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Renho confirms she has Taiwanese citizenship after earlier denying dual nationality

Acting Democratic Party leader Renho appears in a news conference to explain her Taiwanese citizenship, at the House of Councillors members' office building on Sept. 13, 2016. (Mainichi)

Democratic Party acting leader Renho, who is running in the party leadership election, said on Sept. 13 that she has confirmed her Taiwanese citizenship after earlier having denied dual nationality.

    "I apologize for causing confusion due to my inaccurate memory," Renho told a news conference on Sept. 13 after confirming with Taiwanese authorities on the previous day that she had maintained her Taiwanese citizenship.

    The Democratic Party leadership candidate was born in Tokyo to a Taiwanese father and Japanese mother. She obtained Japanese citizenship in 1985, when she was 17, but had been consulting with authorities in Taiwan to check her citizenship status after questions regarding her nationality were raised.

    She told reporters, "It doesn't change my determination to reform the party," indicating that she will not drop out of the leadership race for the largest opposition party scheduled on Sept. 15.

    According to an earlier explanation given by Renho, when she obtained Japanese citizenship on Jan. 21, 1985, she also renounced her Taiwanese citizenship. She had said that she did not remember what kind of procedures were taken at the time when she visited the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (the equivalent of an embassy) in Tokyo with her father because he was handling the registration in the Taiwanese language. It turns out that the procedures necessary to renounce her Taiwanese citizenship were never taken.

    Renho repeated during the news conference that she thought she had given up her Taiwanese citizenship, adding that she has "never acted in any other ways than as Japanese" in her political career.

    She submitted documents necessary to renounce her Taiwanese citizenship to the Taiwanese representative office on Sept. 6 and said, "When all the registration processes are finished, matters regarding my citizenship will be settled."

    Since Japan does not recognize Taiwan as a country, Chinese laws apply to Taiwanese citizens, and the Chinese nationality law states that Chinese citizenship is automatically revoked after a person claims citizenship of another country. Based on such an understanding, Renho denied any illegality in relation to her citizenship status.

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