Bolstering family ties

PHILIPPINE Nikkei Jin Kai Inc. (PNJKI) continues with its mission in bolstering ties between the Japanese government and Davao-born Japanese descendants by sending them to Japan and experience life that awaits them there.

However, PNJKI president Antonina Escovilla said there is a decrease of immigrant population this year as most of the descendants recognized by the organization were already sent to Japan.

From 1980 to present, they have recorded 5,000 Japanese descendants in the city wherein an estimated 80 percent of them are already in Japan. But the organization believes that there are many more unrecognized descendants especially those living in far-flung areas in the city.

“Since they live afar, they may not know about our organization,” Escovilla said.

There are still around a hundred claiming to be descendants whose genealogy are still being verified for lack of documents to prove that they are indeed of Japanese descent.

“For instance, I claim that I am a child of a Japanese national but the only information I have is the first name of my Japanese father. Then that would be difficult for our partners in Japan to look for the ascendant unless it is a full name,” she said.

Escovilla said the Japanese government has been helping their organization in interviewing the persons concerned. Once they assessed the testimonies of the descendant that is yet to be verified, they can recommend to the court that the claim of the descendant is valid.

As a non-government agency, PNJKI is being supported financially by Nippon Foundation from Japan in doing research and assessment operations among listed descendants in the city. The foundation also provides financial assistance for Filipino descendants who have to hire Japanese lawyers in bringing their immigration application to court as this requires a big amount of money.

“Last August, our legal team went to Calinan to do a field work for a particular descendant who was listed as among those who are waiting for their verification. We go to them instead of asking them to go to our office because we do not want them to spend extra cost especially those who are underprivileged,” Escovilla said.

Meanwhile, the organization also calls for those descendants who are already in Japan to keep in touch with them through responding to the organization’s letters and online messages.

“In every 100 descendants that we send to Japan every year, only 10 of them maintained their relationship with us. It is important for us to asses them to see how they are doing in their stay in Japan or if there are problems they have encountered. But it seems like most of them, particularly the young adults, do not care about us anymore,” she said.

In the previous years, Escovilla and PNJKIS Director Ines Mallari went to Japan and visited the companies where the Davao-born descendants are working. However, it was found out that some have already transferred to new jobs or even other towns and cities.

Despite this, Escovilla said PNJKI will continue its fostering mission towards the recognition of Japanese government to the Davao-born descendants and provide them the due they are entitled to have as a Japanese descendants.


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