Real estate—Japan—Q&A guide
Real estate—Japan—Q&A guide

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Real estate—Japan—Q&A guide
  • 1. How would you explain your jurisdiction’s legal system to an investor?
  • 2. Does your jurisdiction have a system for registration or recording of ownership, leasehold and security interests in real estate? Must interests be registered or recorded?
  • 3. What are the legal requirements for registration or recording conveyances, leases and real estate security interests?
  • 4. What are the requirements for non-resident entities and individuals to own or lease real estate in your jurisdiction? What other factors should a foreign investor take into account in considering an investment in your jurisdiction?
  • 5. If a non-resident invests in a property in your jurisdiction, are there exchange control issues?
  • 6. What types of liability does an owner or tenant of, or a lender on, real estate face? Is there a standard of strict liability and can there be liability to subsequent owners and tenants including foreclosing lenders? What about tort liability?
  • 7. How can owners protect themselves from liability and what types of insurance can they obtain?
  • 8. How is the governing law of a transaction involving properties in two jurisdictions chosen? What are the conflict of laws rules in your jurisdiction? Are contractual choice of law provisions enforceable?
  • 9. Which courts or other tribunals have subject-matter jurisdiction over real estate disputes? Which parties must be joined to a claim before it can proceed? What is required for out-of-jurisdiction service? Must a party be qualified to do business in your jurisdiction to enforce remedies in your jurisdiction?
  • More...

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to real estate in Japan published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: September 2020).

Authors: Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu—Shinichiro Horaguchi; Yoshinobu Koyama; Yoshihisa Watanabe

1. How would you explain your jurisdiction’s legal system to an investor?

Japan is a civil law country with a unified court system. The courts can exercise some discretion to achieve an equitable outcome, but Japan does not have separate equity courts. A court may order specific actions in a multitude of circumstances and pre-emptive injunctions are available. Oral contracts are valid in the same way as written contracts; generally, the only difference is the relative difficulty in proving the existence and contents of an oral contract in court. Parol evidence is generally admissible. Real estate-related laws are generally nationally applicable.

2. Does your jurisdiction have a system for registration or recording of ownership, leasehold and security interests in real estate? Must interests be registered or recorded?

Japan has a nationwide real property registration system for matters such as the conveyance of ownership or other rights over real property, with registration being required for that conveyance to be perfected. Registration generally only has the power to perfect interests, and interests can be created without registration; the existence (or non-existence) of the registration of interests does not guarantee the

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