Is there a system of public notaries in Japan?

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Like many countries around the world, Japan maintains a system of notaries to certify documents and notarize signatures.  The Ministry of Justice in Japan overseas the appointment and regulation of notaries in Japan, many of whom are former judges or prosecutors.  In Japan, notaries most often are asked to attest to a private deed or prepare a notary deed upon request based on facts or legal rights.

Notaries essentially serve as preventative legal measure against breach of a contract.  Once a contract has been notarized, parties are less likely to break it since the notarization serves as presumptive evidence that they agreed to the contract through their own free will.  Furthermore, a notary deed or contract that has been notarized has powerful evidentiary value in court should a lawsuit arise.  Additionally, even if the original contract has been misplaced or stolen, notarial deeds are kept in the notary’s office to prevent them from being lost or destroyed.

In some international cases, notarizing at a consulate or embassy may be preferable to using a Japanese notary.  However, since notarizing a signature does not require the notary to understand the language or content of a contract, even Japanese notaries can notarize a signature on an English legal document.

Our office can help with the notary process by providing translation and walking you through the process.  If you have any questions about the notary system in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.