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  1. #81
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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.

  2. #82

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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 by dinakt; 04-25-2012 at 04:40 AM.
    improving my ballad- like lines

  3. #83
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    Japan ≠ Azerbaijan

    Quote Originally Posted by magnolia View Post
    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.
    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 by Vagabond; 04-25-2012 at 07:54 AM.

  4. #84
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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.

  5. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by walei View Post
    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.
    Just a guess but Canada has a reputation for relatively strong pairs teams. Where as Japan on the other hand...
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


  6. #86
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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.

  7. #87
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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.

  8. #88
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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.

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman View Post
    I guess citizenship means little to some these days, if they are willing to forfeit their own citizenship so capriciously.
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman View Post
    Consider yourselves fortunate you got to compete at worlds.
    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.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by walei View Post
    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.


    High ambitions for Takahashi and Tran

    Like many boys in Canada, Tran was put on to the ice by his parents to play hockey. “But at the hockey camp, the coach said that we need to learn to skate before we start playing hockey,” he recalled. “So we went into the “CanSkate” program that we have in Canada. After I did all the levels, I just started figure skating.” And he stuck with it and skated singles in Saskatchewan.

    Meanwhile, Takahashi moved to China when she was nine years old as her father started working there. She continued as a single skater, but soon discovered pairs. “I saw Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao and other pairs,” she explained. “I liked them. Also, to do pairs in China has a very high status.” She switched to pairs when she was 12 and skated for one year with a Chinese, Yu Gao.

    However, in order to pursue her career, Takahashi and the Japanese Federation decided that she should move to Canada. “I knew that Richard (Gauthier) was a very good coach. He had Olympic Champions. I chose Canada because of Richard. The (Japanese) federation asked me ‘how about Richard’. I said, ‘I know that coach. Let’s find a partner in Canada,’” the lively skater summed up. She moved with her mom to Montreal in 2007.
    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.

  11. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    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.
    Actually, unlike in the USA, Canada or Russia where you have to earn your place on the team, Takahashi and Tran are the only pairs team from Japan so their place on the worlds teams was a lock. Winning a bronze because two Russian and two Chinese teams did poorly at Worlds was fortunate and if they learn anything from Dube and Davison a medal is much harder to defend than win. Only time will tell if they are good enough to keep the streak going.

  12. #92
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    The issue of changing citizenship should entail far greater consideration than athletic endeavors. Under Japanese law, if Tran were to be granted citizenship, he would be required to renounce his Canadian citizenship. That's a life decision, and a BIG deal - or it should be a big deal. He has never lived in Japan, and doesn't understand the language at even a rudimentary level. He certainly seems to be a fine young man who has demonstrated distinguished service to his sport and his partner. I doubt the Japanese government sees that as translating into distinguished service to Japan. Acquiring citizenship in Japan is notoriously difficult. In Tran's case, I imagine the government would find granting citizenship far more meritorious if, over the course of the last four years, he had demonstrated an intense desire to LIVE as a Japanese man, not just skate as one. I take nothing away from Tran, his accomplishments, and his positive contributions to the Japanese Skating Federation. Representing team Japan at the highest, most gentlemanly level, however, is in and of itself not citizenship worthy.

  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by julieann View Post
    Actually, unlike in the USA, Canada or Russia where you have to earn your place on the team, Takahashi and Tran are the only pairs team from Japan so their place on the worlds teams was a lock.
    No, it was not a lock.

    JSF doesn't send low level teams to ISU events.

    Quote Originally Posted by julieann View Post
    Winning a bronze because two Russian and two Chinese teams did poorly at Worlds was fortunate and if they learn anything from Dube and Davison a medal is much harder to defend than win. Only time will tell if they are good enough to keep the streak going.
    They won bronze because they skated two very strong programs.

    Quote Originally Posted by sk8kat View Post
    The issue of changing citizenship should entail far greater consideration than athletic endeavors. Under Japanese law, if Tran were to be granted citizenship, he would be required to renounce his Canadian citizenship. That's a life decision, and a BIG deal - or it should be a big deal.
    Is it not possible to get Canadian citizenship back?

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    Is it not possible to get Canadian citizenship back?
    It is possible. According to this article, which was published when Conrad Black, who had renounced his Canadian citizenship, wanted it back, it's likely that Tran could regain it as an immigrant by applying for Permanent Residency -- not sure of the class, and therefore, processing time -- living in Canada for a year as a PR, and then applying for citizenship, which, as of now, has a 19-month lead time under normal processing a 26-month processing time for resumption of citizenship (according to the CIC site).
    "'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney

  15. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post

    Is it not possible to get Canadian citizenship back?
    Yes, he could get it back.
    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/renounce.asp

    As per this document, he would have to apply and go through the normal immigration process to become a citizen again. He would certainly be accepted, obtain permanent residency, and reside in Canada while waiting for the citizenship to be reinstated.

    ETA: Here's a document about resuming citizenship. Conrad Black's criminal convictions would have complicated his case, and could arguably have prevented getting citizenship back.
    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizen...ligibility.asp
    Last edited by flowerpower; 04-26-2012 at 01:45 AM.

  16. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    No, it was not a lock.

    JSF doesn't send low level teams to ISU events.


    Really Ziggy…

    Who else was Japan going to send? Japan has no other pair’s team that's why T/T has won the pairs competition in Japan for FOUR YEARS STRAIGHT. That's probably what they chose to represent Japan in the first place. So they had a easy road to competition, it wouldn't have been so easy if they were Canadian.

    It's easy to win a competition at nationals when you are the only one competing! Sending them to worlds was a no brainer! Even for you!

    They won bronze because they skated two very strong programs.
    As I said before; T/T did a good job but P/T, B/L, S/H and K/S all had major mistakes. If one or more of those teams would have hit T/T would have not won a medal.

    Sometimes it's about who wins not about who fails.

  17. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by julieann View Post


    Really Ziggy…

    Who else was Japan going to send? Japan has no other pair’s team that's why T/T has won the pairs competition in Japan for FOUR YEARS STRAIGHT. That's probably what they chose to represent Japan in the first place. So they had a easy road to competition, it wouldn't have been so easy if they were Canadian.

    It's easy to win a competition at nationals when you are the only one competing! Sending them to worlds was a no brainer! Even for you!



    As I said before; T/T did a good job but P/T, B/L, S/H and K/S all had major mistakes. If one or more of those teams would have hit T/T would have not won a medal.

    Sometimes it's about who wins not about who fails.
    Did you even read what Ziggy said? Japan does not send low level teams, meaning if the standard of the pairs team was not at a high enough calibre they would not get sent. To laugh and patronise Ziggy is really not very polite.
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


  18. #98

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    As I said before; T/T did a good job but P/T, B/L, S/H and K/S all had major mistakes. If one or more of those teams would have hit T/T would have not won a medal.

    Sometimes it's about who wins not about who fail.
    Yes, but they are only 20/21. At that age Pairs are rarely more than "promising", and T/T are already World medalists. If they are lucky, have health on their side and can get jumps more consistent ( not impossible at their age), they could become S/S of next generation, and the first Japanese Pair of international prominence. Considering how popular skating is in Japan, it is an important task.
    improving my ballad- like lines

  19. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by julieann View Post

    As I said before; T/T did a good job but P/T, B/L, S/H and K/S all had major mistakes. If one or more of those teams would have hit T/T would have not won a medal.

    Sometimes it's about who wins not about who fails.
    Would have, could have, should have.....it's what you do in the moment that counts. Takahashi Tran rightfully earned their bronze.

  20. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzisk8tr View Post
    Did you even read what Ziggy said? Japan does not send low level teams, meaning if the standard of the pairs team was not at a high enough calibre they would not get sent. To laugh and patronise Ziggy is really not very polite.
    Yes, Ziggy is correct. Japan had 4 senior dance teams compete at nationals and 1 junior team. Only Reed/Reed got internationals. Some of the other teams scored quite reasonably, many other countries would have sent them.

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