MANILA, Philippines -- Yuka Saso's chief backer has pledged to continue supporting the golfer even after she chose her Japanese citizenship.
The International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) on Thursday said they respect Saso's decision to choose her Japanese citizenship, a requirement for Japanese with dual citizenship before they turn 22.
Saso was born to a Filipino mother and a Japanese father in Bulacan, and has been representing the Philippines in international tournaments including the Asian Games and the Tokyo Olympics. In June, she became the first Filipino to win a major golf tournament when she ruled the U.S. Women's Open.
"Our support for her goes beyond her citizenship preference because of her outstanding talent and achievements," ICTSI said in a statement.
"Yuka has truly evolved to become a global icon, and we are proud to be a part of her journey," the company added. "Her unparalleled dedication and determination are in line with ICTSI's commitment to excel and break barriers."
Saso on Thursday thanked her supporters in both the Philippines and Japan for their understanding of her decision.
Representing the Philippines, Saso won individual and team gold in the 2018 Asian Games, where she played with bronze medalist Bianca Pagdanganan and LK Go.
"I am immensely proud of my dual heritage and that will never change," Saso said, even as she confirmed that she is in the process of "acquiring Japanese citizenship."
Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), has noted that a Japanese passport will have its benefits for Saso as she competes in the LPGA in the United States.
ICTSI, in its statement, acknowledged the same.
"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.