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MOJ to provide English translations of outlines of new laws

The Ministry of Justice will translate the outlines of newly enacted and revised laws into English and provide them to foreigners. As the first step, the ministry will translate the outline of the revised Act for Implementation of Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (revised Hague Convention implementation act), which was enacted in the latest Diet session. In response to the growing number of foreigners who work or live in Japan, the ministry aims to make the necessary information on laws readily available. Foreigners will be able to start reading translations within the month on the ministry’s homepage.


The revised Hague Convention implementation act lays down rules for a parent to bring back children to their original country after the other parent relocated the children to his or her home country following the breakdown of an international marriage. It was believed that the English translation of the act was needed by foreign parents who wish to bring back children who are in Japan.


The ministry started translating provisions of Japanese laws into English about 10 years ago, but it has completed only 10 percent of all laws to date. It will take more than three years on average to translate all provisions of a law including amendments after it was enacted, the ministry said.


Under the circumstances, the ministry decided that quickly providing translations of selected information that clarifies the contents of laws would be more effective. The ministry will put a priority on translating explanations of legislation released by ministries and agencies. After the Diet enacts bills, the ministry will provide translations of the outlines of laws before they come into force.


In order to promote English translation, the ministry will also establish a government-private sector council within fiscal 2019. By selecting information on laws highly needed by foreigners, the council will draw up a strategy including methods of providing English translation.

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