What conditions must a foreign judgment meet to be enforceable in Japan?

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Japanese courts will recognize a final foreign judgment and enforce it in Japan if it meets certain conditions. First, the judgment must have been ordered by a court with proper jurisdiction and proper service must have been given to the defendant. Second, the judgment must not be contrary to public policy in Japan. Finally, a Japanese court will be reluctant to enforce a foreign judgment if the foreign country does not recognize Japanese court judgments in return.

In general, a Japanese court should not consider the merits of whether a foreign judgment was decided correctly. However, Japanese courts are allowed to consider various aspects of the decision, including procedural fairness, when deciding whether to enforce the foreign judgment in Japan.

To enforce a foreign judgment in Japan, one of the main requirements is that the judgment not be against Japan’s public policy. This requirement can take various forms but one common type of judgment that might be considered against public policy is an award for excessive damages in tort. For example, California law allows for doubling or tripling of damages against a defendant under certain circumstances. This type of damage award might be considered against public policy in Japan and not enforceable, although each award is considered on a case by case basis.

If you have any questions about enforcing a debt in Japan, please contact our office to set up a legal consultation.