No. 201 – Automated Driving and Legal Liability

By Yasutomo Wakiyama

1. Introduction

The fatal crash in May last year that involved a Tesla Motors vehicle equipped with an automated driving function is still fresh in our memory.

Meanwhile, media outlets have reported last December’s announcement by Tokio Marine Holdings & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. that they will offer a special automobile insurance provision to policyholders free of charge from April this year that covers accidents occurring while a vehicle is under automated driving.

In this way, many issues regarding automated driving are being raised, but I would like to discuss the effect that automated driving has on legal liability for traffic accidents. Read the rest of this entry >

No. 185 Qualified acceptance in practice (1)
– Views on procedure selection –

By Takuya Murao

  1. Inheritance methods

There are three inheritance methods in law that a legal heir may utilize, namely unconditional acceptance, qualified acceptance and renunciation of inheritance. Amongst these, unconditional acceptance and renunciation of inheritance are generally used, with it normally being the case that unconditional acceptance is selected when the assets outvalue the liabilities and renunciation is selected when the liabilities outvalue the assets. However, it is sometimes difficult to accurately ascertain the assets and liabilities during the period for deciding whether to renounce an inheritance (in principle 3 months, although an extension is available upon application); for example, when the decedent is a director of a company and it is possible that they are the guarantor for the company’s debts. The process of qualified acceptance is available for this type of situation. Read the rest of this entry >

Report on IPBA Annual Conference

By Takuya Murao

This is a report on the IPBA annual conference held in Hong Kong from May 6th to 9th, 2015 which 7 members of our law firm attended.

 1 What is IPBA

IPBA is an acronym for Inter-Pacific Bar Association which is an association of lawyers who practice in the Asia-Pacific region.  The annual conference of IPBA has become a big event held once every year in a region in the Asia-Pacific where lawyers gather from not only the Asia-Pacific region but also from other regions around the world including regions such as Europe and South America.

Members of our firm have been attending the IPBA annual conferences since the Kyoto conference in 2011 and every attendance has been a valuable opportunity for us to meet and interact with lawyers form other regions.
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A report on Higashimachi’s activities for 2011

By Yoshihiro Uetani*

Happy New Year!

I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation for your continued patronage.

At the beginning of last year, our second year as a corporation, we welcomed Mr. Kazuhiro Watanabe, Ms. Natsuki Taira and Mr. Takuya Murao into our office. With 16 lawyers at our Kobe office, 4 in Tokyo and 2 in Imabari, we have been working to provide a more extensive and flexible legal service over a wider area.

Dr. Takashi Maruta, who joined us six years ago and was instrumental in the advancement of office’s globalization initiative, has left us to set up his own private practice. We intend to continue to enjoy his cooperation with us in our office’s international affairs.
Read the rest of this entry >

Special Announcement: Emergency Help Line

Higashimachi LPC

As a Law Office which experienced the Great Hanshin Earthquake, we would like to offer legal advice, without charge, in English to any foreign nationals in Japan who have been affected by the recent 2011 Great Tohoku Kanto Earthquake.

  • Consultation should be confined to legal matters relating to the 2011 Great Tohoku Kanto Earthquake.
  • Responses may be delayed in the event that we receive too many at one time.
  • We can only respond to inquiries via email. (

Please note that this is an emergency service, which is limited in scope and intended for reference purposes only; we therefore cannot accept any responsibility or liability.

Please feel free to contact us at any time.