WHEN Yuki Shiraishi passes through immigration at Tokyo airport, she is hit with a wave of  shame and embarrassment.

While her parents whizz through the line for Japanese nationals, she is stuck with foreigners, surreptitiously trying to hide her Swiss passport.

Shiraishi is one of an estimated million citizens forced to give up their Japanese nationality when they became dual nationals.

The issue was thrust into the spotlight when tennis star Naomi Osaka won the  US Open. The 21-year old has a Japanese mother, a Haitian father and was born in Japan but raised in the United States.

She has dual citizenship but will technically have to decide by her 22nd birthday which flag to play tennis under, unless Japanese authorities turn a blind eye to a special case.

Shiraishi, now 34, is battling for change. With a group of others, she filed a suit this year against the Japanese government in a bid to reform what critics see as an antiquated and obsolete system.

''I was being rejected'' : She was born and raised in Switzerland, her parents working for the UN and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Shortly before she turned 16, she took her parents advice and obtained Swiss nationality to facilitate day-to-day administrative issues.

It was only when she returned to Japan, six years later that she realised what that decision meant.

Her father, a lawyer, advised her to return her Japanese passport. ''For him there was no question of me living ''hidden'' residing against Japanese laws by hiding two passports in secret.''

She went to the consulate and describes a sad experience of feeling thrown out by her own country.

''I realized that without any reason I was being rejected. I was being cut away from my country even though I was born with a Japanese passport, my two parents are Japanese and I still have very close ties with Japan,'' she said.

What really stung me when her name was transformed for official purposes from the traditional kanji letters to a Western-style alphabet.

''I pretended that  it was just an administrative thing. But in fact, it really hurt,'' she said. [Agencies]

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on dual nationals continues.


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