As of today, I am a Japanese citizen.
I guess that means that I don’t need to carry my residence card around with me any more. The next step (of course there’s a next step) is to go to the Legal Affairs Bureau and pick up the certificate of naturalisation. I take that to the city offices, where they will make me a family record, and update my residence record. Then I need to change my health insurance card and register a new inkan, because I need those two pieces of documentation to get a Japanese passport, and I suspect that they will need to have the right name on. And then I need to start changing my name on all my bank accounts and insurance documents.
One thing that has become very clear in this process is that we Japanese do love our paperwork.
The whole process has taken almost exactly eighteen months, from my first call to the Legal Affairs Bureau to the decision being made. That includes the delay while the Ministry of Justice had to work out what to do about the fact that the UK had stopped issuing certificates of citizenship, and the three month wait for the UK to process my renunciation of UK citizenship. I formally submitted my application about five months after the first phone call. So, I can see the process being rather faster if you don’t need to renounce, and you aren’t the first person to apply after your home country changes its rules. On the other hand, I was legally stateless for about six weeks, and that is probably normal; at that point, there was nothing complicated left in the application.
My name is still David Chart when written in Latin letters, and that is the name that will be on my passport, but my legal name is now ãƒãƒ£ãƒ¼ãƒˆå‡ºæ„äºº. I won’t expect the people reading this blog to remember it, however.
I’m very happy that the decision has been made, and I hope I’ll be able to vote in the Upper House elections this summer. (I should make the cut-off for registration, I think.) Now I can think about what else I might want to do with my new rights.