Do you want to become a lawyer in Japan, but you do not know where to begin? You have entered the right page. Red tape in Japan is not comparable anywhere, and you have to pass a few stages. You will learn how to immigrate and work as a lawyer in Japan through this page. 

What are the requirements to become a lawyer in Japan?

The requirements to become a lawyer in Japan depend on your choice. There are two ways to become a lawyer in Japan: 

  1. Study law in Japan.
  2. Register as a foreign lawyer in Japan. 

The requirements for the two ways are different. You should look at your conditions and decide which one is right for you. 

Also, there are restrictions and limitations in the two ways. You have to learn about Japanese law and determine whether you can work in the field you want or not. 

The requirements are as follows for the two ways. 

1. Study law in Japan and get a degree. 

These are the requirements for this way of becoming a lawyer in Japan. 

Admission to a Japanese University. 

The first way to become a lawyer in Japan is to study law in one at a Japanese university. So you have to get admission to one of them. You have to find a university that offers a law curse and learn about the admission requirements. 

Pass the Japanese bar exam. 

This is the exam that everyone who wants to become a lawyer in Jpoaan must pass. You can pass the bar exam without having a university degree, but most lawyers have a university degree. 

You should know that passing the bar exam without a university degree is hard. The Japanese bar exam is one of the most difficult exams in the world. The pass rate is low, and only a few people pass it every year.

Law diploma. 

As explained, you have to pass the bar exam to become a lawyer in Japan. You can take the bar exam with a Japanese law diploma. 

Many Japanese universities offer a law diploma. You should find out which one gets international studies and how you can get into one of them. The university website has all the information you need.

Complete the training.

After you pass the Japanese bar examination, you have to take one-year training at the Legal Training and Research Institute of Japan’s Supreme Court. 

This training course is to get familiar with the Japaene legal processing and also a form of assessment. You have to complete it to become a licensed lawyer in Japan. 

Preliminary test.

If you can not or do not want to go to law school, there is another way to take the bar exam. You can take the preliminary test (yobi-shiken) and sit for the bar exam. It was introduced in 2011 by the Japanese government. 

Language proficiency. 

You might need Japanese language proficiency. If the law course you want to pass in the university is Japanese, you are likely to need language proficiency. But it’s likely that you need language proficiency. 

There are tests and exams that you have to pass, which are likely to be in Japanese. 

2. Register as a foreign lawyer in Japan.

If you are already a lawyer in your home country and want to move to Japan, you will get called a Registered Foreign Lawyer (Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi) or “GJB.” 

You have to pass two stages to become a lawyer: 

  1. Get approval from the Minister of Justice. 
  2. Registration as a special member of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (“JFBA”)
  3. Register with the local bar association.

You must have at least two years of work experience as a lawyer to register as a lawyer in Japan. 

Become a lawyer in Japan by studying law.

There is another way to become a lawyer in Japan if you are not a lawyer in your home country. You can take a law degree in one of the Japanese universities. 

For the first step, you have to find a Japanese university that provides law courses. These are some of the universities that offer a new courses: 

  • Kyushu University – Graduate School of Law 
  • The University of Tokyo · 東京大学 
  • Nagoya University – Graduate School of Law 
  • Waseda University – Graduate School of Law 
  • Keio University Law School (KLS) 
  • Chuo University – Graduate School of Law 
  • Beasley School of Law at Temple University, Japan Campus 
  • Doshisha University Imadegawa 

Visit the university’s website and find out the requirements. Determine if you can fulfill them or not. 

You have to fulfill the requirements and apply to the university to get admission. After you get admission, you can apply for a student visa. 

You can also take a law diploma to take the bar exam. Determine which university or education center offers a law diploma. Also, you must find out whether the diploma permits you to take the bar exam. 

Japan student visa. 

You must get admission to a Japanese university for the first step. Then, you must send the required documents to the university, so they apply for the Certificate of Eligibility on your behalf. 

The university applies to the Japanese Immigration Service. This certificate is necessary for anyone who wants to study in Japan. 

After the certificate of eligibility is issued, you must gather the visa supporting documents. 

Here is a list of documents you have to gather: 

  • Passport. 
  • Photo. 
  • The Eligibility Certificate
  • Information about your educational center in Japan. 
  • Your educational certificates. 
  • Proof to have enough funds. 
  • Provide a cover letter explaining your motivation for the travel to Japan

Note; you can see a full list of the supporting documents from the Jpaan student visa article on the menu of this website. 

After gathering the documents, you must apply to the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country. You have to find out the procedure with the embassy as it might be different by your nationality. Some Japanese embassies do not accept direct applications, and you have to get assistance from an agent. Determine this item by the embassy in your home country. 

After processing, the Japanese embassy informs you to receive your visa and move to the country. 

You have to complete your education and get your diploma. 

Bar Exam. 

The bar exam in Japan is the hardest exam in the world. The pass rate is low and very few people can pass it. You have to study hard to pass it. 

There are two stages to the bar exam. The first stage consists of a multiple choice exam and six laws, as well as administrative law. The second part is a three-day essay exam test that consists of: 

  • Public law. 
  • Civil law. 
  • Criminal law, 

The examiner is free to pick subjects from other areas as well. There could be other areas in the second stage as well;

  • labor law. 
  • Environmental law 
  • public international law. 
  • Private international law.

You have to take the bar exam in the latest five years after getting your educational degree. You can try to pass the bar exam only five times. If you can not pass it after five times, you disqualify from it. You might have to study at a private school to be able to pass the bar exam. 

Post-bar Exam.

After passing the bar exam, you have to take a legal training course in Japan. You have to take training with the government offices around Japan, such as: 

  • District court office. 
  • The attorney general office.

The training course is still part of the exam, but some consider it a formality as everyone is able to pass the training. Japanese officials will inform you where you have to take the training by the area you live in. 

After passing the one-year period of training, you become a licensed lawyer in Japan. 

Infographic How to immigrate and work in Japan as a lawyer

How to register as a foreign lawyer in Japan?

Follow these steps to register with Japanese officials and become a lawyer in Japan: 

Gather the documents for registration. 

You have to send your documents to the Ministry of Justice to get approval for the first step. 

Here is the list of documents you have to send: 

A lawyer’s license. 

You must be a lawyer in your home country and have a license from the Judiciary official. It must be equivalent to the license required in japan to become a lawyer. 

Work experience. 

You must have at least 3 years of work experience as a post-qualification professional lawyer. Submit the proof to the Ministry. 

Business plan. 

Applicants must have a business plan that is expected to be viable and comply with the applicable laws of Japan (Art. 10.1.3).

Live in Japan. 

You must be in Japan to apply for registration. 

Have enough funds. 

You must have enough money to operate the legal practice. 

Have a clean record certificate. 

You mustn’t be on any blacklist or criminal activity or have been involved in serious crime or imprisoned. Also, there must be no disbarment, removal from the roll of solicitors or barristers, or removal from office. If yes, three years must have passed from it. 

Application form.

There is also an application form that you must complete. You can find it on the Ministry of Justice website. The link is in a few lines below in this section. 

Here are the rest of the requirements: 

  • CV 
  • Copy of passport. 
  • Foreign lawyer qualifications (by your country) 

There are detailed requirements that you must gather and send for recognition. You can visit the Ministry of Justice’s website to learn more about the requirements. There are PDFs on the website that guide you in preparing the supporting documents. 

The registration process for foreign lawyers in Japan.

After you gather the documents, you have to follow these stages to complete the registration. 

Step 1. You file the application to the Ministry of Justice. 

Step 2. The Ministry of Justice asks the review the application and asks the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (“JFBA”) for the assessment of the application. 

Step 3. JFBA evaluates the application and sends the results to the MOJ. 

Step 4. MOJ and JFBA send the results of the assessment (approval/rejection) to the applicant. 

Step 5. Public notice in the official gazette.

Visit the Ministry of Justice website from the link in the above lines. You have to pick the application form for the local bas association you want to join. 

You need recommendations to form two people to register with the local bar association.  These 2 members may be either Japanese lawyer members or GJB members, or one of each. But they must be a member of the bar association you want to join. 

After the JFBA approves your registration, you must register with the local bar association. Here are the steps you have to follow: 

Step 1. You must get the Registration documents for the JFBA and local bar association. Ask the local bar association about the requirement. 

Step 2. The local bar association forwards the registration document to the JFBA.

Step 3. After the JFBA reviews the application, you must register with the local bar association. 

Step 4. The local bar association sends you a notice to the applicant. 

Note: you have to prepare the scanned form of documents and send them to the related officials. 

Can a foreigner become a lawyer in Japan?

Yes, you can become a lawyer in Japan as a foreigner. But you must pick one of the ways to become a lawyer in the country. 

If you do not have a law education, you must get admission to one of the Japanese universities or law schools, complete your education and pass the bar exam. Then, you must take one year of training in the country. 

If you are a registered lawyer in your home country, you must pass the registration process with the Ministry of Justice and Japan Federation of Bar Associations (“JFBA”). You can find the procedure and the documents you have to gather in each way from the above section. 

How long does it take to become a lawyer in Japan?

If you have to pass the bar exam to become a layer in japan, it can take up to 5-7 years. First, you have to complete a 3-4 year course at a Japanese university. Then, you must take the bar exam, which is hard to pass, and you might not be able to take it in one try. Also, you need to prepare yourself to take the bar exam.

After passing the bar exam, you have to take one year of training in the country. 

If you are a registered nurse in your country and you want to register with the Japanese Ministry of Justice, the process could take a few years. 

Is it hard to become a lawyer in Japan?

You can say yes; it’s hard to become a lawyer in Japan. First, it’s the language proficiency that you must learn. Getting admission to a Japanese university. Then the hard part is passing the bar exam. It’s one of the hardest exams in the world. The passing score is low, and you might not be able to pass it for the first time. 

If you take the registration procedure, it’s a long and tedious process. The Japanese officials are strict, and you have to prepare a long list of documents. 

What are the best cities to work as a lawyer in Japan?

The best city to work in as a lawyer is up to whether you can find a job offer or not. You have to find a position to work as a lawyer in Japan. So you have to look for and seize good opportunities. 

But the jobs positions are better and more in large cities. This is a list of the largest cities in Japan s you might have a better chance of finding a job as a lawyer in one of them; 

  • Tokyo
  • Yokohama
  • Osaka
  • Nagoya
  • Sapporo
  • Fukuoka
  • Kawasaki
  • Kobe
  • Kyoto
  • Saitama

Lawyers’ salaries in Japan. 

Your salary in Japan is up to various factors. Different sources have mentioned various incomes for lawyers in Japan. 

According to Salary Explorer, the average salary of a lawyer in japan is about 1,080,000 JPY ($8.283) per month. The range of salaries begins from 498,000 JPY ($3819) and goes up to 1,720,000 JPY ($13192). 

According to Salary Expert, the average salary of a lawyer is about ¥13,036,416 ($99.000) per year. The same source indicates that you can expect a bonus of about ¥882,565. The beginners with 1-3 years of work experience get about ¥8,965,199, while seniors with +8 years of experience earn about ¥16,235,354.

According to Glassdoor, the estimated salary of a lawyer in Tokyo is about  ¥12M ($92.000). The same source says that the average salary is about ¥9,800,855 ($69.000) per year. The amount is different for other cities, and you can expect cash bonuses, commissions, tips, and profit sharing as well. 

Japan is among the top 10 countries that pay the highest salary to lawyers. The first one is Switzerland, with $260,739, and the last one is in Ireland, with $92,173. 

What are the benefits of immigrating and working in Japan as a lawyer? 

There is no need to explain the benefits of moving to Japan. The third largest economy in the world, one of the safest places on earth with advancements in every field, doesn’t need to speak of its benefits. 

However, this section brings you some of the good aspects of living in Japan that you might not be aware of; 

Lawyers are well-paid. 

One of the occupations that are well-paid in Japan ae lawyer. Look at the above section to know the details of the lawyers’ salaries. But the average salary of a lawyer in Japan is about 1,080,000 JPY ($8.283) per month.

You can earn more as you get a higher reputation. Japanese appreciate honesty and hard work. 

So many tourist attractions to enjoy.

Japan has done well preserving its natural heritage, landmarks, and historical places. There are so many places to see and enjoy. Just take a look at this lsit; 

  • Mount Fuji 
  • Imperial Tokyo 
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park 
  • Historic Kyoto 
  • Island Shrine of Itsukushima 
  • Osaka Castle

It’s the tip of the iceberg, and every Japanese city offers you a place to visit. Do not think that you visit them once and it’s over. Visiting the attractions every season is a new unique experience. Also, you will explore more on the second visit. 

Asia is nearby.

If and only if you get to finish visiting the thousands of wonders in Japan, you don’t have to worry about getting bored. One flight and you will land in a totally different country and several new wonders to explore: 

  • Thailand.
  • New Zealand,
  • Russia, 
  • China 
  • South Korea, 
  • Philippines 
  • Taiwan
  • Australia 
  • Vietnam. 

 You need a few years to visit and enjoy the attractions of each one of the above list. When you get finish visiting the attractions, you can get to know people, culture, food, lifestyle, etc. But, you can get to know the features of these countries while visiting them to make your visits enjoyable. 

You can save money for your future. 

You will be well-paid as a lawyer in Japan. Although the cost of living might be a bit high, you can save money. Your expenses are up to your lifestyle, but there is always an opportunity to save. 

As a strong economy and developing companies are available, you can invest in them. Japanese companies are profitable, and developing is a priority. 

Transportation is efficient. 

If you have heard that the cost of living in Japan is a bit high, do not worry. There are many good features as well. The one useful thing is efficient public transportation. 

You can get trains and buses to get around easily. It’s well-designed and high-speed to take you anywhere you want. 

Let’s sum up…

Foreign lawyers can move to Japan and become a lawyer there. There are two different ways, and you have to pick one of them by your conditions. 

You found out how to become a lawyer through this page and got familiar with the two possible ways. 

The application process and list of requirements got covered. 

If you have questions, write them down in the comment section. The Visa Library team will answer them. 

Frequently asked questions about immigrating to Japan as a lawyer

Can you become a lawyer in Japan as a foreigner?

Yes, there are two ways you can do it. Look at the article to learn about them. 

How long does it take for me to become a lawyer in Japan?

It could take from 5 to 7 years and the way you pick to become a lawyer in Japan. 

Is it hard to become a lawyer in Japan?

Yes, the process is a bit hard, long, and tedious.

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