Tennis star Naomi Osaka gives up U.S. citizenship to represent Japan at Tokyo Olympics

The dual citizen has already begun the process of renouncing her U.S. citizenship.
Naomi Osaka
Japan's Naomi Osaka during the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne on Jan. 21, 2019.Aaron Favila / AP

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By Kimmy Yam

Naomi Osaka hopes to represent Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The tennis star, who has dual citizenship from the U.S. and Japan, revealed Thursday that she has already begun the process of renouncing her U.S. citizenship in order to do so.

Osaka, whose mother is Japanese and father is Haitian, made the initial announcement during an interview with Japanese broadcast organization NHK.

"It's definitely going to be very special. I think there's no other place that I'd rather play my first Olympics,” Osaka, who currently ranks no. 3 in the world, told the outlet. “I think that will be one of the most memorable things that ever happens to me."

Under a 1985 Japanese law, dual citizens are required to make a “declaration of choice,” renouncing one of their citizenships before their 22nd birthday, which Osaka herself will be celebrating next week.

To be eligible to play for Japan at the Olympics, the tennis player must also compete for the country in one more national team competition hosted by the International Tennis Federation, according to the Japanese Tennis Association.

Osaka has represented the country during the World Tennis Association Tour. She took home her second consecutive win at the China Open this past Sunday under the Japanese flag.

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