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    Yuka Saso: 'Proud of my dual heritage and that will never change'

    Nov 4, 2021
    PHOTO: AP

    YUKA Saso confirmed on Thursday she has started the process of switching to Japanese citizenship, but insisted she will always be proud of her Filipino heritage.

    In a statement, the 20-year old major golf winner confirmed reports by multiple Japanese media outlets on Wednesday that she has made the decision to switch to comply with a citizenship choice mandated by Japan's Nationality Law.

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    "Under Japanese law, prior to turning 22 years old, I have to choose between Japanese and Filipino citizenship," she said. "I will be turning 22 years old on 20 June 2023 and, after much thought and consultation with my family, friends and advisors, I have begun the process of acquiring Japanese citizenship."

    Despite the switch, Saso, who won two Asian Games gold medal and a historic major championship at the US Women's Open while flying the flag of the Philippines, said she is a Filipina and 'that will never change.'

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    "I am a Filipina, born in the Philippines to a Japanese father and Filipino mother. I was raised in both Japan and the Philippines. I am immensely proud of my dual heritage and that will never change," she said.

    Switch sparks online debate

    Her switch of allegience has sparked debate online, but golf officials and her sponsors stood by her side over what National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP) secretary-general Bones Floro described as a 'business decision.'

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    On Friday, Saso's main sponsor, billionaire Ricky Razon's ICTSI, reaffirmed its support for the world No. 6, saying their support "goes beyond her citizenship choice."

    "Yuka Saso was born and raised in the Philippines and will always be a Filipino. But being a global golf star, it is more convenient to be a Japanese citizen, and unfortunately Japan law does not allow dual citizenship," the company said.

    "[We] respect Yuka’s choice of citizenship. Our support for her goes beyond her citizenship preference because of her outstanding talent and achievements."

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      Saso sought understanding and continued support from fans of both countries.

      "Thank you for respecting my choice. I am grateful to both my Filipino and Japanese supporters. I would not have achieved anything in my career without your support. I look forward to making you proud as I continue with my professional golfing career.

      "Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!"

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      PHOTO: AP
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