1. Suit is filed at district court, setting date of first oral argument within one or two months. Defendant is sent a summons to appear with copy of legal documents.
  2. Plaintiff and defendant are given necessary documents referring to the case and defense. At this session either a legal representative or the parties involved need to be present.
  3. Within another month during the second hearing the plaintiff usually advocates his claim.
  4. Another month later the defendant will advocate his defense while providing the necessary documents. These oral arguments continue until both parties have argued their case, which is usually within two to three sessions, however, some complicated cases have continued for more than 10 oral arguments. During this process documents are examined and if needed verified. After each side has stated their argument witnesses and evidence are brought in for their support, (usually 1 1/2 hr. to 3 hrs.). After the evidence has been verified the date for the verdict is set.
  5. Verdict. It usually takes 10 months for one hearing, which is considered prompt compared to other countries.

Unlike The United States or England where cases can be argued by disclosure before going to court, according to the Japanese system even the first argument takes place in court.

Half of the cases are resolved before reaching a verdict, due to both parties reaching a mutual agreement .

The verdict can be appealed by taking the case to High Court, where the case is tried and a verdict given usually in one to two sessions. Mainly this is done revising the material submitted in the first hearing.

Moreover, appeals accepted by Supreme Court are limited due to the constitution and judicial precedent being unified; acknowledging fact can not be considered in the verdict. This means error of fact cannot be considered in the appeal.

Japanese courts do not have a jury system involving general citizens and the verdict is handed down by court appointees

Kaneko Hirohito Law Office
Wako-Ginza 8-chome Bldg. 7F 8-10-4, Ginza, Chuo-ku Tokyo 104-0061, Japan [MAP]
Tel: 03-3574-8535 / Fax: 03-3574-7144 / Email: