Although this news did not receive thenationwide attention that it deserved, the revised Civil Code draft(Relationship Transaction Law) was established in the National Assembly on May26, 2017.
Actually, the current Japanese Civil Code(Relationship Transaction Law) was established in April 1896, so this revisionwas made about 120 years after its establishment. In 1896, the Sino-JapaneseWar had been over for a year, while in the U.S., Utah became the 45th state,and in Athens the first international Olympic Games were held.
Since the current civil law isextraordinarily old, some archaic words that most of us cannot read remain init. Furthermore, supplementary parts of it are subject to interpretation.Therefore, we do not understand its meaning by only reading the text.
Moreover, since the time of theestablishment of the Civil Code, there have been technological developments andadvancements, such as cars, airplanes, the Internet, and so on, which we hadnot accounted for, and these have become pretty important now.
These are the reasons why the JapaneseCivil Code has been revised.
Some main examples of the revisions are asfollows: First, the period of extinctive prescription, during which the claimdisappears without being exercised, has been revised. In principle, it was tenyears, but restaurant bills and lawyers' fees, etc. were two years and wecannot show rational reasons for this nowadays. Therefore, this revision wasunified into a uniform period of five years.
Next, the interest rate in the case ofperformance delay. Previously, it was 5%, but this was too high for the lowinterest rate era of deflation, so it was lowered to 3%. In addition, we willuse a floating system in order to review the rate every three years.
Third, review of the joint guaranteesystem. From now on, if the notary does not confirm the intention of theguarantor, the guarantee will not be accepted. By allowing the opportunity torethink during the process of confirming the notary, easy agreement to a jointguarantee is prevented.
Fourth, the rule of the lease securitydeposit. Before, the Civil Code had only one Article on the security deposit(619 (2)), and it was very crude. But this revision clearly states that thelessee is responsible for repair costs due to age-related deterioration.
Fifth, regulations concerning 'contracts'presented to an unspecified number of consumers, such as Internet mail ordershave also been newly established. Consumer protection is aimed at byprescribing that those with content deemed to unilaterally harm the profits ofconsumers are nullified.
This revised Civil Code bill was summarizedin the proposed amendment over a period of more than five years afterconsultation with the Legislative Council, and a bill was submitted to the Dietin March 2015. However, the Security Treaty and the political issues at thattime had prolonged the hearing in the Diet. The Diet thus finally passed therevisions other day.
Some legal officials said there is no needto change the current civil law, but I think that the current Japanese CivilCode was extremely outdated. Since the revised Civil Code is to be enforcedwithin 3 years from promulgation, it is still not applied to our lives. But asa legal professional, I think that we have to establish a better society byimplementing this civil law.