“International jurisdiction” means that the courts of a given country will be the most appropriate to hear and determine a case that has an international dimension.
Japanese statute law previously did not contain any provision regarding international jurisdiction in international or transnational divorce cases.
If the respondent to a divorce action lives in Japan (is domiciled in Japan), then Japan will have jurisdiction with respect to that case.
But what if the defendant lives outside Japan?
The Supreme Court has held that courts should determine the issue of jurisdiction by taking into account matters of reasonableness, equity (fairness) between the parties, and proper andtimely justice.
The Personal Status Litigation Act was amended particially. The international jurisdiction over personal status cases was specified in Article 3-2.
The amendment came into effect on April 1, 2019.
According to the Article 3-2, filing suits to Japanese courts are granted when;
(i) a defendant’s domicile (if the defendant has no domicile, their domicile is unknown, the defendant’s residence) is in Japan(paragraph 1);
(ii) both the husband and the wife have Japanese nationality (paragraph 5);
(iii) the last mutual domicile of the husband and the wife was in Japan and the plaintiff’s domicile is in Japan (paragraph 6);
(iv) there are special circumstances, such as a situation when the plaintiff’s domicile is in Japan and the defendant has went missing, that it would be equitable to either party, or a fair and speedy trial can be guaranteed if the Japanese courts were to conduct a trial and reach a judicial decision in the action (paragraph 7), etc.
The English translation is a provisional one and is not an official translation.