Tran Aiming to Obtain Japanese Citizenship

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by ice9, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

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    What was the thinking in allowing such skaters to compete at Worlds but not the Olympics? IMO Worlds should have the same requirement as the Olympics with regard to citizenship and that would bring an end to this kind of situation.
  2. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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    Um, that's why my next words were "but seriously"... just saying.
  3. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

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    the Summary to this thread
    END OF DISCUSSION. period !

    Mervin Tran getting a Japanese citizenship = next to impossible
  4. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    That's because they are controlled by 2 different governing bodies.
    Anyway, if the Japanese government wants it bad enough, Tran will get his citizenship. If they don't, he won't.
  5. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

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    Tanith had been living and training in the United States for years and got her green card in 2002 and was already on the path to citizenship.. I know it irked some people but to make two Olympic teams and not be allowed to go would have been harsh. They had already qualified for one Olympic team in 2002 but couldn't go. Tran on the other hand hasn't even lived in Japan. It would be blatant by the Japanese to give him citizenship just make the Japanese team stronger in Sochi.
  6. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, let's make it even harder for Pairs and Ice Dance teams to form, because there are so many. *raises eyebrow*

    Also in some countries obtaining citizenship as an athlete is a formality, in others (like Japan) it's next to impossible. It is not a level playing field.

    For the vast majority of sporting events outside of Olympics, residency is enough of a requirement and I don't see why the rules should be any stricter.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  7. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Tran's inability to skate at the Olympics isn't a question of politics; it's a question of law.

    Mind you, Tran's only hope is to make this political and get the Diet to vote to give him citizenship -- something that has never been done before for anyone else.

    So which is it? You don't want this to be political, and you want the law to be followed (which means he can't compete at the Olympics), or you want this to become political so that he can compete? You can't have it both ways.
  8. magnolia

    magnolia New Member

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    There is a law set in place which makes it a permissable legal procedure for the Minister of Justice (with the approval of the Diet) to allow the naturalization of foreigners who provide special distinguished service to Japan.

    This existent law has never been applied in Japan, but the law nevertheless already exists, so no laws would need to be broken for Mervin to acquire citizenship. It simply needs to be applied.
  9. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, whenever there is talk that some country should be dropped (as occurred with South Africa during the apartheid era), the IOC claims that the Olympics are all about the athletes ... not the countries. Is my memory wrong? If not, does anyone know why the IOC insists on formal citizenship?
  10. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

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    Countries are still represented at the Olympics and the IOC requires the athletes to be citizens of the country they represent. It's not to much to ask.
  11. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    IIRC when Aliona Savchenko got her German citizenship (just before the 2006 Oly) I don't think she had lived in Germany very long. Did she have German ancestry? She seemed to get her German citizenship rather quickly. At that time S&S had only the potential to become champions, and they did not even medal at the 2006 Olympics.
  12. minignome

    minignome New Member

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    Because without it, I am guessing you would see a lot more country switching so that people can compete in the Olympics. A good example was the Athens games -- host countries have an automatic berth into many of the team competitions. Greece does not have a great baseball history, so they scoured American colleges looking for players with Greek last names. These guys became citizens some of whom without ever setting foot in Greece just because great grandpa came from Greece.

    Also, in countries where there is a lot of depth in a sport (cross country skiing in Norway, swimming in the US and Australia, etc. the athletes who aren't quite good enough to make their own countries team are still good enough to win other countries competitions. Do you really want to encourage country and or athlete shopping?
  13. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

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    You're right. It isn't a lot to ask, when you compete in the Olympics you represent a country so it's only fair you are a citizen of that country. If a country wants to grant you citizenship (based of the Olympics or not) is another story.

    Savchenko lived in Germany since 2003, that may have been enough in the eyes of the Germany government to grant her citizenship. Every country has different rules. Even the same country can treat two athletes differently based on their own situation.
  14. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

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    Depends on the extent to which the IOC wants the Olys affected by other aspects of a country's policies. If the IOC wants to restrict athletes by country, then (IMO) it shouldn't complain about boycotts or bans; if the IOC wants the Olys to be about sports, unaffected by a country's other policies, then it should loosen up the citizenship requirements.
  15. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    I think the Tanith Belbin case is the reason people think that US citizenship is much more difficult than it usually is. It took an act of Congress to expedite, but that was because of post 9/11 procedural issues, not because her case was an exception on its own. (She had met all of the requirements for citizenship, including residency, which Tran doesn't.)

    Ah. Wasn't that before Kavaguti moved to Russia and studied at a Russian University? I think, at least for a while, Kavaguti/Markuntsov trained in the US with Moskvina.
  16. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Think about what you're saying. Tran doesn't fit the criteria of being Japanese so he should be able to represent Japan at the Olympics just, uh, because?? Sorry but that's stupid.
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  17. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Savchenko made it a priority to learn German early on. (There's also the saying that if you want to learn a foreign language as an adult, have a relationship with someone who speaks that language.) Maybe it was Hedwig who commented on her cute Saxony accent?
  18. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Germany is very different from Japan. Japan has a notoriously closed society.
  19. Ajax

    Ajax New Member

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    While I love T&T and would love to see them at the Olympics, I would be very frustrated if Tran was able to obtain citizenship just cos he's a pair skater with a not that big chance of getting an Olympic medal. My perspective is this: I'm a a foreigner who's lived, worked and paid taxes in the US for 7 years. I would love to get US citizenship or even a green card but this is damn near impossible and in about two years, I am most likely going to be forced to drop the life that I've built here and leave the country when my visa expires. I'm sure there are many people in Japan who are in the same situation as I am in the US. For Tran to get citizenship, without living there, without speaking the language, without paying taxes or working, when other people would die at that chance, IMO would be outrageous. Honestly, what kind of tangible benefit would a country derive from a pairs medal (highly unlikely to be gold at that) at the Olympics? I don't think it's prestigious enough service to the country to justify breaking the rules. I know that I would be furious if some figure skater was given US citizenship without even having lived here while I cannot obtain the same.
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  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    It wouldn't be about a pairs medal: it would be about a Team medal, with a great chance of that being a Team Gold medal, since T/T would be competing only against one team from each other country, not, for example, against three from Russia.

    I'm not arguing that this is justification, but that there is a team medal at stake.
  21. Ajax

    Ajax New Member

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    It's still just a figure skating medal at the Olympics. What does that really bring to the country?

    Do we even know whether this is legit? Could it just be some kind of media-rousing attempt by the JSF?
  22. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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    She turned 20 in January. He'll be 22 in September.
  23. Belinda

    Belinda Member

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  24. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    Can someone elaborate on why the law has never been applied? Is it that other applicants have been denied or that no one has ever tried? It seems so weird to me that no scientist, engineer, professor, author, athlete, artist etc has ever tried to invoke that.
  25. alice73

    alice73 New Member

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    It's not just a figure skating medal. It's an Olympic medal, possibly gold, in team event. Tran would be getting it for the country of Japan, not just for himself. It's unlikely that Japan will have another chance of team gold, as they don't have any other pairs to represent them. The medal would bring to Japan what Yu-na's gold brought to Korea: Olympic glory and national pride.
  26. ponta1

    ponta1 New Member

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    Regardless of whether Tran obtains citizenship or not, I hope he and Narumi stay together. They are an awesome couple on the ice, and I don't know if either would have the same chemistry with another partner.
  27. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

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    are you still thinking of WTT ? :confused:

    btw the format is 1 per discipline in the Olympics Team Event unlike at WTT that made up of 2 per singles skater. and No Japan will not be a lock for gold even if Tran gets to compete for Japan, Japan doesn't even have a legit Ice Dance team.

    the more Tran won't even be considered for the citizenship
  28. alice73

    alice73 New Member

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    Yes, I know the format will be different @the Olympics. Even with 1 per discipline, Japan has an excellent chance to win gold, IMO. Their singles' field is deep, and their best skaters are planning to compete in Sochi, such as Takashi and Mao. To have 3 solid competitors out of 4 disciplines isn't bad at all.
  29. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Japan wouldn't be a lock for gold in Sochi, but that has less to do with the format of having only one man and one Ladies skater -- Kozuka and Murakami were both 6th of 12 -- but the field that attended for Russia was so weak, notwithstanding the win in Pairs, and they should have at least three with a shot at 1st or 2nd and I/K with at least 4th.

    If WTT had been scored using a single entry only, the standings would have been:

    JPN: 41
    USA: 39
    CAN: 36
    RUS: 32 -- Highest placement, B/L's 1st
    ITA: 32
    FRA: 31

    Under the single-score-per-discipline model, had Chan and V/M both won, they'd have beaten USA for silver on a tie-break, with 38 points each, but with both first places. Let's see what the ISU comes up with in scoring based on analyzing this season's results :sekret:

    I don't see the US having that much better results in two years, although the placements might shuffle, and Osmond could come through for Canada. The teams I'd expect to be in the final five are JPN (if they had a pairs team), USA, CAN, RUS, and CHN (with the young singles doing well) or FRA. I don't know if JPN would make it into final five without a pairs team, even if they won Ladies and Mens.


    The Reeds should be healthy again by Sochi; they might have a shot against H/Z of China, but I don't see them beating dance teams from RUS, USA, CAN, FRA (or GER, ITA).
  30. kirkbiggestfan

    kirkbiggestfan Well-Known Member

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    If only this situation would force Japan to start a serious pair program at home. Tran isn't much taller than a lot of the Japanese men at nationals. There is such a depth of talent in Japan that I don't see a reason why they could not replicate what is being done in China.
  31. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    I think that whether Japan with a Pairs team would have a chance numerically is how they award points. At WTT, the final (combined) placement determined the number of points, and coming in last in Pairs and Dance still earned 7 (of 12) points, with the placement based on total CoP points. With five teams instead of six, as long as JPN qualifies for the final, in this year's WTT scoring, the Reeds could be dead in the SD among 10 teams and dead last among five teams in the FD, and still earn eight points, only four less than the winner.

    Were they to change it based on total CoP points, or a combined awarded points from each segment, or factor the awarded points in the FS/FD, then finishing last in the FD might earn two points instead of eight, for example, which would be a different story for Japan and might place them out of the medals.
  32. NMURA

    NMURA Member

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    Most of those people would be satisfied with the permanent residence status in Japan. Columbia University Japanologist Donald Keene is one example. The citizenship is critical only for the Olympic athletes and WC footballers. There are some naturalization cases by Chinese table tennis players or Brazilian footballers, but they had lived in Japan for more than 5 years to make applications.
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  33. Belinda

    Belinda Member

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    I thought Donald Keene decided to live in Japan as a Japanese citizen to show solidarity with Japanese people following the tsunami & Fukushima disaster. I think he would be happy to die with fellow Japanese in the event of a mega quake in Tokyo. I found a piece on his acquiring citizenship.
    http://www.japanprobe.com/2012/03/09/donald-keene-japanese-citizen/
  34. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    She has lived in Germany for 3 years by then and even though it has been expedited IIRC, it wasn't a free pass and she had to work hard for it passing language tests, etc.

    They are slowly starting Ice Dance and Pairs programs.
  35. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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    :roll eyes:. Personally I think it's sad that people can't compete at Olympics, which is arguably a higher goal than a world championship. Regarding the Tanith line I was joking and totally followed that drama, including the opposition teams mother getting involved to stop it. Regarding this incident, all I've said is I think it is a sad situation. I understand the logic behind it, still doesn't stop it from being a sad situation.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
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  36. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    But the issue is whether Tran's competitive record constitutes special distinguished service to Japan. His partner and he have won a bronze medal at Worlds but never finished on the podium at Four Continents. Their accomplishments aren't particularly extraordinary even when compared to other Japanese figure skaters such as Arakawa, Suguri, Suzuki, Hanyu, Daisuke Takahashi, all of whom have also won at least one medal at Worlds.

    And, let's be honest. Ws're all figure skating fans here, but if winning a bronze medal at a World Championships constitutes "distinguished service to Japan," then any number of other things do too, and it's not just Tran who deserves citizenship.

    So, to be fair, the Japanese Government needs to choose between saying no to Tran and saying yes to many others as well. That's a political question, not a legal one.
  37. magnolia

    magnolia New Member

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    I'm not sure what the Japanese government will decide regarding this issue, but it could be rationalized as follows. It is not unreasonable to see representing Japan at the Olympic Games as 'distinguished service to Japan'. Therefore, Mervin will be conferred citizenship. Henceforth, all elite athletes who have the prerequisite athletic abilities to be competitive at the Olympic Games and who express the desire to represent Japan will be given Japanese citizenship by the Secretary of Justice. If explained in this way, Mervin is not an exception, he is a precedent.

    Incidentally, this kind of getting citizenship is not something that Mervin actually has to make a request for. It is a procedure where the Secretary decides to give citizenship without there being an official request being made. (i.e., it's like saying 'Surprise! We give you citizenship rights to Japan as an honorary present which you may or may not want.') This means that no one, including Mervin, can actually ASK for citizenship. Very strange, but that's how it's couched. (This also means that if and when the Secretary presents Mervin with the choice to take up Japanese citizenship, it is perfectly reasonable for him to say at that point "thanks, but no thanks"'.) (So in total, no one has the right to ask/demand the Secretary of Justice to give him citizenship, but if the Secretary decides to present citizenship rights to someone because s/he has provided special distinguished service to Japan, then this person has the right to accept or refuse it.)

    Also, there have been other athletes of other nationalities who got Japanese citizenship and represented Japan in Olympics. These athletes were able to get their Japanese citizenship without intervention from Secretary/DIET because they fulfilled the regular requirement for getting citizenship, such as having lived in Japan for over 5 years prior to making an application.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  38. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Except that he's never represented Japan at the Olympics and, for all we know, may never do so even if he gets citizenship.

    I don't know exactly what the laws and regulations say in Japanese, but the English translations seem to indicate that the "distinguished service to Japan" would be something that had already happened, not something that granting Japanese citizenship would make possible.
  39. Ajax

    Ajax New Member

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    Exactly what I was trying to say. Somebody mentioned national pride as being a benefit of getting an Olympic medal, which fine, but I'm sure there are tons of people in sciences, military, humanitarian work etc who provide real, tangible economic benefits to the country, and do this every day, not just once every four years. As much as I love figure skating, I would never argue that Tran's medal should be valued above the work these people are doing, and I'm sure the Japanese government has the same opinion when it comes to determining what is "distinguished service"!
  40. query5

    query5 New Member

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    news to me i thought he was already japanese citizen.