APEC economy: Japan; Jurisdiction: Japan

Temporary practice ('fly-in, fly-out' practice)

There is no express rule allowing temporary practice by foreign lawyers.

Limited licensing of foreign lawyers (foreign legal consultant rules)

A foreign lawyer can obtain a limited licence entitling them to offer advisory services in foreign and international law (ie become a 'Gaikokuho-Jimu-Bengoshi' (GJB)).

The relevant legislation is the Act on Special Measures Concerning the Handling of Legal Services by Foreign Lawyers.

Details of the requirements for qualifying for a limited licence and what a limited licence entitles a foreign lawyer to do are included in the database. A service supplier must be recognised as a GJB by the Minister of Justice and register with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. The conditions for granting recognition by the Minister include that the service supplier be qualified as a lawyer in the foreign jurisdiction, has practised for at least three years, is not subject to disqualification, intends to undertake the profession in good faith, plans to perform its functions properly and steadily, and possesses the capability to compensate for damages caused to a client, if any.

As to scope of practice requirements, the rules set forth that a foreign lawyer (GJB) may offer advisory services on the law of the jurisdiction where he or she is qualified. They may not offer legal representational services in court or express opinions concerning laws of a jurisdiction other than the one where they are qualified. Moreover, there are limitations in relation to documents and other matters that can be undertaken by a GJB.

In order to offer advisory services in foreign and international law, a foreign legal consultant is not required to but may enter a commercial association with local lawyers.

As at June 2009, approximately 301 GJB limited licences had been granted to foreign lawyers in this jurisdiction.

Full licensing

A foreign lawyer cannot obtain a full licence to practise law in this jurisdiction.

Commercial association between lawyers and law firms

In this jurisdiction:


Category Name Website or other contact details
Organisation(s) that controls licensing of lawyers The Japan Bar Association www.nichibenren.or.jp/en
Other associations playing a significant role in developing policy for the legal profession Judicial System Department, Ministry of Justice www.moj.go.jp