Real Estate Transactions in Japan for Foreign Nationals | Role of real estate agents and attorneys

Recently, we receive many inquiries from overseas about purchasing a vacant house (Akiya) in Japan.

In Japan, real estate brokers must support their clients’ real estate transactions through nationally licensed personnel. This license requires knowledge of fundamental laws, such as the Civil Code, and specific laws related to real estate transactions. As a result, attorneys are not commonly involved in routine real estate transactions.

However, when foreigners purchase real estate in Japan, various procedural considerations come into play, which not all real estate agents may be familiar with. Therefore, consulting with a registration specialist (judicial scrivener), a tax specialist (licensed tax accountant), or a legal specialist (attorney) can be beneficial.

If the buyer is unable to come to Japan, a representative is needed to finalize the transaction. An attorney can act as your representative, ensuring a legally compliant and smooth transaction process, while also protecting your funds from potential fraud.

It’s important to note that attorneys cannot assist in the search for real estate. During the search phase, it is advisable to find a trustworthy real estate agent. Once you have located a property, you may contact an attorney for representation in the transaction.

See also:
Real Estate in Japan | Inheritance | Sales
Real Estate Procedures
Practical Guide to Real Estate Transactions in Japan

Warning: Inappropriate Law Firm Searching Website

It has come to our attention that a website by the name of LAWFIRMS1 is displaying our firm’s website and article content as if it were content within their site, without our firm’s permission.

Numerous law firm websites are similarly displayed on this website, including the websites of our friends’ firms. Judging from this, We believe that this website is also reproducing content from other law firm websites without permission.

Our firm has not signed a contract with such a web advertising company and does not plan to do so in the future. It is possible that similar websites may emerge in the future.

When you access our law firm through such sites, risks exist, including the divulgence of your sensitive information.

When contacting our firm, please be sure to access the official address to contact us.

New Year’s Greeting for 2024|Visiting the New Kawasaki City Hall

New Year’s Greetings

Thank you very much for your support during the past year. We look forward to working with you again this year.

Promoting International Practice

At Sumikawa Law Office (Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture), all of our attorneys and staffs are able to communicate in English. Taking advantage of this, we will continue to provide support to our clients in Japan and abroad for legal services that require English language. In particular, we have received an increasing number of inquiries over the past few years regarding support for inheritance procedures in the U.S. In addition to providing support for individual cases in cooperation with attorneys in various states in the U.S., we plan to strengthen our information dissemination efforts.

We are also receiving an increasing number of inquiries from small and medium-sized companies regarding international contracts. We hope that companies that are about to start international transactions, as well as those that are already engaged in international transactions but have not yet received advice from an attorney, will consult with attorneys.

Promotion of SDGs

Our law firm will continue to actively develop initiatives for the SDGs this year.

In 2024, as part of our focus on gender equality, we will strengthen cooperation with lawyers from other firms and begin activities to train young and mid-career lawyers who can be candidates for outside directors in Kanagawa Prefecture. Sustainability, as set forth by the SDGs, is an extremely important theme for companies. In order to address this important issue, our firm aims to train lawyers who can support local companies in the future. We will work to ensure that attorneys with expertise in sustainability issues can address the challenges facing businesses and contribute to the sustainability of the entire region.

We will also continue to focus on creating a framework for supporting business succession in collaboration with other professionals in the region. If a company goes out of business at the same time as its representative retires, not only will the services provided cease, but the employees will also lose their jobs, which will have a significant impact on the local community. It is a critical issue for the community that companies plan and prepare for business succession at the earliest possible stage. If you have any concerns bout business succession, we encourage you to consult with an attorney in your area.

In addition, we will continue to support other activities to revitalize the local community, especially in Kawasaki City, where our firm is located, such as sponsoring local exchange activities and supporting a children’s cafeteria.

Tour of the New City Hall of Kawasaki City

At the end of last year, we toured the new Kawasaki City Hall, which was completed last year (2023). 25th floor observation deck is open to visitors free of charge. It is a different world that can be quickly ascended by elevator, and I felt more refreshed than I expected. If you haven’t been there yet, why not visit during the New Year when the air is clean?

Kawasaki City Website

Sumikawa Law Office is located across the street from the new Kawasaki City Hall (on the second floor of the Miyadai Building shown in the photo below). When you visit our office, consider taking 30 minutes and stop by the City Hall observation deck.

Kawasaki City Hall Observation Deck

Obtaining the Corporate Registration | Mitigating Risks in International Business Transactions with Japanese Companies

When receiving requests from international entities pertaining to debt collection and related matters, there are instances where the client lacks knowledge of the official name of the Japanese company involved in the transaction.

When engaging in business activities with a Japanese company, it is imperative to verify the corporate registration details. The corporate registry is accessible to the public, and a certified copy can be obtained through the Legal Affairs Bureau.

This registration encompasses crucial information such as the company’s head office address, as well as the name and address of its representative. Often, confirmation of the official company name necessitates referencing the corporate registration.

The existence of a valid corporate registration assures that the transaction’s counterparty is a legitimate entity, eliminating the risk of dealing with a fictitious counterpart. Additionally, knowledge of the representative’s address is gained through this process. As a preventive measure, it is advisable to request the counterparty to furnish a certified copy of the registration before finalizing any contractual agreements.

Even after starting an international transaction, it is recommended to obtain a copy of the company’s corporate registration if trouble is anticipated. Our firm can also obtain the corporate registration upon request.

New Year holidays| Japanese Law Firms

In Japan, many law firms take their year-end and New Year holidays in conjunction with the court holidays. The court holidays for the new year 2024 is from December 29 to January 3, , which is stipulated in Article 1, Paragraph 1, Item 3 of the law concerning court holidays.

However, since the second Monday of January is a national holiday (“Coming of Age Day”), some law firms take a slightly longer vacation and begin business on January 9.

Our office will be open from January 5th Friday (2024).