Your child was born in Japan and you wish to give your child a middle name?
Note that you are no longer able to give your child a middle name by swearing an oath at the Embassy/Consulate of Canada with the introduction of the name policy that became effective on May 31, 2013.
This article will guide you through on how to give a middle name for your child born in Japan.
The New Name Policy of 2013
The new name policy that became effective on May 31, 2013 and instituted new procedures on establishing consistent name records in the systems for all lines of business; citizenship, passport, permanent residence etc.
Prior to this, Canadians were able to have their preferred name(s) stated on their Canadian passport or Citizenship by declaring an oath in front of the officer at the Embassy/Consulate of Canada if the applications were made abroad.
For example, if the birth name was “Michael” and the name usually called (preferred name) was “Mickey”, this person could have used “Mickey” on his passport instead of “Michael” by declaring an oath.
However, with the introduction of the new name policy, this is no longer possible.
The new procedure emphasizes the significance of using the most reliable documentary evidence available pertaining to the name of an individual, rather than using a name at the request of the applicant.
As you are aware, in occidental culture the babies are given one or more given names.
However in Japan, Japanese people only have one given name and no middle names.
But don’t freak out before this Japanese system!
There is a way to give your child a middle name!
If you wish to give your child a second given name (middle name), you may do so by registering your child’s first and second names as one long “given name”.
For example, “マイケル健人 “ and there will be no space showing between the first and second name on the Japanese Koseki (family registry) or on the Japanese Birth Registration (shusshou todoke).
However, this space can be added on the Canadian citizenship certificate and Canadian Passport if requested as such on the CIT0001 Form (Canadian citizenship certificate application form) and also on the English Translation of the official document (i.e. Family Register (Koseki Tohon) and Certificate of Acceptance of Birth Notification (Shusshou todoke juri shoumeisho).
Also for the translation of the document, as long as the pronunciation does not get effected, the name can be spelled in the English way and does not have to follow the spelling regulations (ヘボン式).
For example, “マイケル健人” can be spelled “Michael Kent” instead of “Maikerukento” and “恵美”can be spelled “Amy” instead of “Emi”.
Under the new name policy, the family name will also be affected.
For example, if your Japanese wife has not changed her family name to her husband’s name, the child’s last name will have the mother’s last name following the Japanese koseki (family registry) system.
Similarly for Canadian mothers, the child will not be able to have hyphenated two (2) family names of both parents (e.g. Suzuki-Chartrand) unless the Japanese parent has not changed his/her last name accordingly and is not reflected on the Koseki (family registry).
To reiterate the point, the Name Policy does not allow for statutory declaration concerning names.
The primary document used to establish the name record is the applicant’s (child’s) foreign birth certificates.
If the Canadian citizenship certificate is already issued but it is not necessarily the name with which the applicant (or child) identifies him/herself, in these instances the applicant can seek a legal name change in Canada, in accordance with the policies/procedures of the province or territory of residence or in Japan through family court if the applicant is a Japanese national.
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