What is ‘a company in Japan’?

‘A company in Japan’ in this context is a company established in Japan. Therefore, it includes a Japanese subsidiary of a foreign company, say, Starbucks Coffee Japan, Ltd. but excludes a foreign subsidiary of a Japanese company, say, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

Where can I sue?

Generally, the best place to sue ‘a company in Japan’ is a Japanese court. Among Japanese courts, the court closest to the company’s main office will have the authority to handle the lawsuit.

Can I sue while living in my country?

Yes. You may be out of Japan if you hire a Japanese attorney.

Do I need to attend the court in person?

No. Your attorney will attend the hearings via web conference or in person on behalf of you.

However, you may be called as a witness to give oral evidence if the case goes to a witness examination.

How long does it take time?

Generally, it takes 6 months to 2 years.

Is there a time limit to sue?

Yes. The laws set limitation periods. For contractual claims, the limitation period is generally 5 years.

How much does it cost?

You will be required to pay (i) attorney’s fees and (ii) litigation costs such as a court filing fee.

Japanese lawyers traditionally charge a retainer fee (i.e. initial fee), which is set at a certain percentage of the claim amount, and a success fee, which is set at a certain percentage of the award obtained.