On 1 January 2008 the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association issued amended versions of its Commercial Arbitration Rules ("the Rules") and Regulations for Arbitrator's Remuneration ("the Regulations"). The most significant change concerns arbitrator remuneration. The Regulations have been amended so as to allow a maximum hourly rate for arbitrators of ¥80,000 (about US$750), double the previous cap (which applied unless all the parties agreed a higher rate). This change is potentially significant as, historically, there had been difficulties attracting top international arbitrators to conduct JCAA arbitrations because of the relatively low maximum hourly rate available.
The only change to the Rules relates to impartiality and independence of arbitrators, and requires arbitrators to submit to the JCAA without delay after their appointment a written undertaking to disclose any and all circumstances likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to his or her impartiality or independence, or to declare that there are no such circumstances. This undertaking is in addition to the obligation to fully disclose any such circumstances when approached in connection with appointment as an arbitrator and to disclose without delay any such circumstances during the course of the arbitration.