Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters

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 “Mutual Legal Assistance” (MLA) referred here means the cooperation on provision of evidence(s) necessary for a criminal investigation or prosecution of a foreign State, based on the request by that State.

 Japan will provide the assistance to the request on criminal investigation and prosecution thus the requests of MLA to Japan should be initiated by the prosecuting and/or investigating authorities of the requesting State.

 Japan can provide assistance to a State without a mutual legal assistant treaty (MLAT) with Japan. Such assistance can be provided based on the principle of reciprocity and domestic law.

 If a request comes from a party to a MLAT/ MLAA (mutual legal assistant agreement) with Japan, Japan will provide assistance as required under the treaty/ agreement.
*  Current MLAT/MLAA partners:
    US, Korea, China, Hong Kong SAR, EU, Russia.

   A State Party to a multi-lateral treaty to which Japan adheres also and which prescribes that it may be used as a legal basis of mutual legal assistance, may base its request to Japan on that treaty in accordance with the treaty requirements.

** Applicable multi-lateral treaty includes: the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention).

Getting Assistance from Japan: Guidance

 We are pleased to provide guidance for sending a MLA request to Japan.
 Since the process and refusal causes can be differentiated if your country is a MLAT party with Japan, the following guidance explains both “non-Treaty” and “With Treaty” scenarios in a separate manner.

  MLA request,non-Treaty
  MLA request with Treaty
  Checklist for drafting a request

Laws and Treaties

 This section provides relevant laws and treaties for Mutual Legal Assistance.


Contact Us

International Affairs Division,

Criminal Affairs Bureau

Ministry of Justice

TEL: +81-3-3592-7049

FAX: +81-3-3592-7063  


External Links

Japanese Government

-          Ministry of Foreign Affairs

-          National Police Agency

International Bodies

-          UNODC

MLAT Partners

-          US Central Authority

-          Korea Central Authority

-          China Central Authority (Ministry of Justice)

-          China Central Authority (Ministry of Public Security)

-          HK Central Authority

-          Russia Central Authority (Ministry of Justice)

-          Russia Central Authority (General Prosecutor's Office)