Naomi Osaka Is Giving up Her US Citizenship to Play for Japan in 2020 Tokyo Olympics

In response to a Japanese law concerning dual citizens, Naomi Osaka has begun the process of renouncing her US citizenship to retain her Japanese status.  The two-time grand slam champion also intends to compete for Japan during next year's Olympics.

Naomi Osaka has decided to relinquish her US citizenship in favor of representing her home country during next year’s Olympics.

"I think I will be able to put more of my emotion into it by playing for the pride of the country."

Naomi Osaka during a press conference in Japan in 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

Naomi Osaka during a press conference in Japan in 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

DECLARING HER CHOICE

Osaka, who is currently a dual citizen of the US and Japan has reportedly begun processing the renouncement of her US citizenship in order to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She made the announcement during an interview with the Japanese station, NHK

The two-time grand slam champion turns 22 on October 16 and in response to a 1985 Japanese law requiring dual citizens to make a declaration of choice by their 22nd birthday, Osaka opted for her Japanese citizenship.

ON PLAYING FOR JAPAN NEXT YEAR

Her move to drop her US citizenship is also influenced by her interest to play for Japan in next year’s Olympic games which will be her first. 

But before she can represent her mother’s home country in the popular international sports event, she must first compete for another Japanese national team hosted by the International Tennis Federation, according to an article released by Bossip

She previously represented Japan during the World Tennis Association and won for the country at the China Open last weekend.

The young sportswoman who grew up in Florida is consequently a star in Japan and affectionately known there as "Naomi-chan." However, she also faces backlash due to her popularity and dual race.

 

Osaka, whose father is Haitian told NHK that it would give her a “special feeling” to be able to play for Japan during the Olympics. 

“I think there's no other place that I'd rather play my first Olympics," Osaka told the publication as transcribed by Yahoo News. "I think that will be one of the most memorable things that ever happens to me."

She added, "I think I will be able to put more of my emotion into it by playing for the pride of the country," as reported by CNN

 OSAKA'S HIGHEST ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR

Osaka is currently ranked No. 3 as a singles player in the WTA. Her first historic win was in the 2018 US Open when she beat Serena Williams and became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title. 

She earned her second Grand Slam title when she defeated Petra Kvitova during this year’s Australian Open making her the first Asian number one player. 

Naomi Osaka kissing her trophy after winning the Women's Singles Final during the 2019 Australian Open. | Photo: Getty Images

Naomi Osaka kissing her trophy after winning the Women's Singles Final during the 2019 Australian Open. | Photo: Getty Images

THE BACKLASH THAT COMES WITH HER DUAL RACE

The young sportswoman who grew up in Florida is consequently a star in Japan and affectionately known there as "Naomi-chan." However, she also faces backlash due to her popularity and dual race. 

A Japenese comedy duo recently joked about her skin color suggesting she needed "bleach," This resulted in their eventual apology for what was deemed as a racist remark.

In January, one of her sponsors, Nissin Foods, was accused of "whitewashing" its ad that featured the tennis superstar with pale skin. The company was forced to pull out the ad though it insisted that it was released with Osaka's approval. 

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