What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Question about inheritance and Citizenship


13 Dec 2016
Reaction score
Hi, and apologies for a "not fun" topic and question. This is a cool site, by the way.

I am a US citizen born in Japan (gave up my Japanese passport long ago), currently living in US. I have parents living in Japan that I am not very close to, and do not know very well. My sister, who also lives in Japan, recently contacted me about whether I want to receive inheritance (assets or debts) from my parents should they pass away. I do not even know what assets and debts (if any) my parents, have, but am actually not interested in inheriting anything from my parents. I read online that in Japan, children of deceased parents automatically inherit both assets and debts. Is this true regardless of the citizenship of the children? Or does that only apply to children that are also Japanese citizens? I am apparently still on my parent's "koseki" (family registry). In general, how does Japanese laws of inheritance apply to children that are not Japanese citizens?

Thank you for any input. I should probably ask a lawyer, if anyone here knows of a good, english speaking lawyer with expertise in these matter, that would be greatly appreciated!

Hopefully, my next post will be a more entertaining one.....



Just me
20 Aug 2003
Reaction score
You said you gave up your Japanese passport. Does that mean one of your parents (father from the sounds of things) is American and one is Japanese? I'm thinking that if the non-Japanese parent wills things to you, it will likely be using a non-Japanese law system.

As for lawyer in Japan who speaks English, which city do your parents live (and presumably, but not necessarily) have that koseki registered?

Some English information for starters:
Will in Japan | Japanese Will | Inheritance Tax Laws
Decease and Inheritance case in Japan

Mike Cash

15 Mar 2002
Reaction score
Does that mean one of your parents (father from the sounds of things) is American and one is Japanese?

At his age, he would not have been able to acquire Japanese nationality if his father were not Japanese.

Yosha Bunko


24 Jan 2017
Reaction score

Even if a person does not have Japanese nationality, he has right to inherit property.

If he wants to renounce inheritance, he needs to renounce it within 3 months from the date that he founds inheritee's ( his father )death.

If he does not renounce it, he can not renounce any more.

If inheritee has real estate in Japan ( even if inheritee is not Japanese national ), law of Japan governs the inheritance.

When he has sister who lives in Japan, she may want to inherit the real estate.

In order to change registration of real estate to her, your certificate of signature, agreement paper of division of real estate is necessary.

In the case he was former Japanese national, he can visit embassy of Japan in America and make these documents.
Top Bottom