Is it possible to freeze the bank account of a debtor in Japan?

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A main concerns when enforcing a debt in Japan is that the debtor will simply remove any money from his or her bank account, hide it, and then pretend to be insolvent when the creditor tries to enforce the judgement.  In order to prevent this, the creditor can take a legal procedure to freeze any known bank accounts so the debtor cannot withdraw the funds.

Freezing a bank account will need to be done in a separate legal action from the trial regarding liability and also will require a deposit from the creditor to the court.  The size of the deposit will depend on the amount of money at stake in the litigation as well as whether the judge feels the creditor is likely to succeed in proving the debt.  Creditors should also keep in mind that, even if they freeze the account, any loans that the debtor has with the bank will be paid out of the account first, before the creditor can enforce the judgment against it.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, only accounts that the creditor knows about can be frozen.  The court cannot issue an order to freeze an account without the specific account number, bank and branch.

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