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Law suit by yourself in Japan

When you operate your business in Japan, or you work as salaried person, there are possibilities that some persons do not pay purchase amount or salary to you.
Or when you lease your property  in Japan, but your renter does not pay rental fee for several months.


In these cases, you will file civil suit ( Minji sosho ) .

In order to file civil suit, you want to hire a lawyer.
But, when the amount of damage is small and you hire lawyer and pay some fee, most of money you have collected other party will be offset with lawyer’s fee.

Assumed that  you sell your merchandise of 100,000 yen to Nancy and she does not pay purchase amount.

In order to file civil suit, you need to prepare proof.
For example proof that you and Nancy agreed to sell and purchase your merchandise.
Then you have delivered your merchandise to Nancy.

Then nonetheless your order Nancy did not pay purchase amount against agreement.

In order to prepare proof, you can use “contents-certified mail”( naiyo shomei yubin ).

When you use this mail, post office investigate content of the letter. And sender and post office sustain duplicate copy of your letter.

Content of this letter will be like below.

Notice May,16th,2015

To Ms Nancy

I sold books to you and delivered it to you at January,10th,2015.  And I sent bill at January,16th,2015. But nonethless I ordered you to pay it but you did not pay it until now.
So, please pay it by May, 31th, 2015.

You can apply contents-certified mail via internet.

After you sent this mail, you will wait for payment. However,even after May, 31th, 2015, Nancy did not pay at all. She just ignored contact from you.

Then you hire lawyer to file civil suit to collect 100,000 yen.

Assumed lawyer’s fee is 100,000 yen.
In that case, you can not charge the amount of lawyer’s fee of 100, 000 yen against Nancy.

So, when the amount of nonpayment is small, you need to file civil suit by yourself.

Here, I will explain this process.

When the amount of nonpayment is small, you can file small claim action ( Shogaku sosho = 少額訴訟  ).

When the amount of nonpayment is below 600,000 yen, you can apply small claim action to summary court ( Kan i saibansho = 簡易裁判所 ).

In the case of action on small claim, process is easier that normal civil suit.
( Even if you have difficult in understanding Japanese language, I can support you. )

You go to summary court that has jurisdiction on your case.
When you sold your merchandise, Nancy needs to send money via bank transfer, summary court that has jurisdiction over your residence is summary court that has jurisdiction.

So, if you has residence in Tokyo, Tokyo district summary court has jurisdiction.

You submit petition to courthouse.
Courthouse serves a summons on opponent ( Nancy ).
If Nancy does not participate in 1st date and neglect the summon, you can win in your case.

In the case of small claim action, you can obtain judgement within a day basically.

However, even if you have obtained winning judgement, Nancy may not pay her duty.

In order to collect your money from Nancy, you need to submit compulsory execution ( Kyosei sikko = 強制執行 ).

Nancy may have some money in her bank account.
But in order to seize her money in her bank account, you need to find her bank account by yourself.

There may be a bank in her neighborhood.
So, you will file compulsory execution to seize her bank account in the bank.

When you file compulsory execution, you do not need to know her bank account number.
You need to know branch name and name of bank account, like Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ bank, Ginza branch, Nancy Yamada.

Unfortunately, if she does not have money in her bank account, this compulsory execution comes to nothing.