Encyclopedia of Private International Law
Show Less

Encyclopedia of Private International Law

Edited by Jürgen Basedow, Giesela Rühl, Franco Ferrari and Pedro de Miguel Asensio

The role and character of Private International Law has changed tremendously over the past decades. With the steady increase of global and regional inter-connectedness the practical significance of the discipline has grown. Equally, so has the number of legislative activities on the national, international and, most importantly, the European level. With a world-class editor team, 500 content items and authorship from almost 200 of the world’s foremost scholars, the Encyclopedia of Private International Law is the definitive reference work in the field. 57 different countries are represented by authors who shed light on the current state of Private International Law around the globe, providing unique insights into the discipline and how it is affected by globalization and increased regional integration. The Encyclopedia consists of three inter-linked pillars, enhanced by sophisticated search and cross-linking functionality. The first pillar consists of A-Z coverage of the scope and substance of Private International Law in the form of 247 entries. The second pillar comprises detailed overviews of the Private International Law regimes of 80 countries. The third pillar presents valuable, and often unique, English language translations of the national codifications and Private International Law provisions of those countries. This invaluable combination represents a powerful research tool and an indispensable reference resource.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
Limited access

Japan

Act on the General Rules of Application of Laws1

Act No 78 of 2006, Entry into force on January 1, 2007

Chapter 1 – General Provisions

Purpose Article 1

This Act shall provide for the general rules on the application of laws.

Chapter 2 – General Rules for Statutes

Effective Date of Acts Article 2

An act shall become effective on the twentieth day after its promulgation, unless otherwise provided for in such act.

Customs Having the Same Effect as Laws Article 3

Customs which are not incompatible with public order and good morals shall have the same effect as laws if they are authorized by provisions of statutes or statutory instruments, or concern matters not otherwise prescribed by such provisions.

Chapter 3 – General Rules for Governing Law

Section 1 – Persons

Capacity to Act Article 4

  • A person’s capacity to act is governed by his/her national law.

  • Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, a person shall be deemed to have the capacity to act, when he/she has the capacity to act under the law of the place of the act and all the parties of the juristic act are located in the same jurisdiction at the time of the act, even if he/she is a person with limited capacity under his/her own national law.

  • The preceding paragraph does not apply to either a juristic act which is governed by any law on family relationships or succession, or to a juristic act involving immovables which are not located in the same jurisdiction as that of the place of the act.p. 3377

Order for Commencement of Guardianship etc. Article 5

A court may issue an order for commencement of guardianship, curatorship or assistance (hereinafter referred to as an ‘order for commencement of guardianship etc.’) under Japanese law if the ward or person under curatorship or assistance is domiciled or resident in Japan or has Japanese nationality.

Adjudication of Disappearance Article 6

  • A court may make an adjudication of disappearance under Japanese law if an absentee was domiciled in Japan or had Japanese nationality at the time that he or she was last confirmed alive.

  • Even if the requirements provided for in the preceding paragraph are not satisfied, if an absentee has property in Japan, a court may make an adjudication of disappearance under Japanese law with regard to his/her property. Also, if an absentee has a legal relationship which either is governed by Japanese law or has some bearing on Japan in light of the nature of the legal relationship, his/her domicile and nationality and other circumstances, a court may make an adjudication of disappearance under Japanese law with regard to such a legal relationship.

Section 2 – Juristic Acts

Choice of Governing Law by the Parties Article 7

The formation and effect of a juristic act shall be governed by the law of the place which was chosen by the party/parties at the time when the act was made.

No Governing Law Chosen by the Parties Article 8

  • If there is no applicable law chosen by the party/parties as in the preceding article, the formation and effect of a juristic act shall be governed by the law of the place with which the act was most closely connected at the time the act was made.

  • In the case of the preceding paragraph, if the characteristic performance of a juristic act is to be made by one party, the law of his/her habitual residence (if the party has an establishment which is related to the juristic act, the law of the place where the establishment is located, and if the party has several establishments in different jurisdictions which are related to the juristic act, the law of the place where the principal establishment is located) is presumed to be the law of the place with which the juristic act is most closely connected.

  • Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, in applying paragraph 1, if the object of the juristic act is an immovable, the law of the place where the immovable is situated is presumed to be the law of the place with which the act is most closely connected.

Change of Governing Law by the Parties Article 9

The parties to a juristic act may change the law governing the formation and effect thereof. However, if the change of the governing law would prejudice the rights of a third party, the change may not be asserted against such third party.

Formalities of Juristic Acts Article 10

  • The formalities of a juristic act shall be governed by the law which applies to the formation of the act (if the applicable law is changed after the juristic act was made pursuant to the preceding article, it shall be governed by the law that was previously applicable).

  • p. 3378Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, a juristic act shall be formally valid if it conforms with the law of the place where the juristic act was made.

  • In applying the preceding paragraph, with regard to a declaration of intention to make a juristic act to a person who is in a different jurisdiction, the law of the place where the declaration was made is deemed to be the place where the juristic act was made.

  • The provisions of the preceding two paragraphs shall not be applicable to a contract concluded between persons who are in different jurisdictions. In this case, notwithstanding paragraph 1, the contract shall be formally valid if it conforms with the law of the place from which the notice of offer or that of acceptance has been sent.

  • The provisions of the preceding three paragraphs shall not be applicable to juristic acts which create or dispose of rights in rem to movables or immovables, or other rights requiring registration.

Special Rules for Consumer Contracts Article 11

  • Even if the law governing the formation and effect of a contract (except for a labor contract) that is concluded between a consumer (the term ‘consumer’ as used in this article means an individual who becomes a contractual party neither in nor for the purpose of business) and a business operator (the term ‘business operator’ as used in this article means a juridical person or other association or foundation, or an individual who becomes a contractual party in or for the purpose of business), which is referred to in the following provisions of this article as a ‘consumer contract’, is, according to a choice or change of governing law pursuant to Article 7 or Article 9 respectively, a law other than the law of the place where the consumer habitually resides, the specific mandatory rules in the law of the consumer’s habitual residence shall also apply to matters subject to such mandatory rules with regard to the formation and effect of the consumer contract, provided that the consumer expresses his/her will to the business operator to the effect that such mandatory rules should apply.

  • If the parties have not chosen a law to govern the formation and effect of their consumer contract pursuant to Article 7, the formation and effect of such consumer contract shall be, notwithstanding Article 8, subject to the law of the consumer’s habitual residence.

  • Even if a law other than the law of the consumer’s habitual residence has been chosen to govern the formation of a consumer contract pursuant to Article 7, the specific mandatory rules in the law of his/her habitual residence shall exclusively apply to matters subject to such mandatory rules with regard to the formalities of the consumer contract, notwithstanding paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 of the preceding article, provided that the consumer expresses his/her will to the business operator to the effect that such mandatory rules should apply.

  • If the law of the consumer’s habitual residence has been chosen to govern the formation of a consumer contract pursuant to Article 7, and if the consumer expresses his/her will to the business operator to the effect that the law of his/her habitual residence should exclusively apply to the formalities of the consumer contract, the formalities of the consumer contract shall be governed by the law of the consumer’s habitual residence, notwithstanding paragraphs 2 and 4 of the preceding article.

  • If the parties have not chosen a law to govern the formation of their consumer contract pursuant to Article 7, the formalities of the consumer contract shall be governed by the law of the consumer’s habitual residence, notwithstanding paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 of the preceding article.

  • The preceding paragraphs 1 through 5 are not applicable in any of the following cases:

    • the business operator’s establishment which relates to the consumer contract is located in a jurisdiction other than the jurisdiction of the consumer’s habitual residence, and the consumer goes to the jurisdiction of the business operator’s establishment and concludes a consumer contract in that jurisdiction; except where the consumer has been solicited by the business operator to conclude the consumer contract in that jurisdiction.

    • the business operator’s establishment which relates to the consumer contract is located in a jurisdiction other than the jurisdiction of the consumer’s habitual residence, and the consumer goes to the jurisdiction of the business operator’s establishment and receives or is to receive complete performance by the business operator in that jurisdiction; except where the consumer has been p. 3379solicited by the business operator to receive complete performance to be performed by the business operator in that jurisdiction.

    • at the time the consumer contract is concluded, the business operator is unaware of the location of the consumer’s habitual residence and has reasonable ground for such unawareness.

    • (iv) at the time the consumer contract is concluded, the business operator has misidentified the counterparty as not being a consumer and has reasonable ground for such misidentification.

Special Rules for Labor Contracts Article 12

  • Even if the law governing the formation and effect of a labor contract is, according to a choice or change of governing law pursuant to Article 7 or Article 9 respectively, a law other than the law of the place with which the labor contract is most closely connected, the specific mandatory rules in the law of the place with which the labor contract is most closely connected shall also apply to matters subject to such mandatory rules with regard to the formation and effect of the labor contract, provided that the employee expresses his/her will to the employer to the effect that such mandatory rules should apply.

  • In applying the preceding paragraph, the law of the place where labor is to be carried out according to the labor contract (if the place where labor is to be carried out cannot be identified, the law of the place of the establishment at which the employee has concluded the employment contract; the same definition applies to the following paragraph) is presumed to be the law of the place with which the labor contract is most closely connected.

  • If the parties have not chosen a law to govern the formation and effect of the labor contract pursuant to Article 7, the law of the place where labor is to be carried out is, notwithstanding Article 8, paragraph 2, presumed to be the law with which the labor contract is most closely connected.

Section 3 – Rights in Rem etc.

Rights in Rem and Rights Requiring Registration Article 13

  • Rights in rem and other rights requiring registration with regard to movables or immovables shall be governed by the law of the place where the subject property is located.

  • Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, the acquisition and Loss of the rights provided for in the preceding paragraph shall be governed by the law of the place where the subject property is located at the time when the events causing the acquisition or loss are completed.

Section 4 – Obligations

Negotiorum gestio and Unjust Enrichment Article 14

The formation and effect of claims arising from agency by necessity (negotiorum gestio) or unjust enrichment shall be governed by the law of the place where the events causing the claims occurred.

Exception for Cases Where a Manifestly More Closely Connected Place Exists Article 15

Notwithstanding the preceding article, the formation and effect of claims arising from negotiorum gestio or unjust enrichment shall be governed by the law of the place which is manifestly more closely connected with the negotiorum gestio or unjust enrichment than the place determined pursuant to the preceding article, considering that the parties had their habitual residence in the same jurisdiction at the time when the event occurred, the negotiorum gestio or unjust enrichment has arisen in connection with a contract between the parties, or other circumstances of the case.p. 3380

Change of Governing Law by the Parties Article 16

The parties to a negotiorum gestio or unjust enrichment may, after the events causing either to occurs, change the law governing the formation and effect of claims arising therefrom. However, if the change of the governing law would prejudice the rights of a third party, the change may not be asserted against such third party.

Torts Article 17

The formation and effect of claims arising from a tort shall be governed by the law of the place where the results of the infringing act are produced. However, if it was not foreseeable under normal circumstances that the results would be produced at that place, the law of the place where the infringing act occurred shall apply.

Special Rule for Product Liability Article 18

Notwithstanding the preceding article, the formation and effect of claims arising from torts which are detrimental to life, body or property of other persons caused by a defect in a delivered product (the term ‘product’ as used in this article means any goods which are produced or processed) against a producer (the term ‘producer’ as used in this article means any person who produces, processes, imports, exports, distributes or sells the product in the course of his/her business) or any person who identifies himself/herself as a producer by indicating on the product to the effect that he/she is presumed to be a producer (these persons are referred to in this article as ‘producer etc.’) shall be governed by the law of the place where the product is delivered to the victim. However, if the delivery of the product at that place is not foreseeable under normal circumstances, the law of the place of the principal establishment of the producer etc. (if he/she has no establishment, the law of the place of his/her habitual residence) shall apply.

Special Rule for Defamation Article 19

Notwithstanding Article 17, the formation and effect of claims arising from defamation against an individual or an entity shall be governed by the law of the place of such defamed person’s habitual residence (the law of the place of its principal establishment, if the defamed person is a juristic person or other association or foundation).

Exception for Cases Where a Manifestly More Closely Connected Place Exists Article 20

Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding three articles, the formation and effect of claims arising from a tort shall be governed by the law of the place which is manifestly more closely connected with the tort than the place determined pursuant to the preceding three articles, considering that the parties had their habitual residence in the same jurisdiction at the time when the tort occurs, the tort constitutes a breach of obligations under a contract between the parties, or other circumstances of the case.

Change of Governing Law by the Parties Article 21

The parties to a tort may, after the tort has occurred, change the law governing the formation and effect of claims arising therefrom. However, if the change of the governing law would prejudice the rights of a third party, the change may not be asserted against such third party.p. 3381

Limitation on Torts by Public Policy (Ordre public) Article 22

  • If the rights and obligations relating to a tort shall be governed by a foreign law, claims for damages or any other remedies under that law may not be claimed if the actions causing the tort are not unlawful under Japanese law.

  • If the rights and obligations relating to a tort shall be governed by a foreign law, even if the actions causing the tort are unlawful both under that foreign law and Japanese law, the victim may not claim any greater recovery of damages or any other remedies than those available under Japanese law.

Assignment of Receivables Article 23

The effect of an assignment of a receivable in relation to a debtor and other third parties shall be governed by the law applicable to the receivable which is to be assigned.

Section 5 – Family Relationships

Requirements for Formation of Marriage Article 24

  • The requirements for the formation of a marriage shall be governed by the national law of each spouse respectively.

  • The formalities of marriage shall be governed by the law of the place of the ceremony.

  • Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, formalities that satisfy the requirements of either of the spouses’ national law shall be effective, unless the marriage is celebrated in Japan by the parties, at least one of whom is a Japanese national.

Effect of Marriage Article 25

The effect of a marriage shall be governed by the spouses’ national law, if the national law of each of the spouses is the same. If that is not the case but where the law of the spouses’ place of habitual residence is the same, the effect shall be governed by the law of that place. If none of these cases apply, the effect shall be governed by the law of the place with which the spouses are most closely connected.

Matrimonial Property Regime and Protection of Domestic Transactions Article 26

  • The preceding Article shall apply mutatis mutandis to the matrimonial property regime.

  • Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, the regime shall be governed by the law that the spouses choose from among the following laws, where such choice is made in writing, signed and dated by them. In this case, the choice shall come into effect ex nunc:

    • The law of the country of either spouse’s nationality;

    • The law of the place of either spouse’s habitual residence; or

    • In respect of the matrimonial regime regarding immovables, the law of the place where such immovables are located.

  • A matrimonial property regime governed by a foreign law may not be asserted against third parties without knowledge insofar as it concerns juristic acts performed in Japan or property situated in Japan. The matrimonial property regime in such cases as against third parties shall be governed by Japanese law.

  • Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, a matrimonial property contract concluded in compliance with a foreign law applicable pursuant to paragraphs 1 or 2 shall be binding on any third parties insofar as the contract is registered in Japan.p. 3382

Divorce Article 27

Article 25 shall apply mutatis mutandis to divorce. However, a divorce shall be governed by Japanese law if one of the spouses is a Japanese national and has his/her habitual residence in Japan.

Determination of Parentage of Child Born in Wedlock Article 28

  • A child shall be born in wedlock if he/she is considered as such under the national law of one of the spouses at the time of the child’s birth.

  • If the husband dies before the child’s birth, the national law of the husband at the time of his death shall be deemed his national law in reference to the preceding paragraph.

Determination of Parentage of Child Born Out of Wedlock Article 29

  • The parentage of a child born out of wedlock with regard to his/her father shall be governed by the national law of the father at the time of the child’s birth, and with regard to his/her mother, by the national law of the mother at that time. Concerning the establishment of parentage by acknowledgement, if the national law of the child at the time of acknowledgement requires the approval or consent of the child or a third party as a condition of acknowledgement, this requirement shall also be satisfied.

  • With regard to establishment of parentage of a child born out of wedlock by acknowledgement, it shall be recognized if it is provided for under either the national law of the acknowledging person or of the child both at the time of the acknowledgement, irrespective of the result of application of the governing law pursuant to the first sentence of the preceding paragraph. In the case where the national law of the acknowledging person shall apply, the second sentence of the preceding paragraph shall apply mutatis mutandis.

  • If the father dies before the child’s birth, the national law of the father at the time of his death shall be deemed the national law of the father as referred to in paragraph 1. If any of the persons referred to in the preceding paragraph dies before the acknowledgement, the national law of that person at the time of his/her death shall be deemed his/her national law in reference to that paragraph.

Legitimation Article 30

  • A child shall acquire the status of a child born in wedlock, if the child is legitimated according to the national law of the father, the mother or the child at the time when the requirements for legitimation are completed.

  • If a person referred to in the preceding paragraph dies before the requirements for legitimation are completed, his/her national law at the time of his/her death shall be deemed his/her national law in reference to that paragraph.

Adoption Article 31

Adoption shall be governed by the national law of the adoptive parent at the time of the adoption. If the national law of the adopted child requires for adoption the approval or consent of the adopted child or a third party, or the permission or any other disposition by a public authority, such requirements shall also be satisfied.

Termination of relationships as relatives between an adopted child and his/her blood relatives and dissolution of the adoptive relationship shall be governed by the law determined under the first sentence of the preceding paragraph.p. 3383

Legal Relationship Between Parents and Child Article 32

The legal relationship between parents and their child shall be governed by the national law of the child if it is the same as the national law of one of the parents (if one of the parents is dead or unknown, as the national law of the other parent). In other cases, it shall be governed by the law of the child’s habitual residence.

Other Relationships Between Relatives etc. Article 33

In addition to what is provided for in Articles 24 to 32, relationships between relatives as well as rights and duties arising therefrom shall be governed by the national law of the party concerned.

Formalities of a Juristic Act Involving Family Relationships Article 34

  • The formalities of a juristic act involving family relationships provided for in Articles 25 to 33 shall be governed by the law applicable to the formation of the act.

  • Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, such juristic act shall be formally valid if it conforms to the law of the place where the act was made.

Guardianship etc. Article 35

  • Guardianship, curatorship or assistance (hereinafter referred to as ‘guardianship etc.’) shall be governed by the national law of the ward or person under curatorship or assistance (referred to as ‘ward etc.’ in the following paragraph).

  • Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, if a foreign national is a ward etc., an order to appoint a guardian, curator or assistant, or other orders concerning guardianship etc. shall be governed by Japanese law, if –

    • according to the national law of the foreign national, the requirements for guardianship etc. are satisfied but no one undertakes the duties of guardianship etc. in Japan, or

    • a court has made in Japan an order for commencement of guardianship etc. of the foreign national.

Section 6 – Succession

Succession Articles 36

Succession shall be governed by the national law of the decedent.

Wills Article 37

  • The formation and effect of a will shall be governed by the national law of the testator at the time of the creation of the will.

  • Revocation of a will shall be governed by the national law of the testator at the time of the revocation.

Section 7 – Auxiliary Provisions

National Law Article 38

  • If a person has two or more nationalities, the law of the state where he/she has his/her habitual residence shall be his/her national law insofar as his/her nationality is from that state. If he/p. 3384she does not have his/her habitual residence in any of the states whose nationality he/she has, the law of the state with which he/she is most closely connected shall be deemed to be his/her national law. However, where one of his/her nationalities is Japanese, Japanese law shall be deemed to be his/her national law.

  • In the case where the national law of a person shall apply but the person has no nationality, the law of his/her habitual residence shall apply. However, this shall not apply to the case where Article 25 (including the cases where it is applied mutatis mutandis pursuant to Article 26, paragraph 1 or Article 27) or Article 32 applies.

  • Where a person is a national of a state where different systems of law exist in its respective regions, the law determined in accordance with the rules of that state (if there are no such rules, the law of the region with which he/she is most closely connected) shall be deemed to be his/her national law.

Law of Habitual Residence Article 39

Where the law of a person’s habitual residence shall apply but his/her habitual residence cannot be identified, the law of his/her residence shall apply. However, this shall not apply to the case where Article 25 (including the cases where it is applied mutatis mutandis pursuant to Article 26, paragraph 1 or Article 27) or Article 32 applies.

Law of States or Places Where Different Systems of Law Apply to a Respective Group of People

Article 40

  • Where a person is a national of a state where different systems of law apply to a respective group of people, the law determined in accordance with the rules of that state (if there are no such rules, the law with which he/she is the most closely connected) shall be deemed to be his/her national law.

  • The preceding paragraph shall apply mutatis mutandis where the law of a person’s habitual residence is to apply in accordance with Article 25 (including the cases where it is applied mutatis mutandis pursuant to Article 26, paragraph 1 or Article 27), Article 26, paragraph 2 (ii), Article 32 or Article 38, paragraph 2, and different systems of law apply to a respective group of people in the place of his/her habitual residence. Also, it shall apply mutatis mutandis where the law of the place with which spouses are most closely connected is to apply and different systems of law apply to a respective group of people in that place.

Renvoi Article 41

Where a person’s national law applies and the rules of that law require that Japanese law should apply, then Japanese law shall apply. However, this shall not apply to a case where the person’s national law is to apply in accordance with Article 25 (including the cases where it is applied mutatis mutandis pursuant to Article 26, paragraph 1 or Article 27) or Article 32.

Public Policy (Ordre public) Article 42

Where a foreign law is to apply but its application would be contrary to public policy (ordre public), it shall not apply.

Exclusion from Application Article 43

  • The provisions of this Chapter, except for the main clause of Article 39, shall not apply to maintenance obligations arising from marriage, parentage, or any other family relationships.

  • The provisions of this Chapter, except for the main clause of Article 38, paragraph 2, the main clause of Article 39, as well as Article 40 in its entirety, shall not apply to the formalities of wills.p. 3385

Code of Civil Procedure2

Act No 109 of June 26, 1996

[…]

Part I General Provisions

Chapter I General Rules

Section 1 Jurisdiction of Courts of Japan

Jurisdiction Based on the Defendant’s Domicile, etc.

Article 3-2 (1) A court shall have jurisdiction over an action brought against a person if the person has domicile in Japan, if the person has no domicile or his/her domicile is unknown but he/she has residence in Japan, or if the person has no residence or his/her residence is unknown but he/she had domicile in Japan before the filing of the action (excluding the case where the person had domicile in a foreign country after he/she last had domicile in Japan).

  • Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph, a court shall have jurisdiction over an action brought against an ambassador, minister or any other Japanese national in a foreign country who enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of that country.

  • A court shall have jurisdiction over an action brought against a juridical person or any other association or foundation if its principal office or business office is located in Japan, or if it has no business office or other office or the location thereof is unknown but its representative or any other principal person in charge of its business has domicile in Japan.

Jurisdiction over Action Relating to Contractual Obligation, etc.

Article 3-3 Actions listed in the following items may be filed with a court of Japan in the cases specified in the respective items:

  • An action to claim performance of a contractual obligation or an action to make a claim relating to management without mandate conducted or unjust enrichment arising in connection with a contractual obligation, a claim for damages for nonperformance of a contractual obligation or any other claim relating to a contractual obligation: Where the place of performance of the obligation determined by the contract is located in Japan, or where the place of performance of the obligation is supposed to be located in Japan in accordance with the law chosen under the contract.

  • An action to claim payment of money for a bill or note or a check: Where the place of payment of the bill or note or the check is located in Japan.

  • An action on a property right: Where the subject matter of claim is located in Japan, or where the action is to claim payment of money, and any seizable property of the defendant is located in Japan (excluding the case where the value of such property is extremely low).

  • An action against a person who has a business office or other office, which relates to the business conducted at such business office or other office: Where the business office or other office is located in Japan.

  • An action against a person who conducts business in Japan (including a foreign company (meaning a foreign company prescribed in Article 2, item (ii) of the Companies Act (Act No 86 p. 3386of 2005)) which carries out transactions continuously in Japan): Where the action relates to the business conducted by the person in Japan.

  • An action based on a ship claim or any other claim secured by a ship: Where the ship is located in Japan.

  • The following actions relating to a company or any other association or foundation: Where the association or foundation is a juridical person and it is incorporated under the laws and regulations of Japan, or where the association or foundation is not a juridical person and its principal office or business office is located in Japan.

    • An action brought by a company or any other association against its member or a person who was its member, an action brought by a member against another member or a person who was a member or an action brought by a person who was a member against a member, which is based on his/her status as a member

    • An action brought by an association or foundation against its officer or a person who was its officer, which is based on the status as an officer

    • An action brought by a company against its incorporator or a person who was its incorporator or against its inspector or a person who was its inspector, which is based on the status as an incorporator or inspector

    • An action brought by a creditor of a company or any other association against its member or a person who was its member, which is based on his/her status as a member

  • An action relating to a tort: Where the place where the tort took place is located in Japan (excluding the case where the result of a wrongful act committed in a foreign country occurred in Japan, and the occurrence of such result in Japan was ordinarily unforeseeable).

  • An action for damages due to ship collision or any other accident at sea: Where the first place where the damaged ship docked is located in Japan.

  • An action relating to salvage: Where the place where the salvage was performed or the first place where the salvaged ship docked is located in Japan;

  • An action relating to real property: Where the real property is located in Japan.

  • An action relating to a right of inheritance or statutory reserved share or an action relating to a testamentary gift or any other act that shall become effective upon death: Where the decedent has domicile in Japan at the time of commencement of inheritance, where the decedent has no domicile or his/her domicile is unknown but he/she has residence in Japan at the time of commencement of inheritance, where the decedent has no residence or his/her residence is unknown but he/she had domicile in Japan before commencement of inheritance (excluding the case where the decedent had domicile in a foreign country after he/she last had domicile in Japan).

  • An action relating to a claim on the decedent or other burden on inherited property, which does not fall under the category of action set forth in the preceding item: As specified in said item.

Jurisdiction over Action Relating to Consumer Contract and Labor Relations

Article 3–4 (1) An action relating to a contract concluded between a consumer (meaning an individual (excluding an individual who becomes a party to a contract as a business or for a business); the same shall apply hereinafter) and a business operator (meaning a juridical person or any other association or foundation or an individual who becomes a party to a contract as a business or for a business; the same shall apply hereinafter) (such contract shall exclude a labor contract; hereinafter referred to as a ‘consumer contract’), which is brought by the consumer against the business operator, may be filed with a court of Japan if the consumer has domicile in Japan at the time of the filing of an action or at the time of conclusion of the consumer contract.

  • An action relating to a civil dispute arising between an individual worker and his/her employer with regard to the existence or absence of a labor contract or any other matters concerning labor relations (hereinafter referred to as an ‘individual civil dispute in labor relations’),which is brought by the worker against the employer, may be filed with a court of Japan if the place of provision of labor determined by the labor contract pertaining to the individual civil dispute p. 3387in labor relations (if such place is not determined, the location of the place of business office at which the worker is employed) is located in Japan.

  • The provisions of the preceding Article shall not apply to an action relating to a consumer contract, which is brought by a business operator against a consumer, or an action relating to an individual civil dispute in labor relations, which is brought by an employer against a worker.

Exclusive Jurisdiction

Article 3–5 (1) Actions prescribed in Part VII, Chapter II of the Companies Act (excluding those prescribed in Sections 4 and 6 of said Chapter), actions prescribed in Chapter VI, Section 2 of the Act on General Incorporated Associations and General Incorporated Foundations (Act No 48 of 2006), and other actions relating to associations or foundations incorporated under laws and regulations of Japan other than said Acts which are equivalent to those actions specified herein shall be under the exclusive jurisdiction of a court of Japan.

  • An action relating to a registration shall be under the exclusive jurisdiction of a court of Japan if the place where registration should be made is located in Japan.

  • An action relating to the existence or absence or effect of an intellectual property right (meaning an intellectual property right prescribed in Article 2, paragraph (2) of the Intellectual Property Basic Act (Act No 122 of 2002)) which is established upon registration of establishment shall be under the exclusive jurisdiction of a court of Japan.

Jurisdiction over Joint Claim

Article 3–6 Where two or more claims are to be made by a single action, and a court of Japan has jurisdiction over one of those claims and has no jurisdiction over other claim(s), such action may be filed with a court of Japan only if said one claim is closely connected with the other claim(s); provided, however, that with regard to an action brought by two or more persons or an action brought against two or more persons, this shall apply only in the case specified in the first sentence of Article 38.

Agreement on Jurisdiction

Article 3–7 (1) The parties may determine, by an agreement, the country in which they may file an action with a court.

  • The agreement set forth in the preceding paragraph shall not become effective unless it is made with respect to an action based on certain legal relationships and made in writing.

  • If the agreement set forth in paragraph (1) is made by means of an electromagnetic record (meaning a record made in an electronic form, a magnetic form or any other form not recognizable to human perception, which is used in information processing by computers; the same shall apply hereinafter) in which the content of such agreement is recorded, the provisions of the preceding paragraph shall be applied by deeming such agreement to have been made in writing.

  • An agreement to the effect that an action may be filed only with a court of a foreign country may not be invoked if such court is unable to exercise its jurisdiction by law or in fact.

  • An agreement as set forth in paragraph (1) which covers a dispute on a consumer contract that may arise in the future shall be effective only in the following cases:

    • Where the agreement provides that an action may be filed with a court of a country where a consumer had domicile at the time of conclusion of a consumer contract (except in the case set forth in the following item, any agreement to the effect that an action may be filed only with a court of such country shall be deemed to be providing that it does not preclude the filing of an action with a court of any other country).

    • Where a consumer, in accordance with the agreement, has filed an action with a court of the country determined by the agreement, or where a business operator has filed an action with a court of Japan or a foreign country and the consumer has invoked the agreement.

  • p. 3388An agreement as set forth in paragraph (1) which covers an individual civil dispute in labor relations that may arise in the future shall be effective only in the following cases:

    • Where the agreement has been made at the time of termination of a labor contract, and it provides that an action may be filed with a court of the country in which the place of provision of labor as of that time is located (except in the case set forth in the following item, any agreement to the effect that an action may be filed only with a court of such country shall be deemed to be providing that it does not preclude the filing of an action with a court of any other country).

    • Where a worker, in accordance with the agreement, has filed an action with a court of the country determined by the agreement, or where a business operator has filed an action with a court of Japan or a foreign country and the worker has invoked the agreement.

Jurisdiction by Appearance

Article 3–8 If a defendant, without filing a defense of lack of jurisdiction of a court of Japan, has presented oral arguments on the merits or made statements in preparatory proceedings, a court shall have jurisdiction.

Dismissal of Action without Prejudice due to Special Circumstances

Article 3–9 Even where a court of Japan is to have jurisdiction over an action (excluding the case where an action is filed in accordance with an agreement to the effect that an action may be filed only with a court of Japan), a court may dismiss without prejudice the whole or part of the action when it finds that there are special circumstances where if a court of Japan conducts a trial and makes a judicial decision on the action, it would harm equity between the parties or impede the well-organized progress of court proceedings, while taking into consideration the nature of the case, the degree of burden that the defendant is to bear by making an appearance, the location of evidence, and other circumstances.

Exclusion from Application in the case of Exclusive Jurisdiction

Article 3–10 The provisions of Articles 3-2 through Article 3–4 and Article 3–6 through the preceding Article shall not apply where exclusive jurisdiction of a court of Japan over an action in question is provided for in laws or regulations.

Examination of Evidence by Court’s Own Authority

Article 3–11 A court may conduct examination of evidence by its own authority with regard to the matters concerning jurisdiction of a court of Japan.

Base Time for Determining Jurisdiction

Article 3–12 The jurisdiction of a court of Japan shall be determined on the basis of the time of the filing of an action.

[…]

Chapter V Court Proceedings

[…]

Section 5 Judicial Decision

Effect of Final and Binding Judgment Rendered by Foreign Court

Article 118 A final and binding judgment rendered by a foreign court shall be effective only where it meets all of the following requirements:

  • p. 3389The jurisdiction of the foreign court is recognized under laws or regulations or conventions or treaties.

  • The defeated defendant has received a service (excluding a service by publication or any other service similar thereto) of a summons or order necessary for the commencement of the suit, or has appeared without receiving such service.

  • The content of the judgment and the court proceedings are not contrary to public policy in Japan.

  • A mutual guarantee exists.

  • […]

Civil Execution Act3

Act No 4 of March 30, 1979

[…]

Chapter II Compulsory Execution

Section 1 General Provisions

[…]

Execution Judgment for a Judgment of a Foreign Court

Article 24 (1) An action seeking an execution judgment for a judgment of a foreign court shall be under the jurisdiction of the district court having jurisdiction over the location of the general venue of the obligor, and when there is no such general venue, it shall be under the jurisdiction of the district court having jurisdiction over the location of the subject matter of the claim or the seizable property of the obligor.

  • An execution judgment shall be made without investigating whether or not the judicial decision is appropriate.

  • The action set forth in paragraph (1) shall be dismissed without prejudice when it is not proved that the judgment of a foreign court has become final and binding or when such judgment fails to satisfy the requirements listed in the items of Article 118 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

  • An execution judgment shall declare that compulsory execution based on the judgment by a foreign court shall be permitted.

[…]

Translation by Professors Masato Dogauchi, Waseda University (Japan), Tadashi Kanzaki, Gakushuin University (Japan), Yasushi Nakanishi, Kyoto University (Japan), Yoshihisa Hayakawa, Rikkyo University (Japan), Aki Kitazawa, Keio Gijuku University (Japan) and Yuko Nishitani, Kyoto University (Japan) first published in (2007) 50 Japanese Annual of International Law 87 ff.

Unofficial translation reproduced from the Japanese Law Translation Database System, available at <www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp> (last accessed on 27 January 2016).

Unofficial translation reproduced from the Japanese Law Translation Database System, available at <www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp> (last accessed on 27 January 2016).