Informatin about legally collecting unpaid money in Japan.
First of all, make sure you keep contracts, invoices, or any other documents which prove the payment required. Lack of those documents can make it difficult for your case to move forward in your favor.
Usually, we first negotiate with the other party for payment.
Send a content-certified letter. (“Naiyo-Shomei”)
Content-certified letter is a service provided by the postal office and designed to prove where you have sent it to and what is written in it. By claiming the payment through a content-certified letter, you can clearly express the details of your claim and also that you are strongly willing to collect your money. Sending a content-certified letter can also be a powerful approach to produce pressure on the other party. Additionally, you can also hire a lawyer to send a content-certified letter by the lawyer’s name.
2, Court Procedures
If the other party still does not pay, you will have to take court procedures, in order to perform court enforcement.
Court procedures include;
(1) Conciliation of civil affairs (Mediation)
(2) Notice of overdue payment
A Simple and quick procedure designed to receive the court decision made by reviewing documents. The potential disadvantage of this procedure is that the case will be required to move forward with a lawsuit if the other party has an argument.
(3) Lawsuit for small claims
A Simple and quick procedure designed for the payment of 600,000 yen or less.
3, Court Enforcement
After you get a court order, but if the other party refuses to pay, you will have to file for a court enforcement procedure.
Court enforcement is designed to forcibly collect the amount of your claim from the other party by seizing their properties. In order to take this procedure, you will need to specify their properties. You need to confirm what properties they own or where they have their bank accounts in advance.
Keep in mind that taking a court enforcement procedure cannot be an option if the other party has no properties or if you can’t specify their actual properties.
4, Cost etc.
As discussed above, there are several ways you can take to collect money in Japan. However, when the amount is small, it may not be practical to file for legal procedures.
The attorney fee for sending a simple content-certified letter is usually 50,000 yen (plus tax, translation fee and actual expenses), if you can come to our office for a meeting and the payment. If you cannot come to our office (such as when you are overseas), the fee for this procedure is 80,000 yen (plus tax, translation fee and actual expenses). The fees may vary depending on the complexity of the case.
The attorney fee for other procedures such as negotiation, conciliation, and lawsuit will vary depending on the amount of your claim. For more details, please see the page about the fees on our website. In general, it will cost more than 300,000 yen for the legal procedures.
Please note that even if you file a lawsuit and get the court’s order for payment, it doesn’t directly mean you can collect the money. If the other party has no money left, or if they run away to somewhere, it is not possible to collect the money.