Japan Limits Restrictions on Foreign Arbitration Counsel


The Japanese Diet has passed amendments to the law governing lawyers to permit foreign attorneys to represent clients at international arbitrations in Japan. These amendments are aimed at drawing more international arbitrations to Japan, where foreigners have been reluctant to agree to arbitrate. Under the new law, international arbitrations are those involving at least one foreign party. Foreign attorneys will still not be permitted to represent parties where all parties are Japanese. To accomodate the legislative changes, the two principal international arbitral institutions in Japan , the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association and the Tokyo Maritime Arbitration Commission of the Japan Shipping Exchange, amended their rules to permit their proceedings to be conducted in English. The amendments went into effect on September 1, 1996.