
You raise a very good question on your blog.
But you have the wrong person. I hold and have always held a US passport! I do not have a Japanese passport! I have never had a Japanese passport. My children have both.
It would be very nice of you if you could fix the story on your blog.
Also my school was in shambles because of the earthquake not the tsunami. ( I look pretty rough in that picture…)
Have a great day!
I stand by the original material. This Chris Campbell, who at the time was involved in casual English teaching, was circulating a Japanese passport at an Eikaiwa event in Nishi Nippori sometime around 2006 or 2007. Several trustworthy Japanese had shared that with me. It is no surprise that someone would maintain a US passport. So I won’t change the original posting, but will include the statement above. If the passport did not belong to Mr. Campbell, that is, of course, some separate thing.]