In a report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Philippines, there are 3,836 individuals in the Philippines of Japanese descent (PJDs) tagged as stateless. The report urges both countries to help these Filipino-Japanese acquire citizenship as their average age is 81 with a recorded estimate of 100 death per year.
Most of the stateless residents are identified as second-generation Filipino-Japanese, children of Japanese immigrants to the Philippines during the late 19th century to 1945 but whose fathers were enlisted to join the Japanese army during World War II and later captured or killed leaving their children behind.
“There are cases where once the lack of nationality is discovered, immigration imposes fines for illegally overstaying, and after 70 years, the fines can rise to about ¥3,300,000 (1,440,000PHP),” the report noted.
UNHR report shows that there have been cases of individuals who are not aware that they did not have Filipino nationality and were only made aware by the time they tried to obtain a passport.
UNHR also recommended that a joint committee on cooperation between the Philippines and Japan could quickly solve the case.