Practical Guide to Real Estate Transactions in Japan

Introduction: When dealing with real estate transactions in Japan, whether it’s buying, selling, we can assist you as your representative. Real estate dealings on foreign soil can be intricate, but our specialized services facilitate a smooth process.

1) Selecting the Right Real Estate Agent: Choose a trustworthy real estate agent. Our firm has an extensive network of reliable real estate experts in Japan. We can introduce you to agents, regardless of whether you’re buying or sellinga real estate.

The selection of a real estate agent is the most important factor in a real estate transaction. It is difficult for the general public to understand local regulations regarding real estate and its value relative to the surrounding market.

As in any other country, there are some bad agents, so you need to be careful, especially with income-producing properties that have high profit margins. Recently, we have seen investment damage where old properties are sold to unknowledgeable people for many times their original value. In some cases, vendors promise to guarantee rent through subleasing, but the vendors do not actually pay.

2) Legal Representation for Contract Signing: When it comes to signing contracts, a typical real estate transaction in Japan often involves first signing a contract and paying a deposit, and then settling the balance of the purchase price some time later (e.g., one month later). Therefore, the seller and buyer need to get together and meet twice, just at the time of signing the contract.

For some clients, it is difficult to travel to Japan just to sign a contract. In such cases, our qualified attorney can step in as your representative. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, we can review the legal aspects, and also sign the contract in place of you.

3) Expert Support for Post-Transaction Matters: Even after contract signing, there still are complexities of property registration and tax procedures. We’ll connect you with professionals fluent in English to ensure effective communication during these crucial stages.

Please Note: Property selection remains your responsibility. We urge you to engage in thorough discussions with real estate agents and make informed decisions aligned with your goals, as we do not provide guarantees.

Our office is located in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture (next to Tokyo). Therefore, in principle, our office can provide support for real estate transactions only in the vicinity of Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture. For support in other areas, costs may be higher due to travel fees, etc.

Difference between original (GENPON), authenticated copy (SEIHON) and certified copy (TOUHON)| Notarized Wills in Japan

When you create a notarized will at a Japanese Notary Public’s office, the notary will prepare three types of wills: original document, authenticated copy, and certified copy. The differences are as follows

(1) Original document (GENPON)

The “original document” of a notarized will is the will signed and sealed by the testator, witnesses, interpreter, and notary respectively. This is the original document, and only one original exists in the world. The original is kept at the notary office and is not provided to the testator.

(2) Authenticated copy (SEIHON)

When a notarized will is prepared, the notary public prepares an “authenticated copy”, which has the same effect as the original, and provides it to the testator.

The authenticated copy will be used to execute the will, so if an executor has been designated, it would be smooth to hand over the authenticated copy to the executor.

If the authenticated copy is lost, it can be reissued at the notary public’s office.

(3) Certified copy (TOUHON)

The notary public also prepares a “certified copy” and provides it to the testator. A certified copy is also a copy of the original, but it does not have the same effect as the authenticated copy. A certified copy will not be accepted for procedures at financial institutions (cancellation of the accounts) or legal affairs bureaus (registration of the real estates).

For this reason, it is advisable to keep the above mentioned authenticated copy strictly so as not to lose it, and to check the certified copy when the need arises to confirm the contents of the will.

Related Articles

Leaving a Will (Testament) in Japan
Cost for Creating a NOTARY DEED WILL

Explanation of Terms Concerning Civil Rehabilitation Proceedings in Japan (Tentative Version)


Civil Rehabilitation proceedings

A legal procedure taken by a company that has difficulty repaying its debts in order to avoid bankruptcy by reducing the amount of existing debts. The company itself continues to operate as before.


Date of petition for Civil Rehabilitation

The date the petitioning attorney of the debtor company files the petition for civil rehabilitation with the court. (March 2nd for this case)


Date of court order for commencement of Civil Rehabilitation proceedings

The date on which the court receiving the petition for civil rehabilitation formally initiates the legal proceedings for civil rehabilitation (March 7th for this case)


Rehabilitation claim

Claims arising prior to the date of order of commencement of civil rehabilitation proceedings.


Common benefit claim

Claims arising after the date of the order of commencement of civil rehabilitation proceedings. Since it will be impossible for the company to operate if this is not repaid, it is treated like a normal transaction, and the company is obligated to repay it as promised.


Changing from Rehabilitation claim to Common Benefit claim

The court, upon the company’s petition, shall convert rehabilitation claims that accrued between the date of petition and the date of commencement order to common benefit claims.

Denial of new cell phone contract due to delinquent payments

If you are delinquent on your cell phone bill, a new cell phone contract may be restricted.

Arrears include either (or both) of the following.

1) Telephone line payments
Call charges and data charges for a phone line

2) Machine unit payments
Installment payments for the the cell phone machine (e.g., iPhone).

For each of these charges, there is an organization that manages credit information.

1) Telephone line payments

If you pay off the past-due phone line charges, you may be able to sign a new line contract. (However, some phone companies may not allow you to sign a new contract.)

2) Machine unit payments

If you are delinquent in paying installment payments for the your cell phone machine (such as an iPhone), your ability to make purchases by installment payments will be restricted until your credit information is deleted. In most cases, you will also not be approved for new credit cards or loans, even if these are separate from the phone contracts.

3) Deletion of Credit Report

Generally, credit information is retained for five years after it is paid off.
This information cannot be deleted earlier.

4) Alternative method

If you are unable to have a new cell phone contract, you will only be able to use a prepaid cell phone.

Golden Week in Japan

Golden Week

Golden Week in Japan is a period of consecutive holidays from the end of April to the beginning of May each year.

National holidays are April 29 (Showa Day), May 3 (Constitution Day), May 4 (Greenery Day), and May 5 (Children’s Day). Therefore, some companies also take the weekdays before and after these days off, making them long consecutive holidays for Japan, which does not have a custom of taking vacations.

Events in Kawasaki

During this period, various social events are held in Kawasaki City. Many food stalls are set up, and it is fun to take a walk on a nice day.

Inage Kanpai Beer Day #Kanpai Kawasaki

Kawasaki Asian Festa

Haisai Festa (Okinawa Festival in Kawasaki)

Our Business Days

Sumikawa Law Office will be closed from May 3 (Wed.) to May 5 (Fri.), 2023 for the Golden Week holiday. After the holidays, we will be open for business from May 8 (Mon.).