The family record is an official document in Japan that is kept in the local council that stores all changes in family structure from birth to death. Local councils hold records for all births, marriages and deaths for Japanese nationals from 1886. There are much older family records in Japan, but there was no standard format throughout the country, so it is not possible to collect them.
The problem is that those current family records do not state the complete contents of a single family register. When people get married, applied to change, etc., their family records are newly created or transferred. Also, when a local council is revised due to amendments under the Family Registration Law, extra documents could be collected. A family register from birth to death means going back through the decedent’s family record and collecting all the family registers.
In Japan, under the Civil Code, an inheritance directly passes to the heirs upon the death of the deceased, so it is essential to know who the right heirs are. Original records data are written in Japanese only, so when I collect them, I create a family tree chart.
In Japan, it is common and legally permitted for an estate agent to represent both purchaser and seller in real estate sales transaction. It is called “Dual Agency”.
When an estate agent deals with a real estate sales transaction under the Dual Agency system, the agent can obtain a brokerage fee from both the purchaser and seller, so that many such cases can be seen, especially as major estate agencies positively try to establish a transaction of this type.
The strength of Dual Agency is that both purchaser and seller can expect quick response and a grasp of details concerning the property because only one estate agent is being consulted about the real estate sale transaction and a purchaser can get more detailed information than if two estate agents dealt with the case.
However, a drawback of Dual Agency is that an estate agent might push a seller to reduce the price of their property to make sure quickly of securing the large brokerage fee revenue from both purchaser and seller on the conclusion of the sales contract. It might be an unfavourable transaction for a seller.
It is also common that a Shihoshoshi lawyer, the transactional lawyer for a real estate transaction represents both purchaser and seller and an estate agent generally specifies a particular Shihoshoshi lawyer for the transaction. It is called “Dual Lawyer”.
In some cases, a special clause, such as “the seller should be represented by a designated Shihoshoshi lawyer, specified by the seller or the estate agent for the procedure for transfer of the ownership” is written on sales and purchase agreement. If there is no special clause about a designated Shihoshoshi lawyer in the sales and purchase agreement, it is likely a buyer can choose any lawyer for the procedure for transfer of the ownership. Generally speaking, especially in Tokyo, a buyer pays all the costs of the procedure for transfer of the ownership for the real estate sales transaction. Because of that, a buyer can choose which lawyer to consult for the transaction.
In Japan, property transaction will take effect only to the extent of the parties’ intention, which means property registration follows the principle of contract registration.
Property registration mainly includes change of ownership registration. A purchaser needs to register their right in order to assert such a right to a third party but the registration is not indefeasible as it can be altered or cancelled, unlike registration systems in some countries, such as the Torrens system.
A registered owner might not always be the true owner, and accordingly an investigation of rights is necessary before acquisition. This procedure is conducted by an estate agent and Shihoshoshi Lawyer.
The reason of this system is that registration officers have their power only over preparing documents basis and do not undertake a substantive screening review but they are given the power of formal review of the submitted registration documents and power of precise review on their authenticity.