Consular Services

Methods for a Court of a Foreign State to Request Japan to Serve Judicial or Extrajudicial Documents and Take Evidence

December 28, 2018
Japanese

Outline

If a lawsuit is filed with a foreign court against a person staying in Japan, the court has to serve the complaint, the decision and other documents to the defendant in Japan. In addition, the court has to take evidence, such as the interrogation of witnesses in Japan.
Such "judicial acts," including service of documents and taking of evidence, are carried out by the courts, which are national agencies, and are accompanied by legal effects (exercise of jurisdiction), and they cannot be freely carried out by foreign courts in Japan. Another state exercising jurisdiction over the service of documents or taking evidence in Japan requires Japan's prior consent.

(1) Civil and Commercial trial

Since Japan is a Contracting State to the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (the Service Convention) and the Convention on Civil Procedure (the CP Convention), Japan has agreed that Japan will respond to other Contracting States to these conventions if they request Japan to serve documents or take evidence concerning civil or commercial cases under the rules of these conventions (see Annexes 1 - 3, 5).
If a foreign state is not a Contracting State to none of these conventions but it has a bilateral treaty or a comprehensive agreement on mutual judicial assistance between Japan, the requests of the state will be responded subject to them. If it has not any agreement, Japan will respond to such request of judicial assistance in each specific case under the domestic law "the Law Relating to the Reciprocal Judicial Aid to be Given at the Request of Foreign Courts " (see Annexes 4 and 5.).

(2) Criminal trial

If a foreign state requests Japan to serve documents and take evidence concerning a criminal trial, Japan will respond to the request pursuant to the Law Relating to the Reciprocal Judicial Aid to be Given at the Request of Foreign Courts . (If the foreign state has concluded a bilateral treaty on mutual criminal assistance, Japan will respond pursuant to the treaty.)

See the following table and annexes for more information.

Methods for requesting Japan’s central authority/designated authority/court to serve judicial or extrajudicial documents and taking evidence in Japan

(1) Civil or commercial trial

  Service of documents Taking evidence
Contracting state only to the Service Convention Annex 1 (PDF)Open a New Window Annex 5 (PDF)Open a New Window
Contracting state only to the CP Convention Annex 2 (PDF)Open a New Window Annex 3 (PDF)Open a New Window
Contracting state to both conventions Annex 1 (PDF)Open a New Window Annex 3 (PDF)Open a New Window
Contracting state to none of the conventions Annex 4 (PDF)Open a New Window Annex 5 (PDF)Open a New Window

(2) Criminal trial

  Service of documents Taking evidence
Contracting state to the bilateral treaty on mutual criminal assistance Make a request pursuant to the treaty Make a request pursuant to the treaty
Not Contracting state to the bilateral treaty on mutual criminal assistance Annex 6 (PDF)Open a New Window Annex 7 (PDF)Open a New Window

Inquiry

Consular Policy Division, Consular Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2-2-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5501-8152
Fax: 03-5501-8148