Your Japanese Law Partner Inheritance Law and Business Law

About us

We are a full-service law firm located in Kyoto and Tokyo, cities that would be familiar to many foreign corporations as well as foreign residents and tourists, with a particular focus on practice of corporate and business law as well as inheritance law in Japan. Our foreign clients include corporations and individuals located in wide areas such as United States, EU, China, Taiwan, Australia, Thai and other Asian countries. Also, our Japanese clients are not only located in Kyoto and Tokyo, but all across Japan including Osaka and Kobe.

There are few law firms which are capable of providing Japanese-law related legal services in English and Chinese for foreign corporations and foreign residents in Japan.

With our deep practical experiences and wide range of beneficial networks, we, as specialists in the practice of Japanese law, consistently provide legal services for our foreign clients in the areas of corporate and business law, inheritance (including making wills), and purchasing and managing real estate law of Japan in English and Chinese.

Please click About us for more details.

Practice areas

We, as qualified Japanese lawyers, consistently provide high quality legal services of corporate and business law, wills and inheritance, and purchasing and managing real estate law as below.

Corporate and business law practices

We consistently provide the following high quality legal services regarding corporate and business law practices to foreign corporations doing businesses in Japan by fully utilizing our deep practical experiences and knowledge in relation to Japanese corporate and business law.

Our legal services for starting businesses in Japan include the following:
(i) executing various type of business agreements with your business partners in Japan (including drafting and reviewing agreements as well as negotiating with your business partners);
(ii) the establishment of corporations and other entities under Japanese law with support from our associated external experts (judicial scriveners) as necessary;
(iii) setting up joint venture corporations with your business partners in Japan;
(iv) merger and acquisition transactions targeting Japanese corporations, including legal due diligence exercises; and
(iv) advice on regulations relevant to starting business in Japan such as restriction on foreign investments.

Our corporate housekeeping services include the following:
(i) notice and scheduling of the annual meeting of shareholder, preparation of all corporate documents in Japanese and English required for the implementation of the approval of the annual financial statements; and
(ii) preparation of all corporate documents in Japanese and English required for the implementation and filing of the appointment and removal of directors and corporate auditors at the time of re-election in the annual meeting of shareholder, registration procedures, and holding and maintaining corporate registers.

We consistently draft and review business agreements written in English and Japanese, such as business sales agreements, agency agreements, distribution agreements, services agreements, license agreements, software development agreements and joint research development agreements, with your business partners in Japan.

We consistently conduct research on complex Japanese corporate and business law and court precedents, and provide understandable reports in English for you.

We consistently provide legal services to resolve any legal issues that foreign corporations might face while doing businesses in Japan such as corporate law (including merger and acquisition transactions), employment law, intellectual property law, litigation matters and collection of debts. In particular, employment law in Japan are unique and favorable to employees, and we therefore strongly recommend foreign corporations to obtain advice of Japanese legal counsel regarding employment law matters.

We consistently provide legal services for foreign corporations to smoothly withdraw from the Japanese market, including
(i) selling its shares or interests in Japanese corporations,
(ii) terminating agreements such as transaction agreements and employment agreements, and
(iii) assisting with liquidation procedures of Japanese entities managed by foreign corporations.

Wills & Inheritance

Making a will

We provide all necessary legal services for you to make a will covering your assets located in Japan (bank deposits, real estate, shares etc).

There are mainly two ways of preparing a will under Japanese law. One is where you go to a notary office in Japan to make a will, which is called “will by a notarized document” (“kousei shosho yuigon” in Japanese). The other is where you write a will by yourself without going to a notary office or having it witnessed, which is called “will by a holograph document” (“jihitsu shosho yuigon” in Japanese). We can advise which method is better for your needs and circumstances, and assist you with making an appropriate will.

If you have assets located outside of Japan and have already made a will for those assets, you would need to take extra precautions so that such a will would not contradict or conflict with a Japanese will that you are going to make. We can review foreign wills (written in English or Chinese) and get in touch by email with foreign lawyers who you already retained in order to avoid such contradictions or conflicts as necessary.

Inheritance

Under Japanese law, if the nationality of the deceased is Japanese, the inheritance will be governed by Japanese law. Even if the nationality of the deceased is not Japanese, Japanese law might still apply to the inheritance if the laws of the country to which that deceased belongs stipulate to that effect. Furthermore, a beneficiary might have no choice but to follow procedures in Japanese even if Japanese law does not apply. For example, an organization that handles the inheritance procedures, such as a bank, might request those procedures to be carried out in Japanese because the organization is located in Japan. bank, might request those procedures to be carried out in Japanese because the organization is located in Japan.

With those potential scenarios in mind, we provide the following legal services.

Under Japanese law, if a person dies intestate, all eligible beneficiaries must discuss and divide the estate by agreement. We can provide legal assistance for your negotiations with other beneficiaries to reach such an agreement.

If beneficiaries fail to reach an agreement regarding division of the estate, generally each of them will need to submit an application of conciliation to the family court in Japan for division of the estate. If the need to take such legal procedures arises, we can continue to act on your behalf to handle the court application.

When you inherit real estate, you would need to contact the Legal Affairs Bureau and follow the complicated procedure to change the registered holder of ownership of the estate.

Similarly, if you inherit bank deposits, you would be required to deal with various paperwork in Japanese related to the relevant bank’s internal inheritance procedures.

It could be difficult for foreigners, especially those residing overseas, to go through these processes in a language that is not Japanese. Therefore, the inheritance procedures can get stagnated even if all beneficiaries have reached an agreement.

We can act on your behalf to deal with such inheritance processes, including changing the registered holder of ownership and cancellation of bank accounts as well as withdrawing deposits, as a result of inheritance, with the assistance of our associated external experts (judicial scriveners).

Under Japanese law, even if the deceased has multiple liabilities including debts, inheritance takes place automatically. Therefore, if a beneficiary (heir) does not wish to inherit, he or she must renounce the inheritance within three months of the time he or she has knowledge of the commencement of the inheritance. A beneficiary who intends to renounce inheritance must make a statement to that effect in the family court of Japan.

Such renunciation of inheritance is often made when the total value of an estate is in negative figures. However, a beneficiary can renounce inheritance even if the total value is positive. For example, if a beneficiary, who is an overseas resident, considers that inheritance of real estate in Japan is too burdensome for him or her to manage, that beneficiary might wish to renounce the inheritance.

We can act on your behalf to make a statement of such renunciation of inheritance in the court.

In Japan, each of the eligible beneficiaries who are not siblings of the deceased has the right to receive, as a legally reserved portion, a monetary amount in accordance with the ratio prescribed under the Japanese Civil Code. Such a reserved portion is compulsory, and a testator cannot freely dispose of the legally reserved portion.

If a person does not make a claim for his or her legally reserved portion within one year of the time of knowing (a) the commencement of inheritance and (b) the existence of a gift or testamentary gift, which reduces the amount of the legally reserved portion, that person’s right to make such a claim will be extinguished due to the limitation period. This time limit also applies if ten years have passed since the time of commencement of inheritance.

We can provide for you all necessary legal assistance including filing a claim for such a legally reserved portion on your behalf.

An inheritance tax system exists in Japan. If you are required to pay this tax, a report and payment of inheritance tax must be made within ten months of the day immediately after the day when the death of the deceased was notified.

We can introduce you to a tax accountant to assist you with your report and payment of inheritance tax.

Purchasing and managing real estate

If you are considering to purchase real estate in Japan but are having difficulties with communicating in Japanese, we can introduce suitable properties to you through associated real estate agents and also provide necessary legal services such as reviewing purchase agreements. We have strong connections with real estate agencies managing properties, particularly those situated in Kyoto, because of our law firm’s location. We can also provide legal assistance after the purchase of properties, such as reviewing lease agreements, to ensure that you can manage your properties appropriately.