KIRAMEKI

Depositions in Japan During the Pandemic?A dim light at the end of the tunnel

(Published March 30, 2022)

The following is from the website of the US Embassy here in Japan, captured on March 30, 2022. It does not paint a picture of an easy process to take depositions during the pandemic. In fact, given the hurdles, it looks like depositions are still effectively halted in Japan. For details, contact the US Embassy.

Availability of Deposition Rooms

Tokyo Deposition Room (seats about 8 people)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions, in-person depositions have been suspended until further notice. Video depositions of witnesses located in Japan may be available on an extremely limited basis and subject to prior approval of the Japanese authorities. Japanese government approval is not guaranteed.

If you are a party, or counsel to a party, to litigation, flexible with your timing, are prepared to secure a court order for a deposition, and can provide the information below at a minimum to obtain Japanese government approval, then please contact tokyoacs@state.gov. Please provide the following information when writing to tokyoacs@state.gov. Incomplete requests will not be considered.

  • Name of parties to the litigation
  • Briefly, what the litigation concerns
  • Type of case (civil, criminal)
  • Which court it’s in
  • Preferred dates for the video deposition
  • Date of trial
  • Name of witness(es) to be deposed
  • Connection of witness(es) to the litigation
  • Parties present in the U.S. (names, positions, location in the U.S.)
  • Parties present in Japan (apart from the witness(es), provide names and positions)

We can provide further details, including information on how the depositions process might differ from the description provided below, once we receive an inquiry with all of the information listed above.

In the event your deposition request is approved by the Japanese authorities, please note the number of people in the depositions room should be kept to a minimum (e.g., the witness, one lawyer, the videographer). All other services you procure (e.g., court reporter, interpreter) can connect to the video deposition from their respective locations in Japan.