Disputes and risk allocation

Dispute resolution

How are disputes between the government and defence contractor resolved?

In addition to regular litigation proceedings, complaints regarding government procurement can be resolved at the Office for Government Procurement Challenge System established by the Cabinet Office (CHANS: www5.cao.go.jp/access/japan/chans_main_j.html).

There are no special dispute resolution procedures applicable only to defence and security contractors.

To what extent is alternative dispute resolution used to resolve conflicts? What is typical for this jurisdiction?

Litigation is the typical method used to resolve conflicts, and out-of-court dispute resolution is rarely used. Since 1996, there have been no cases filed with CHANS against the Ministry of Defence.


What limits exist on the government’s ability to indemnify the contractor in this jurisdiction and must the contractor indemnify the government in a defence procurement?

Indemnity by the government is conducted in accordance with article 29, paragraph 3 of the Constitution.

On the other hand, as a rule, the government is not allowed to enter into guarantee agreements with respect to liabilities owed by companies or other juristic persons (article 3 of the Act on Limitation of Government Financial Assistance to Juridical Persons). However, in a court precedent, a loss indemnity agreement by a local government was deemed null and void as being in breach of article 3 of the Act on Limitation of Government Financial Assistance to Juridical Persons.

The liability of a contractor under a defence and security articles procurement agreement is provided in the contract it enters into with the government, and thus depends on the individual case. However, the government would rarely claim indemnity from a contractor unless required in the Civil Code (defect liabilities, etc).

Limits on liability

Can the government agree to limit the contractor’s liability under the contract? Are there limits to the contractor’s potential recovery against the government for breach?

There are no laws or regulations that restrict the government from limiting the liability of a defence and security articles contractor under the contract, or restrict the defence and security articles contractor from recovering loss or damages from the government owing to breach of contract. Limitations, if any, are subject to the terms and conditions of each contract.

Risk of non-payment

Is there risk of non-payment when the government enters into a contract but does not ensure there are adequate funds to meet the contractual obligations?

When the government enters into a procurement contract, normally it must conduct an ‘act to assume national treasury debts’ (article 15 of the Fiscal Act), and as the necessary budget is secured by such act, there is basically no risk of non-payment.

Parent guarantee

Under what circumstances must a contractor provide a parent guarantee?

A parent guarantee would be necessary if it is clearly required under the bid terms. A parent guarantee may be required when procurement is conducted through a special purpose company, for example.