Japanese courts are suspending the court dates to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Japanese courts are now suspending many court dates in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

They started suspending the court dates after the Japanese government has declared the state of emergency on 7th April 2020. And now, following the extension of the declaration until the end of May 2020, the court dates scheduled in May are being suspended in many courts throughout Japan.

As there are many new potential cases which weren’t filed because of the voluntarily “stay home” in April, the court will likely to be very much over-scheduled after they re-open the suspended court dates after the end of May.

There are several different procedures at the court. Two major procedures are lawsuit (“Sosho”) and conciliation (“Cho-tei”). Japanese legal system requires conciliation procedure to be held before the lawsuit for several types of cases. This includes many family procedures such as divorce. Which means, if you want to file a divorce case to a Japanese court, you will first have to file for a conciliation procedure. You cannot go to lawsuit directly.

As the conciliation procedure includes more “close, detailed and long conversations” in a small room compared to lawsuits, there may be considerable delays for conciliation procedures for a long period of time (maybe more than several months).

For people who have serious and urgent legal issues at this moment, it will be important to move quicker than usual, taking into account the possibility of significant delays at the court.

COVID-19 Countermeasures at Sumikawa Law Office

In Japan, the state of emergency declaration (due to COVID-19) was extended until the end of May 2020. In order to ensure the safety of our clients and staffs, we are taking the following measures.

  • Request all guests and staffs to wash their hands when entering the office.
  • Disinfectant spray at the entrance and meeting room.
  • Acrylic boards are installed in the meeting room to prevent infection (up to three people can be interviewed at the same time).
  • Wear a mask (those without masks will be given one mask per person)
  • Paper cups are used for drinks.
  • Ventilation.
  • Disinfection of the meeting room for each consultation.

For legal issues such as debt, business problems, inheritance, divorce, etc. it is important to have a consultation with the attorney early on in order to achieve a better resolution.

We take measures to prevent infection as described above, so if you wish to consult with us, please contact us as soon as possible. We can also provide web consultation (zoom, skype, google meets) for now.

We installed acrylic boards in our meeting room to prevent infection.

Links to Covid-19 English information in Japan

Coronavirus outbreak
Multilingual coronavirus hotlines in Japan

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19
Q & A on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
METI’s Support Measures for Companies Concerning the Impacts of the Novel Coronavirus Disease

Kawasaki International Association
Counselling Services for Foreign Residence is currently available only by phone or e-mail. Face-to- face consultation is not available.

Kanagawa prefecture
Regarding the new coronavirus (COVID-19)

the japan times

COVID-19 Phrases in 19 languages(FREE)

Bicycle Liability Insurance

From October 2019, bicycle liability insurance has become mandatory for bicycle users in Kanagawa prefecture, including Kawasaki city.

There were bicycle accident cases where bicycle users ended up being sued by the victims for a huge amount of money, but couldn’t afford to pay.

More importantly, a lot of cases involve minors on bicycles causing accidents. It is very important to pay attention to the risk of injuring (or even killing) other people by riding bicycle, as well as you and your family’s safety.

Being insured will make a huge difference for the bicycle user and also for the victim, when the worst scenario happens.

Bicycle liability insurance is available from such as 300 yen per month and a lot of insurance companies offer family bicycle insurance plans.

As the new year is rolling around, it is a great opportunity to review your insurance coverage and see if you and your children are sufficiently protected.

Year End Seminar and Party 2019 (December 19th Thursday)

Please register from the event page.

Kawasaki One-stop Business Startup Center is holding a Seminar and Networking Event about Business Startups in Japan. The seminar is about basic knowledge about visa and taxation for business startups in Japan. The lecture will be performed in English.

December 19, 2019  (Thursday) 

18:45~20:45 (Doors open at 18:30) 

Sumikawa Law Office