Tran Aiming to Obtain Japanese Citizenship

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

  1. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known 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?
     
  2. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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

    Belinda Member

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  4. 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.
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. ponta1

    ponta1 Active 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.
     
  7. 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
     
  8. 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.
     
  9. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

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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).
     
  10. 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.
     
  11. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

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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.
     
  12. 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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  13. 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/
     
  14. 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.
     
  15. 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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  16. 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.
     
  17. 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
  18. 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.
     
  19. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known 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"!
     
  20. query5

    query5 New Member

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    news to me i thought he was already japanese citizen.
     
  21. magnolia

    magnolia New Member

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    Mervin has been a JOC Certified Athlete for the past 4 years (I think?) and representing Japan at international figure skating events with good results, thereby having already provided distinguished service to Japan. In the wake of him getting citizenship, he would be able to represent Japan at Olympics, which is the highest honor any athlete could provide for their country. (And barring injury, as Mervin and Narumi are the only pairs that Japan has that has any viable chance of placing well, they will almost automatically go to the Olympics.)

    Also, the question re: why individuals in other fields haven't gotten citizenship. Well, firstly, I don't think Japanese gov't has ever encountered an individual who 'provides distinguished service to Japan' begging for Japanese citizen ASAP, so they have probably never had occasion to invoke this law. Secondly, with other occupations, surely it becomes more difficult to justify that their work benefits only Japan? (e.g., Let's say a doctor invents a super pill that cures all cancer. This pill will benefit all people no matter their nationality, not just Japan.)

    So, yeah, sure there are other individuals that the gov't would love to become their citizen, but becoming a Japanese citizen ain't everyone's cup of tea, you know? At most, under most occasions, people only ask for permanent residency and that's what they get. Mervin, too, I'm sure, doesn't feel fervent loyalty to Japan (unlike Donald Keene, who is a rarity) but just needs citizenship because he wants to participate in the Olympics. If only IOC wasn't so strict, this wouldn't be a problem to begin with.
     
  22. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

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    If Tran wants to try, let him try. Perhaps a compromise could be reached. Takahashi/ Tran are very young, and could be counted as strong possible contenders in 2018, as well as 2014. Perhaps Mervin should aim for 2018. Perhaps, considering their coaching situation, a residency requirement could be relaxed and Tran could be required to be in Japan a certain number of days per year, as well as mastering the language and passing some citizenship/ law test; or , like some professions in the US, he could be asked to provide service to Japan after he retires ( for example, sign a contract to teach there for 2 years after retirement to help develop Japan- based Pairs program). Who knows? He'll never succeed if he does not try.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  23. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    This sums up why Tran isn't ever going to get citizenship for "distinguished service," even if he and his partner win the next five World Championships.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  24. walei

    walei Well-Known Member

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    So another question... why didn't they consider to skate for Canada when they first start pairing together? It seems it would be easier for Narumi to get Canadian citizenship than Mervin getting Japanese.
     
  25. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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    Just a guess but Canada has a reputation for relatively strong pairs teams. Where as Japan on the other hand...
     
  26. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that winning a bronze medal meets the requirement for extraordinary service to Japan. If it does, that is setting the bar rather low. I guess citizenship means little to some these days, if they are willing to forfeit
    their own citizenship so capriciously. The two skaters and whoever advised them created this dilemma. They knew the rules. Consider yourselves fortunate you got to compete at worlds.
     
  27. magnolia

    magnolia New Member

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    Athletes swapping countries to participate in the Olympics is so common, when a Japanese television company inquired the IOC to quote them a figure of such cases, the response they got was that it was so innumerable IOC didn't know. (When the television commentator was told this by his partner, he said 'What do you mean? They don't know if the figure is thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands?' And he said 'Well, yes, it must be a very large figure.')

    If Mervin were offered and chose to accept Japanese citizenship for the sake of participating in the Olympics, he would only be doing what countless number of other athletes have already done in other countries.

    If you ask me, there's only a very thin line separating a kind of national identity that is fruitful and productive and that which leads to jingoism and hatred of others.
     
  28. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Magnolia, it is very common: between 1992 and 2008, there were about fifty athletes that have immigrated to the United States to compete on the US Olympic team after having previously competed for another nation. Recently teams from Bahrain and Qatar have been almost exclusively made up of foreign-born athletes. However, does the practice being so prevalent justify it, considering the mature of the Olympics?

    Maybe the world situation is such that athletes should no longer be considered country-
    centric. That would complicate choosing the competitors but it is certainly doable. For now maybe some wild card entrants who represent no particular country.
     
  29. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    How can you say something like that?

    Do you realise what it means to be a competitive athlete at this level?

    Waking up every day to train for hours, dealing with a lot of pain and exhaustion, sacrificing your life which to a smaller or larger extent has to revolve around your sport for you to be successful.

    Given all the above, how is wanting to compete at the most important and prestigious sporting event there is capricious?

    They competed at Worlds (and very succesfully as well) because they earned their place with all their hard work.

    There is nothing 'fortunate' about it.
     
  30. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    :bribe:

    High ambitions for Takahashi and Tran

    Clearly, the Japanese Federation was willing to invest a significant amount of money in Narumi Takahashi's career. I can't imagine that Skate Canada would have paid anywhere near as much to bankroll the career of a young Canadian man who had no prior experience in pairs and a foreigner who might never try to obtain Canadian citizenship.