The Story of Utinan Won and His Journey to Citizenship

Utinan Won

Utinan Won

Derek Dietsche, Staff Writer

Many countries have different laws regarding immigration policies and how they deal with illegal aliens. In America, it’s a divisive issue with both of the top political parties fighting for what they think is right. What many don’t know is that many other countries are like this as well.

In America, someone’s nationality is based off of location, not by blood. For example, if you are born here from parents that aren’t citizens, then you are still American, we call this jus soli. In Japan, however, they follow the less common jus sanguinis, where people’s nationality are based off of blood, so someone born in Greenland of Japanese parents would still be considered Japanese. On the contrary, an illegal alien residing in Japan that has a child there, that child would not be Japanese and be removed when discovered.

A current ongoing event in Japan right now is the fate of Utinan Won. A man whose mother is an illegal alien who resided in Japan for all the years of his life. Jus sanguinis makes it so even though he was born and raised and has never left Japan, he is considered a Thai resident. His mother left in early 2016 to try and give her son what she thought was a better chance at being able to stay in Japan. Even though he is of Thai blood, he only knows the basics of their language, he truly is a Japanese citizen that has fully been integrated. Until he was a young adult he didn’t even know he was different from the other Japanese boys. In early June, the first court hearing happened and they quickly shut him down and planned to have him be deported to where his mother is.

This past December he tried yet again, this time with a load of supporters, friends, family, and school peers (all Japanese people) trying to let the court know that he is a good citizen. However he was unanimously shut down yet again. Right now he’s waiting for his next chance to try and stay in his home and he is currently allowed to stay in the country until he turns 18. Every day he gains more supporters and he tries any time he can to get a new court hearing spending his all to become the citizen that he thought he was.