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Japan gov’t adopts bill to expand foreign lawyers’ activities

  • October 18, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 11:59 a.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Oct. 18 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government at a cabinet meeting on Friday adopted a bill to ease the restrictions on the activities of foreign lawyers in the country, through amendments of a related law.

The move is partly intended to promote the use of international arbitration in Japan for resolving cross-border commercial disputes involving Japanese companies.

Currently, foreign lawyers are allowed to conduct in Japan legal business related to the laws of the countries where they qualified as lawyers, if they register themselves with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. The registered foreign lawyers act as attorneys in international arbitration procedures.

The bill calls for relaxing the requirements for the registration by revising the law on legal services by foreign lawyers.

To be registered in Japan, foreign lawyers are currently required to have three years of related job experience. The bill seeks to recognize as job experience up to two years of subordinate work in the country, instead of up to one year at present.

The bill also calls for removing the ban on the establishment of joint law firms by Japanese and registered foreign lawyers.

In addition, the bill seeks to ease the requirements for carrying out international arbitration work in Japan, by newly including Japanese units of foreign companies as subject of arbitration. It also calls for setting rules about international mediation, which is equivalent of out-of-court settlements in civil cases.

To settle legal dispute cases through international arbitration, many Japanese companies have been forced to go to foreign countries, such as Singapore, due to lack of related systems in Japan. Such a situation has been forcing them to pay higher costs and go through cumbersome procedures.

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