Japan: Product Liability

This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Product Liability laws and regulations that may occur in Japan.

  1. Please summarise the main legal bases for product liability

  2. What are the main elements which a claimant must prove to succeed in a strict liability type claim for damage caused by a defective product?

  3. With whom does liability sit? If there is more than one entity liable, is liability joint and several?

  4. Are any defences available?  If so, please summarise them.

  5. What is the limitation period for bringing a claim?

  6. To what extent can liability be excluded (if at all)?

  7. What are the main elements which a claimant must prove to succeed in a non-contractual (eg tort) claim for damage caused by a defective product?

  8. What types of damage/loss can be compensated and what is the measure of damages? Are punitive damages available?  

  9. How are multiple tortfeasors dealt with?  Is liability joint and several?  Can contribution proceedings be brought?

  10. Are any defences available?  If so, please summarise them.  

  11. What is the limitation period for bringing a claim?

  12. To what extent can liability be excluded (if at all)?

  13. Does the law imply any terms into B2B or B2C contracts which could impose liability in a situation where a product has caused damage?  If so, please summarise.

  14. What types of damage/loss can be compensated and what is the measure of damages?

  15. To what extent can liability be excluded for contract liability (if at all)?

  16. Are there any recent key court judgements which have had a significant impact on the approach to product liability?

  17. What are the initial litigation related steps you should take if you are facing a product liability claim or threatened claim?

  18. Are the courts adept at handling complex product liability claims?   Are cases heard by a judge or jury?

  19. Is it possible to bring a product liability related group action?  If so, please summarise the types of procedure(s) available

  20. How are cases typically funded? Can lawyers charge success fees? Is third party funding permissible? 

  21. How common are product liability claims and what factors influence their frequency?

  22. What are the likely future developments in product liability law and practice? To what extent is the suitability of the law being challenged by advances in technology?

  23. Please provide an update of any interesting developments which have taken place in your jurisdiction over the last 12 months.