Summary courts in Japan are the equivalent of small claims courts in America. In general, these courts will only hear cases with a monetary value of 600,000 yen or less. Cases brought in this court are intended to be smaller and less complex, which is reflected in the relatively low limit on the size of the claims and the simplified trial procedure.
While arbitration provides a cost effective and faster alternative to filing a lawsuit in court, there are some similarities between the two systems. Two of the biggest similarities are the way notice is served and the participation of expert witnesses.
All arbitrations held in Japan are governed by the Japan Arbitration Act. However, this Act merely governs the process and rules of arbitration and, for the most part, does not touch on the content of the dispute. When it comes to the law being applied to the dispute between the parties, an arbitration in Japan can apply the law of any country, not just that of Japan.
Arbitration is a very flexible and powerful tool for resolving many different kinds of disagreements but it does not apply to every type of legal dispute. Generally, arbitration agreements apply to civil disputes that can normally be resolved through a settlement agreement.