Latest updates

Recent developments regarding attorney-client privilege
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Japan
  • 17 October 2019

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Japan is one of only three OECD jurisdictions to not recognise attorney-client privilege. In response to discussions and lobbying, the Diet has announced amendments to the Anti-monopoly Law which will partially introduce attorney-client privilege in administrative investigations pursuant to ordinances under the law or certain prescribed guidelines.

Patent Act revisions: new evidence collection system and damages calculation methodology
Nishimura & Asahi
  • Intellectual Property
  • Japan
  • 14 October 2019

Japan's patent litigation system has often been said to offer insufficient protection to patentees. As such, recent amendments to the Patent Act aim to improve the effectiveness of the patent litigation system and make it more favourable to patentees (especially small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups) by introducing a new evidence collection system and a new methodology for calculating damages.

New protection for Big Data under Unfair Competition Prevention Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Japan
  • 05 September 2019

The Unfair Competition Prevention Act was recently amended to afford new legal protection to Big Data. Although this new legal protection is expected to increase data use, in order to qualify as protected data, data must be managed accordingly. Thus, all parties which use Big Data in their business should review their management systems, internal rules and agreements regarding the handling of data in order to ensure that such data can fall under the definition of protected data set out in the act.

New protection for Big Data under Unfair Competition Prevention Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media
  • Japan
  • 30 August 2019

The Unfair Competition Prevention Act was recently amended to afford new legal protection to Big Data. Although this new legal protection is expected to increase data use, in order to qualify as protected data, data must be managed accordingly. Thus, all parties which use Big Data in their business should review their management systems, internal rules and agreements regarding the handling of data in order to ensure that such data can fall under the definition of protected data set out in the act.

New plea bargaining system in practice
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • White Collar Crime
  • Japan
  • 12 August 2019

Since Japan's first plea bargaining system was introduced in June 2018, prosecutors have used plea bargains in two cases, the second of which led to the dramatic arrest of Carlos Ghosn, former CEO and chair of Renault-Nissan, on the tarmac of Haneda Airport in November 2018. The one-year anniversary of the new system therefore seems like an appropriate time to take stock of the first cases and examine the implications for the future.

Radio Act amended to promote innovation using foreign WiFi and Bluetooth devices
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Product Regulation & Liability
  • Japan
  • 08 August 2019

The Diet recently amended the Radio Act to provide simple procedures for using radio equipment that has not been technically certified in Japan for experimental purposes. The amendments are expected to foster innovation with regard to technology-related products by addressing the challenge faced by foreign manufacturers and other business operators that have struggled to bring prototype products with WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities into Japan for experimental purposes.

New resident status categories for foreign nationals
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Immigration
  • Japan
  • 02 August 2019

Two new resident status categories for foreign nationals were recently put in place in order to cope with Japan's labour shortage. The first of these new resident categories is the specified skills 1 category, which covers individuals who have a substantial degree of knowledge or skill in the 14 initial industrial fields that require additional labour. The second, the specified skills 2 category, covers individuals who have sufficient skills in the specified industrial fields.

TOP-SIDER case: improper use and cancellation of trademark registration
Nishimura & Asahi
  • Intellectual Property
  • Japan
  • 24 June 2019

A recent IP High Court case concerned the cancellation of a trademark registration due to a non-exclusive licensee's improper use of the registered mark. Cases regarding cancellation based on Article 53 of the Trademark Act are rare, and cases in which requests to cancel a trademark registration on this basis are granted are even more so. As such, this case is an interesting example of how the IP High Court determines improper use of a registered trademark.

Whistleblowing certification regime launched
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • White Collar Crime
  • Japan
  • 13 May 2019

Over the past decade, a number of significant regulatory and compliance issues have affected large multinationals based in Japan. As such, the Consumer Affairs Agency recently created a certification regime for corporate whistleblowing systems, which is designed to incentivise businesses to voluntarily enhance their own whistleblowing systems and thereby gain the trust of various stakeholders, including shareholders, counterparties and consumers.

Amendments to Financial Instruments and Exchange Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Capital Markets
  • Japan
  • 30 April 2019

Cabinet recently submitted a bill to the 198th session of the Diet to amend, among other acts, the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and the Payment Services Act. Among other things, the amendments introduce new regulations for security-type digital tokens (ie, initial coin offerings and security token offerings) and clarify that digital tokens issued in consideration for crypto assets will be regarded as deemed securities.

Bill introduced to reform Design Act
Nishimura & Asahi
  • Intellectual Property
  • Japan
  • 29 April 2019

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry recently announced that the Cabinet has approved the Bill for the Reform of the Patent and Design Acts, which will now be submitted to the Diet. This article provides a summary of the reformed Design Act, which has – among other things – expanded the scope of protected designs, improved the related design system and increased the duration of design rights.

Amendments to Payment Services Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Banking
  • Japan
  • 26 April 2019

Cabinet recently submitted a bill to the 198th session of the Diet to amend, among other acts, the Payment Services Act (PSA). The PSA amendments aim to strengthen the regulation of virtual currency exchange service providers. Among other things, the changes concern crypto asset custody, the advertisement and solicitation of crypto assets and crypto asset margin transactions.

New commitment procedure under Anti-monopoly Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Japan
  • 18 April 2019

A new commitment procedure was recently introduced to the Anti-monopoly Act (AMA), enabling enterprises to voluntarily resolve suspected violations of the AMA with the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). If a commitment is approved, the conduct of the enterprise concerned will not be considered a violation of the AMA and the enterprise will not be subject to legal penalties. The new procedure may lead to more active enforcement by the JFTC.

Recharacterisation of product risks
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Product Regulation & Liability
  • Japan
  • 18 April 2019

Although product compliance has always been an important issue for manufacturers, it has historically been overshadowed by safety-related product risks, and considerations regarding product compliance have typically been integrated with other product risks. However, manufacturers' awareness of the risks associated with product compliance has grown and it is now a top priority. The catalyst for this shift in attitude was a recent spate of data falsification cases.

Amendments to regulations on working hours and paid annual leave
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Japan
  • 10 April 2019

A number of amendments to Japan's labour and employment laws recently took effect. Among other things, the amendments concern the monitoring of employee working hours, paid annual leave, the so-called 'highly professional system' and overtime limits. Employers should ensure that their policies and practices comply with the amendments to ensure an easy transition to Japan's new employment framework.

Supreme Court clarifies requirements for enforcement of foreign judgments
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
  • Litigation
  • Japan
  • 09 April 2019

The Supreme Court recently considered the enforceability of a Californian default judgment which had been served on the defendant at the wrong address. The decision clarifies that in cases involving the enforcement of a foreign judgment, service of the initial complaint through diplomatic or consular agents is required. However, service of the judgment through diplomatic or consular agents is unnecessary.

Determining recoverable damages following material misstatements in securities registration statements
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Capital Markets
  • Japan
  • 02 April 2019

If a securities registration statement contains a material misstatement, investors that acquire securities through the relevant offering can hold the issuing company liable for related damages. However, it is unclear what level of damages is recoverable if the issuing company successfully proves that the loss incurred by the investor is at least partly attributable to an unrelated factor or circumstance. A recent Supreme Court judgment has provided some clarity in this regard.

Fixed overtime payment arrangements
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Japan
  • 27 March 2019

Under Japanese law, employers must – in principle – pay an allowance to employees who work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. As such, from an employer's perspective, it is practical to include an employee's overtime allowance in their base salary where possible. However, for an employee's overtime allowance to be validly included in their base salary, certain requirements must be satisfied. These requirements are a hot topic in Japanese legal practice.

Kyoto District Court rules on raising of capital by third-party allotment
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Capital Markets
  • Japan
  • 08 January 2019

The Kyoto District Court recently ruled in favour of a shareholder's petition that a listed issuer cease an offering of its new shares by third-party allotment on the grounds that the offering had been conducted through an 'extremely unfair method', despite having been approved by a resolution at the issuer's shareholders' meeting. The court adopted the main purpose rule in accordance with prior court rulings and concluded that the share offering's main purpose had been to reduce the petitioning shareholder's shareholding.

Overview of IP rights border measures
Nishimura & Asahi
  • Intellectual Property
  • Japan
  • 24 December 2018

In Japan, Customs can seize goods during export or import where they infringe various IP rights. If Customs suspects that certain goods infringe IP rights, it will initiate an identification procedure and notify both the importer and the IP rights holder. If the goods are found to infringe IP rights and no voluntary disposal measures were taken during the protest period, Customs may confiscate and destroy the infringing goods.