The Act Partially Amending Personal Status Litigation Act etc.

April 25th,2018
Civil Affairs Bureau, the Ministry of Justice
The Act Partially Amending Personal Status Litigation Act etc. (Act No. 20 of 2018) established on April 18th, 2018 (promulgated on April 25th, 2018).

Prior to this Act being established, it was not expressly stipulated in the provisions of the “Personal Status Litigation Act (Act No. 109 of July 16th, 2003)” and the “Domestic Relations Case Procedure Act (Act No. 52 of May 25th, 2011)” regarding international jurisdiction (jurisdiction of the Japanese courts), which is a rule to decide when Japanese courts may conduct proceedings on or make judicial decisions on personal status litigation and domestic relations cases (e.g. a claim relating to an action for seeking a divorce filed by either a husband or wife against a spouse, and either one or both of them has foreign nationality).

The Amendment aims to provide fair and speedy solutions for personal status litigations and domestic relations cases, and provides rules under which Japanese courts may conduct proceedings on or make judicial decisions on these cases.
[Outline of The Act Partially Amending Personal Status Litigation Act etc.]
1. Personal Status Litigation
Under this Amendment, for example, with respect to a claim relating to an action for a divorce filed by either a husband or wife against a spouse, Japanese courts may conduct proceedings or make judicial decisions when;
(i) a defendant’s domicile (if the defendant has no domicile, their domicile is unknown, the defendant’s residence) is in Japan (paragraph 1 of Article 3-2 of the Personal Status Litigation Act amended by this Act);
(ii) both the husband and the wife have Japanese nationality (paragraph 5 of the same Article);
(iii) the last mutual domicile of the husband and the wife was in Japan and the plaintiff’s domicile is in Japan (paragraph 6 of the same article);
(iv) there are special circumstances, such as a situation when the plaintiff’s domicile is in Japan and the defendant has went missing, that it would be equitable to either party, or a fair and speedy trial can be guaranteed if the Japanese courts were to conduct a trial and reach a judicial decision in the action (paragraph 7 of the same Article).

2. Domestic Relations Cases
The Amendment also provides rules of jurisdiction for each type of case that Japanese courts may conduct proceedings on or make judicial decisions on adjudications and conciliations of domestic relations, such as an adjudication case for permission to adopt, for dissolution of a special adoption, for parental authority, for duty to support and for an inheritance (Article 3-2 to 3-13 of the Domestic Relations Case Procedure Act amended by this Act).

3. Other content of the Amendment
(The English translation of the Act is currently being prepared.)

[The Date of Enforcement of the Act]
The date of enforcement of the Act will be specified by Cabinet Order in the future. The Act will come into effect within a period not exceeding one year and six months from the date of promulgation.