Japanese Rules on International Jurisdiction
Malaysian Airlines System case presented the following general rules
- No explicit statutory provisions on international jurisdiction in Japan
- It has to be decided in accordance with principles of justice
- The provision on distribution of the venue among the local courts reflect those principles.
First of all, I would like to briefly introduce Japanese general rules on International Jurisdiction
Japanese rules concerning international jurisdiction in general are governed by case law. A leading Supreme Court case that dealt with this issue was the Malaysian Airlines System case in 1981. This case presented some general rules on international jurisdiction with regard to civil and commercial matters, which is,
(1) There are no explicit statutory provisions on international jurisdiction in Japan
(2) Therefore, international jurisdiction has to be decided in accordance with principles of justice which would require that fairness be maintained between parties, and a proper and prompt trial be secured;
(3) The provisions on distribution of the venue among the local courts as established in the Civil Procedure Code reflect those principles, although those are not concerned with international jurisdiction itself. Therefore, a defendant should be subject to the jurisdiction of Japan when the conditions meet the provisions for venue set forth in the Civil Procedure Code.
Although there have been minor variations in lower court judgements since this case was ruled, roughly speaking, this judgement still can be called case law on international jurisdiction.