Photo/IllutrationRenho, leader of the Democratic Party, explains her dual citizenship issue at a news conference in Tokyo on July 18. (Naoko Kawamura)

Democratic Party President Renho released official documents to confirm that she has renounced her Taiwanese citizenship in the hope of putting the lingering controversy to rest.

She also hopes the move will reinvigorate her party’s sagging political fortunes after the dual citizenship issue was blamed by some for poor showings at the polls.

But her action was slammed by some experts who suggested it could fuel racism and discrimination by setting a precedent for top politicians feeling obliged to reveal personal information on their origin.

Renho, 49, was born in Japan to a Taiwanese father and Japanese mother. At a news conference on July 18, she presented six pieces of paper to clarify her status as a Japanese citizen.

Among the documents were part of a family register showing her Japanese nationality selection declaration, dated Oct. 7, 2016, a certificate issued by Taiwan permitting her to renounce her Taiwanese citizenship, and Justice Ministry correspondence.

“Family register documents should not be disclosed under normal circumstances, but it is not good that the credibility of the president of the Democratic Party has been eroding (due to the nationality issue),” she said at the news conference. “I decided to disclose the documents, in light of my position to pursue the accountability of the administration.”

When she ran for the presidential election of the party last year, she claimed she has been Japanese since she was born and had given up her Taiwanese citizenship.

But she was forced to change her story several times after reports emerged that her Taiwanese citizenship was not officially renounced.

Renho consequently took steps to renounce her Taiwanese citizenship and swear Japanese nationality.

But demands have persisted on the Internet that Renho should disclose official documents confirming her choice to be Japanese.

The nationality issue was rekindled after her party’s poor showing in the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election on July 2.

Some party members blamed her dual citizenship issue as part of the reason behind the party’s disastrous performance.

But her party is split over the wisdom of her decision to present publicly such sensitive documents.

Ryusuke Kin, a lawyer and the head of the association of ethnic Korean lawyers, expressed concerns over the ramifications of Renho’s action at a news conference on July 18 with academics and other lawyers.

“It will inevitably generate calls questioning if it is all right to let people with foreign roots become politicians,” he said.

Yasushi Kawaguchi, who heads the secretariat of the Yamaguchi Prefecture Human Rights Education Center, a private organization, said the shared understanding today is that personal information that could lead to discrimination should not be released.

“Individuals who are under special circumstances such as being children born outside of marriage are afraid of releasing their family register,” said Kawaguchi, who has been involved in movements to end discrimination against descendants of feudal-era outcasts.

“Renho’s decision is tantamount to caving in to a view that, ‘If you cannot go public (with personal information), you must have something to hide.' "