Arbitration agreements

What are the formal requirements for an enforceable arbitration agreement?

The Arbitration Law requires that an arbitration agreement be in writing (article 13). Electronic records of agreements are deemed to be in writing.

Arbitral procedure

Does the domestic law contain substantive requirements for the procedure to be followed?

The Arbitration Law contains almost the same procedural rules as those of the UNCITRAL Model Law. It stipulates that the ‘equal treatment principle’ be the basic substantial rule of procedure (article 25). Besides this principle, parties are free to agree on procedural rules, subject to ensuring that there is no violation of public policy principles contained in the Arbitration Law. If the parties’ agreement on the procedure is silent, the arbitral tribunal may, subject to the provisions of the Arbitration Law, conduct the arbitration in a manner it considers appropriate.


When and in what form must the award be delivered?

As stipulated in the UNCITRAL Model Law, the arbitral tribunal has to render a reasoned award in writing and signed by the arbitrators. A copy signed by the arbitrators must be delivered to each party after the award date.


On what grounds can an award be appealed to the court?

No; there is no right of further appeal. The parties to the arbitration have a right to set aside the award only when certain specific events stipulated in the Arbitration Law occur (the events are identical to those in the UNCITRAL Model Law). In Descente Ltd v Adidas-Salomon AG et al, 123 Hanrei Jiho 1847 (2004), the court decided, obiter, that there are no grounds for setting aside an award other than those already contained in the Arbitration Law.


What procedures exist for enforcement of foreign and domestic awards?

As stipulated in the UNCITRAL Model Law, an arbitral award can be enforced when the relevant court recognises an award (article 45). Substantial requirements for recognition are almost the same as stipulated in the UNCITRAL Model Law. When the court recognises the award, the court renders an enforcement decision. With respect to the procedure of obtaining an enforcement decision, the Arbitration Law provides that the court may call for oral arguments. In Japan, enforcement procedures have not generally been affected by changes in the political landscape.