The Japanese government, basically, does not disclose any personal information. Even with the legally permissible reasons, individuals are not allowed to get any third party disclosures from the government offices or companies.
PIs are not licensed and not given any privileges in Japan. However, attorneys are given the information request rights by The Attorney Act (The Attorney Act 23-2).
Bellow is the translation of the explanation of the Bar Association regarding this information request system and the legal clauses of the Attorney Act.
JFBA Information Request System
To whoｍ received inquiries from the Bar Association
The system of Information Request of the Bar Association is a system in which the Bar Association investigates and request necessary matters to organizations such as government agencies and companies based on Article 23-2 of the Attorney Act. It plays an important role in resolving conflicts fairly and quickly. We appreciate your understanding of the purpose of the system and your cooperation.
What is the Information Request System of the Bar Association System?
According to Article 23-2 of the Attorney Act, it is the Bar Association for investigating and requesting necessary matters to organizations such as government agencies and companies.
Why is there such a system?
When an attorney attempts to resolve a dispute under the delegation of a client, it is essential to gather information to prove the facts.
Since the client does not necessarily have the proof, it may be necessary to request the necessary matters to organizations such as government agencies and companies that are considered to have materials of proof.
Lawyers should have means to collect information due to the public nature of their duties.
How is the procedure for inquiries?
① All lawyers belong to a bar association in an area where the office is located. An attorney seeking an information request of attorneys submits the “request application” (request items and the reasons for the application) to the bar association concerned for the case which received the request.
② The Bar Association will conduct a strict screening on the formal aspects (inadequate contents etc. of the application form) and the substantial aspects (necessity/equivalency) for the information request application.
③ When the application is approved, the Bar Association will inquire to the government offices, companies, business establishments, etc. in the name of the president of the Bar Association. * If it is judged that the application is not appropriate, the bar association can refuse to apply for inquiries.
Do we have an obligation to respond to information requests?
You have an obligation to answer as a rule.
Is it that we do not contradict the Act on the Protection of Personal Information?
You do not contradict the Act on the Protection of Personal Information.
Attorney Act (Japan)
(Request for information) （報告の請求）
Article 23-2 (1) An attorney may request the bar association to which he/she belongs to make inquiries to public offices or public or private organizations for information necessary for a case to which he/she has been retained. The bar association may refuse the request if it finds such request to be inappropriate.
(2) A bar association may, pursuant to the request set forth in the preceding paragraph, request public offices or public or private organizations to provide necessary information.