Important Points from the Commercial Code (Transport and Maritime Commerce) Revisions
– A look at the transport of goods by land, sea and air

By Shinya Yoshida, Lawyer and Marine Counsellor

On 18 May 2018 the “Commercial Code and Act on International Carriage of Goods by Sea Revision Bill” was enacted with its approval by the Diet’s House of Councillors. Also known as the “Commercial Code (Transport and Maritime Commerce) Revisions”, it is the first major revision of the Commercial Code’s provisions on transport and maritime commercial law in approximately 120 years and modernizes and consolidates the laws on transportation and maritime commerce. Along with these revisions, provisions regarding the international transport of goods by sea have also been established.

The effects of the revised Commercial Code on transportation businesses have already been described in Kazuya Yamashita’s column, who was involved in the drafting of the revisions within the Ministry of Justice.

The Commercial Code’s revised transportation and maritime commerce provisions are areas of law that rarely receive the spotlight from a legal viewpoint, but they are of vital importance to business activities and our daily lives, so this column will introduce the main revisions and important points from the point of view of logistics. Read the rest of this entry >

Considerations when rehiring an employee after their mandatory retirement age
- A reconsideration following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Nagasawa Unyu case

By Hirotaka Nakura


Since my August 2015 column “Considerations when rehiring an employee after mandatory retirement age“, there has been a lot of movement in the debate regarding the equal treatment of indefinite-term and fixed-term contract employees. As well as an accumulation of court judgments concerning Article 20 of the Labour Contracts Act, the government published a draft guideline on equal pay for equal work in December 2016 and has introduced the “Work Style Reform Bill” to the national Diet.

Meanwhile, on 1st June 2018, the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the Nagasawa Unyu case, which was a dispute regarding the difference in the amount of pay received by indefinite-term contract employees and those employees who were re-hired on fixed term contracts after having reached the company’s mandatory retirement age. In its decision, the court ruled on certain aspects of the labour conditions of employees who are re-hired after reaching mandatory retirement age.

Article 20 of the Labour Contracts Act

As the Nagasawa Unyu case centred around whether differences in pay between re-hired contract employees and indefinite-term contract employees violated Article 20 of the Labour Standards Act, I would first like to look at the details of that article.

Article 20 of the Labour Contracts Act (Underlining and numbering added by author)
If the labour conditions of an employee who has signed a fixed-term labour contract differ from the labour conditions of another employee who has signed an indefinite-term labour contract with the same employer, and those differences arise due to the existence of the fixed term, then such differences shall not be unreasonable, in consideration of:(1) the content of the employees’ duties and the extent of the responsibility accompanying such duties,

(2) the scope of allowable change to the content of duties and work location, and

(3) other circumstances.

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The Commercial Code Revision Act has been passed!
What effect will the first revision in 120 years have on transportation business?

By Kazuya Yamashita and Peter Cassidy

The “Commercial Code and Act on International Carriage of Goods by Sea Revision Bill” that was before the current Diet session has been enacted with its passing by the House of Councillors on 18 May 2018. This is the first revision of the Commercial Code’s provisions on transportation and maritime commerce in approximately 120 years, following the Code’s original enactment in 1899.

The previous column provided an overview of the Bill and described the history leading up to its submission to the Diet. This time we will look at the scope and the important themes of the enacted bill. This column will provide a summary of the revisions and the practical effect they will have on transportation businesses in the areas of:

  • the shipper’s duty to declare dangerous goods
  • extinguishment of claims against a carrier if not commenced within one year
  • the invalidity of indemnity clauses that reduce a carrier’s liability for a passenger’s death or personal injury

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Towards a Japan the World Wants to Visit – An Introduction to the “Departure Tax”

By Kengo Hashiba

Japan the Tourism Nation

On 28 March 2017 the Japanese government gave Cabinet approval to the “Tourism Nation Promotion Basic Plan”. This policy sets various targets, including 40 million foreign tourists visiting Japan by 2020, and defines the government measures required to achieve them. According to Japan Tourism Agency statistics, the number of foreign visitors to Japan has risen from 19.7 million in 2015, to 24.0 million in 2016 and 28.7 million in 2017, with a further increase anticipated in 2018.   Japan will host the Rugby World Cup in 2019, followed by the much-anticipated Tokyo Olympics in 2020. I hope that the foreign tourists attending these and other events enjoy Japan and become regular visitors.
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“Qualified acceptance in practice (4)
– Finalising the process”

By Takuya Murao

In my previous column I discussed the detailed steps in the very particular liquidation process. Once you are able to overcome the large obstacle that is the liquidation process, the end of the difficult procedure comes into view, so I would like to end this series of columns by touching upon the finalisation of the qualified acceptance process.
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