The notary system in Japan is an organization of state licensed notary agents who provide official certification for contracts and other legal matters. By having a notary certify the signing of a contract, the issue of the executing the contract cannot be litigated in court as the notary’s certification removes all doubt that the parties signed the agreement in question. In this way, the notary system reducing the number of contract disputes that end up in litigation.
Before notarizing a document the notary will ask each party if they understand the agreement they are signing. Therefore, many notaries in Japan will refuse to notarize documents that are not written in Japanese because as the notary cannot tell if the parties understand a document correctly if the notary cannot read it. When an English document needs to be notarized it should either be translated into Japanese or taken to the nearest US embassy or consulate to have it notarized by an American notary.
If you have a question about notaries in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.