Recently, I responded to a call for an independent court reporter on CSRNation who may reside in Japan or be in Japan on a visit to engage in a deposition in Tokyo.  I sent a note to Kelli Combs clarifying the situation in Japan for depositions.  I thought I would share this with others on this site.

Japan has a set of specific laws regarding Depositions that everyone must be aware of before deciding to have one in the country.  Additionally, to the best of my knowledge, there are no independent court reporters in Japan.

Those who do not follow the procedures required and proceed with an illegal deposition can be subject to arrest and deportation from Japan. 

First and foremost, depositions can only take place in the U.S. embassy in Tokyo or the U.S. Consulate in Osaka.  All law firms that regularly hold depositions in Japan are fully aware of the conditions required by treaty between the U.S. Government and Japan. 

This activity entails making a reservation for one or more of the 3 deposition rooms available in the country (2 in Osaka and 1 in Tokyo) in advance.  Law firms often reserve rooms and often cancel at the last moment if they do not need to come to Japan.  This situation leaves reserving a room difficult to acquire in a timely manner.  All participants in a deposition must be listed on the court order and that order is provided to the Embassy or Consulate in advance. All participants must acquire a deposition visa (visas are not required for citizens or residents of Japan) so that the embassy or consulate staff can check out participants for security reasons.  These visas and resident identity cards are checked before any deposition takes place.

All communication equipment (phones, etc.) will be left with the facility guards at the entrance. While computers are permitted for participants in the deposition, Internet transmission is not permitted from the facilities ... that is transmissions not under the direct control of government personnel.  

Court reporters may not use wireless equipment and must hard wire their equipment and realtime output when multiple computers are present which is usually the case.  All equipment brought into the facilities must be listed beforehand with serial numbers provided.  If these numbers don't match, you will have difficulty bringing the equipment into the facilities. The proceedings can only occur during normal/daytime hours when the facilities are open. 

If you need further information on this or any other question regarding legal activities in Asia please feel free to contact us.

all the best

Dean Harrington

Legal Video Asia (Osaka Head Office)

Asia-Pacific deposition services & logistics /   
P 81.72.722.6663
M 81.90.1036.4681 
Legal Video Asia (Tokyo Office)
Asia-Pacific deposition services & logistics /   
P 81.3.3487.3011
M 81.90.6475.0453
  Legal Video for the Asia Pacific region
Member of The American Guild of Court Videographers & The American Chamber of Commerce Japan


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Comment by Dean Harrington on April 11, 2013 at 18:43

LVA has worked with a number of U.S. based court reporters that represented Jodi's Florida firm on a case by case basis and of course, Jodi would fly in to handle cases. In the first couple of years she seemed to be present in Japan more often than in later years. Perhaps you think that she was a full time resident of Japan when, in fact, she had an in house reporter based here. I hope what I've written clarifies what 'independent' means regarding court reporters in Japan.

Comment by Rhonda Hall Breuwet, RDR CRR CLR on April 11, 2013 at 17:26

I get that.  And when Jodi went over there, IMO, she was by herself and was "independent."  And IMO, until she sold to Planet Depos, she still was independent. As the owner of the firm, she could cover work for whomever she pleased.  Not that it matters.

Comment by Dean Harrington on April 11, 2013 at 17:10

 I hope this clarifies the matter for you.  The term independent refers to someone who can work without restriction for a court reporting agency, law firm, other independent colleague or by referral.  To the best of my knowledge any court reporter situated in Japan has been an agency representative therefore is not independent as they certainly cannot operate in the above defined manner.

Comment by Rhonda Hall Breuwet, RDR CRR CLR on April 11, 2013 at 4:15

I was just responding to your comment:  " Additionally, to the best of my knowledge, there are no independent court reporters in Japan."

Comment by Dean Harrington on April 11, 2013 at 4:12

Everyone who works in this field in Japan is very familiar with Jodi Harmon.

Comment by Rhonda Hall Breuwet, RDR CRR CLR on April 11, 2013 at 3:20

To correct you, there ARE independent court reporters in Japan.  Jodi Harmon has had American Realtime Reporters in Japan for several years.  She just sold out to Planet Depos.  They have reporters who actually reside there.

Comment by Dean Harrington on March 30, 2013 at 20:36

You are welcome Amanda.

Comment by Amanda Leigh on March 30, 2013 at 16:37

Excellent information.  Thank you!! 

Comment by Dean Harrington on March 25, 2013 at 15:12

I just thought I'd add that model numbers and serials numbers must be provided for equipment.

Comment by Dean Harrington on March 25, 2013 at 15:02

The Japanese court system is completely different from the way we operate in the U.S..  They have plenty of Japanese lawyers but have a completely different approach to discovery.  These laws apply to foreign lawyers engaged in legal depositions in the country.  I really don't have any idea how these requirements apply to lawyers from other countries but I imagine they must go through a similar process.

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