Saso opts for Japanese citizenship


THE Philippines lost a gem after reigning US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso announced on Wednesday her decision to choose Japanese citizenship when she turns 22 on June 20, 2023.

Japanese laws allow its people with dual citizenship to choose their nationality when they turn 22.

Saso was born to a Japanese father and a Filipino mother in San Ildefonso, Bulacan.

“I chose Japan because of its nationality law,” Saso told Yahoo News Japan on Wednesday. “I have in my heart that I am both Japanese and Filipino no matter which one I choose.”

“I am full of gratitude for being able to play in Japan again,” said Saso, a two-time winner in the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.

Saso won individual and team gold medals at the Jakarta 2018  Asian Games and represented the Philippines at the Tokyo Olympics along with Bianca Pagdanganan and Juvic Pagunsan.

Saso returns to the Japanese Tour in the Toto Japan Classic that starts on Thursday in Shiga Prefecture.

Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said he wasn’t surprised with Saso’s decision.

“We all knew it’s coming, it’s the power of the passport and incentives including sponsorship,” Tolentino said. “Plus benefits from the Japanese government like health care, social security and the best passport in the world—she needs to play around the world.”

Image courtesy of AP

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