Archive for June, 2017

10 Major Revisions to the Japanese Civil Code
Part One – Standard Terms and Conditions

By Shinya Yoshida and Peter Cassidy

On Friday, 26 May 2017, a bill to amend the portions of Japan’s Civil Code relating to claims passed the National Diet. This is the first major change to this area of the Code since it was first enacted in 1896, more than 120 years ago. The aim of this large-scale revision, which includes more than 200 revisions, is to update the Code for modern society, as there are many aspects of current society that are not dealt with in the current Code, such as Internet shopping and mobile phone contracts. Although the number of revisions is large, most are intended to codify principles that have already been confirmed in judicial precedents and academic writing. As the revision act was promulgated on 2 June, the revisions will take effect sometime before June 2020.

Despite the scale and importance of the revision, there seems to be a lack of commentary regarding the revisions in English. These changes are not only important for individuals and businesses located in Japan, but they may also affect the rights and obligations of companies that have trading relationships with Japanese companies. This series of columns will introduce ten areas of revision that are especially important. This first column will look at the new rules regarding the use of standard terms and conditions. The subsequent columns will discuss extinctive prescription periods, statutory interest rates and damages for late payment, cancellation of contracts, set-off of property damage claims, guarantees, contracts for work, e.g. construction, sales contracts, mistakes in contracts, and leases.
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Regional Brand Protection and the Geographical Indication System

By Takafumi Mise


“Tajima Beef”, “Kobe Beef”, “Yubari King Melon”, “Shimonoseki Fuku”, “Iyo Silk”… these are regional products that Japan can be proud of. Also, each of these products are currently registered under the Geographical Indication (GI) system. In this column I will discuss Japan’s GI system and its legal merits within Japan.   Read the rest of this entry >

European Union Regulation on International Succession

By Yoshihiro Uetani

If a person of foreign nationality residing in Japan dies, many issues will arise including who are the deceased person’s heirs, how the deceased person’s estate should be divided, what assets and liabilities are subject to succession, the validity of any will, and how the will should be executed. Regarding these issues, the first problem to address is deciding which country’s laws apply, then dealing with the issues in accordance with the applicable law (“the governing law”). Most countries have established laws for deciding the governing law (called “private international law”); in Japan the relevant Act on General Rules for Application of Laws (Law No. 78 of 2006, “the General Rules”) was passed in June 2006. Read the rest of this entry >