Japan PI Process Services

Legal Process Services in Japan

This page is intended to help those who wish to serve legal documents in Japan.

These include,for example:

  • Serving divorce papers from a foreign court to an individual in Japan.
  • Serving a summon or a subpoena from a foreign court to an individual or company in Japan.

Please be advised there are no personal document services in Japan. All legal documents must be served by the post office.

Serving Process in Japan

Official process service through MOFA


How Does Service of Legal Documents Work in Japan?

In many foreign countries, legal documents must be hand delivered by civilians, process servers or private investigators. However, in Japan, official papers like summons or subpoenas must be served by certified mail (Japan Post Office).

The official way to serve international documents is the Hague Convention compliant service through theMOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan). This process takes about 2 to 3 months to complete, but is the most legitimate method of process services and will not pose any legal issues in the latter part of your legal procedure.

Unofficial personal services are not illegal in Japan.

However, if the respondent questions the validity of the acquisition of the documents in the Japanese court, it could potentially be revoked. A personal service also poses an issue if you wish to enforce a court order in Japan.

Supplementary Process Service

How We Can Help

We do NOT recommend solely using outside private investigators to service legal documents inJapan.

However, we can assist with supplementary services:

  • Address tracking for the individual in question whose current address is unknown.
  • Supplementary process services to expedite the jurisdiction process along with the official service.(As a personal service, we can present the official documents as proof from the MOFA to the respondent to make a plea deal.)

Please refer to the HCCH Service Section under “Formal Process Services”.

— Our Services —

Service Process Service
Fee(Term) Level 1: US$499.00 (10 business days)
Lebel 2: US$999.00 (15 business days)
Description The service includes a service of document and an affidavir of service at a cosular service of embassy or Japanese notary public.

Level 1 applies to a case where the respondent is cooperative to us.

Level 2 applies to a case where the respondent is evasive, and we have to conduct surveillance to serve the document.

At any rate, please note that you must understand the legal limitation of personal service in Japan and assign us for the case where there is no issue that the respondent disputes the validity of our personal service.

Sample JP Notary Sample Affidavit of Service

FAQs on The Service Of Process

Do we need to translate the serving document?

Basically, you should serve the document with Hague compliant method rather than the private serving. You must translate the document as well if you’d like to do it with a formal manner.

Japan is not based on common law. There is no process service system in Japan. Legal documents must be served via post office in Japan by law. There is a good chance that the private service like our service won’t work well for a middle size or bigger company. Their attorney will simply neglect it and invalidate it at the Japanese District Court due to the plaintiff not complying the Hague Convention. In that case, the client has to serve the document with Hague method. So there is a good chance that the client will waste time and money for this.

You should better suggest the client contact a Hague attorney instead of process servers or simply serve it to their local subsidiary company.

We will take on this case only when both parties agree to the private service method where the defendant will never complain to the Japanese court.

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