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Tran Aiming to Obtain Japanese Citizenship

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

  1. flowerpower

    flowerpower Well-Known Member

    I suspect that Mervin is very tied to his Canadian citizenship, since he was born here, has always lived and trained here, and has a serious girlfriend in Montreal. He might, though, be willing to give it up temporarily, since he could probably get it back fairly easily.

    Narumi has lived and trained in Canada for quite a few years, so she has had residency for a long time. Her application for Canadian citizenship could probably be expedited. As I understand it, the problem is that if she gave up her Japanese citizenship (as Japan would require her to do, since they do not permit dual citizenship), it would be very hard to get back. She may not be willing to do that.
  2. walei

    walei Well-Known Member

    I don't know how the Japanese public/media would feel if Narumi gave up her Japanese citizenship and skate for Canada. Had they done this before becoming more high profile it would be okay but now that they are World Bronze Medalists situation may be different.

    Has there been any skaters in the same situation in the past? Switching countries after they become high profile?
  3. Roxanne

    Roxanne Member

    Wouldn't they have to sit out a whole season if they switched to Canada?
  4. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Sure. I think the prime example is Julia Soldatova, who was a World Bronze Medalist for Russia before switching to Belarus. The pairs skater Tatiana Volosozhar finished fourth for Ukraine at Euros four times before switching partners and and skating for Russia. Others I can think of (depending on your definition of "high profile") include Elena Berezhnaya and Fedor Andreev (who switched disciplines as well as countries).

    Two whole seasons, just like a singles skater who switches countries, which is why they are very unlikely to do it. The one-season rule for pairs and dance doesn't apply when both partners are switching federations.
  5. Roxanne

    Roxanne Member

    Okay. That confirms that it's impossible for them to go to Sochi. oh well. The Olympics is just one event. Hopefully, Japan will get another pair soon.
  6. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    Robin Szolkowy is 5'9"

    Ask Yuko Kavaguti, the reason she skated for Russia is because getting her former partner Japanese citizenship was impossible.
  7. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

    Two words: Tanith Belbin.

    Seriously though, I hope he can, though it is doubtful. So sad for skaters who love their sport and work so hard can miss out on that Olympic dream because they don't fit a certain criteria. Politics and sport should never mix, like religion and politics. That's my opinion anyway.
  8. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    There are different visas under which someone can live and train in Canada. She may or may not have a Permanent Resident visa, which is the pre-requisite for citizenship, and most other visas take far less paperwork, effort, and money.

    In one of the threads about Yuko Kavaguti, someone wrote that Kavaguti could request her Japanese citizenship back ten years after she relinquished it.

    I don't remember Smirnov saying he'd be willing to give up his Russian citizenship to skate for Japan in the Olympics. I might have missed this.

    5'9" is rounding up for both Szolkowy and Tran, since they are listed at 175cm on their official bios.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  9. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

  10. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Ten words: Japanese citizenship regulations are a lot tougher than American ones.

    I believe julieann was referring to Yuko's previous partner Alexander Markuntsov. They medalled at Junior World's representing Japan.
    Ozzisk8tr and (deleted member) like this.
  11. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

    the Summary to this thread
    END OF DISCUSSION. period !

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

    Polymer Bob New Member

    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.
  15. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    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
  17. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. magnolia

    magnolia New Member

    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.
  19. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

    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?
  20. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

    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.
  21. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    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.
  22. minignome

    minignome Member

    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?
  23. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    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.
  24. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

    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.
  25. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    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.
  26. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    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.
    Kasey and (deleted member) like this.
  27. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    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?
  28. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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

    Ajax Well-Known Member

    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.
    LilJen and (deleted member) like this.
  30. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    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.