Q: The world such as a living environment etc. is changing rapidly. Will laws be reviewed?
A: There are various fundamental laws on civil affairs: the Civil Code, the Commercial Code, the Companies Act, and the Code of Civil Procedure; they stipulate the basic rules for people’s daily lives and economic transactions, the family system, and the judicial proceedings. Recently in Japan, socioeconomic circumstances have been changing significantly, and public awareness has greatly diversified. The Ministry of Justice is conducting necessary examinations and reviews to make the fundamental laws on civil affairs responsive to those changes and suited to the current era. The ministry also delivers its views on law bills governed by other ministries and agencies on whether they are consistent with the fundamental laws from a standpoint of governing the fundamental laws on civil affairs.
Amendments to the fundamental laws have been made as follows: partial amendment to the Civil Code to introduce a new adult guardianship system in 1999; partial amendment to the Act on Building Unit Ownership (Act for Sectional Ownership, etc. of Building) to ensure appropriate management of buildings and to facilitate rebuilding in 2002; partial amendment to the Civil Code to review the security interest system in 2003; partial amendment to the Act on Special Provisions, etc. of the Civil Code Concerning the Perfection Requirements for the Assignment of Movables and Claims (Act on Special Provisions, etc. of the Civil Code Concerning the Perfection Requirements for the Assignment of Movables and Claims) to facilitate smooth procurement of capital by corporations as well as partial amendment to the Civil Code to review the guarantee system, etc. in 2004; partial amendment to the Civil Code to review the provisions regarding custody in terms of preventing child abuse in 2011; and partial amendment to the Civil Code to equalize portions between a child born in wedlock and a child born out of wedlock in 2013 in response to the Supreme Court’s decision on September 4, 2013, concluding that the difference is unconstitutional.
In addition, two laws were established: the Trust Act to modernize the trust law system in 2006; and the Electronically Recorded Monetary Claims Act to set up an electronically recorded monetary claims system in view of ensuring the safety and liquidity of transactions involving monetary claims in 2007.
The Bill for Partial Amendment to the Civil Code which substance is to conduct an overall review of the provisions pertaining to contracts is under deliberation in the Diet. Meanwhile, The Ministry of Justice is deliberating to revise the provisions on inheritance in the Civil Code.
In 2005, the Companies Act, the substance of which is to conduct a systematic and radical overhaul of the system, was enacted as the culmination of the repeated amendment about the rules and regulations of businesses. In 2014, the Companies Act was amended for the purpose of strengthening corporate governance, etc.
Meanwhile, the Insurance Act which substance is to conduct an overall review of the rules for insurance contract was enacted in 2008. The Ministry of Justice is deliberating to revise the provisions on transport and maritime transaction in the Commercial Code.
Civil Procedural Laws
With regard to civil procedural laws, the work to modernize old laws had been pushed forward sequentially, and such longstanding work for modernization is considered to have been completed by the enactment of the following laws: the Civil Execution Act in 1979, the Civil Provisional Remedies Act in 1989, the Code of Civil Procedure in 1996, the Civil Rehabilitation Act in 1999, the Corporate Reorganization Act in 2002, the Personal Status Litigation Act in 2003, the Bankruptcy Act in 2004, and the
Non-Contentious Cases Procedures Act and the Family Affairs Cases Procedures Act in 2011.
During this process, amendments have also been made as follows: partial amendment to the Civil Rehabilitation Act to establish the procedures for personal rehabilitation in 2000, partial amendment to the Code of Civil Procedure to enhance and accelerate the procedures for civil trials and partial amendment to the Civil Execution Act to ensure more effective practice of rights in 2003, partial amendment to the Code of Civil Procedure and other laws to make the procedures more available to the public in 2004, partial amendment to the Code of Civil Procedure to enable to adopt a video link system in examination of witnesses and examination of parties in 2007, and partial amendment to the Code of Civil Procedure and other laws to establish the provisions for international jurisdiction in 2011. Along with the amendments, the Act on Recognition of and Assistance for Foreign Insolvency Proceedings was enacted in 2000 and the Act on the Civil Jurisdiction of Japan with respect to a Foreign State, etc. was enacted in 2009, respectively. Thus, partial amendments and enactment of new laws have been implemented as needed.
Also in 2013, the Act on Implementation of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was enacted in association with conclusion of the Hague Convention by the government of Japan.
The Ministry of Justice is deliberating to develop the provisions on international jurisdiction concerning personal status litigation cases and domestic relation cases.
Private International Law
In 2006, the Act on General Rules for Application of Laws was enacted to make overall reviews on the rules for private international law and harmonize them with the rules of other countries.