Legal Consultation Services “for Foreign Nationals”

2019-08-19 LIFE , OTHERS

This post is also available in 日本語

In Japan, there are services that enable you to discuss legal matters for free, which are available throughout the country (although you must bear the call charges yourself). Depending on the service, you can also consult in multiple languages. If you are in trouble, start by engaging in consultation here.

General legal discussion

Discuss matters at the “Houterasu (Japan Legal Support Center)” general information center established by the government. They provide the necessary information to allow you to resolve legal problems. It first looks at the nature of your legal issue and informs you of the right place for consultation. For people with financial difficulties, there is a system that provides free legal consultation, or pays the cost of hiring a lawyer or notary up front.

“Houterasu” Legal Information for Foreign Nationals

Available languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Tagalog, Nepalese, and Vietnamese
Telephone number: 0570-078377

Consultation related to your work

Consult using the “Telephone consultation service for foreign workers” and “Labor conditions consultation hotline” established by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. They will discuss the following matters related to working time and wages for you in foreign languages.

  • Wages or overtime allowance are not paid
  • You are suddenly dismissed, and severance pay is not paid
  • You suffered an industrial accident, but medical fees and compensation for absence for work is not paid
  • When the work conditions related to wages or working time etc. are not clarified on contract etc.

Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Telephone consultation service for foreign workers

Language Day*1 Telephone number*2
English Mon to Fri 0570-001701
Chinese 0570-001702
Portuguese 0570-001703
Spanish 0570-001704
Tagalog Tue, Wed, Thurs, Fri 0570-001705
Vietnamese Mon to Fri 0570-001706
Burmese Mon, Wed 0570-001707
Nepalese Tue, Thur 0570-001708

*1 Excluding national & public holidays, and period from 12/29 to 1/3.
*2 Call charges are paid for by the dialing party.
Available hours: 10:00 to 15:00 (excluding 12:00~13:00)

Labor conditions consultation hotline

Language Available days Telephone number
Japanese Mon to Sun (every day) 0120-811-610
English 0120-004-008
Chinese 0120-150-520
Portuguese 0120-290-922
Spanish Tue, Thur, Fri, Sat 0120-336-230
Tagalog Tue, Wed, Sat 0120-400-166
Vietnamese Wed, Fri, Sat 0120-558-815
Burmese Wed, Sun 0120-662-700
Nepalese 0120-750-880

Available hours: Monday to Friday 17:00~22:00 Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays 9:00 to 21:00

Consultations regarding the home

You can receive consultation from the “Real estate free consultation center”, which is operated jointly by the Association of Residential Land Building Business and National Association for Real Estate Transaction Guaranty. You can discuss questions related to apartment contracts free of charge. However, they do not provide support in other languages, so if you are not confident in your Japanese ability, you will need to arrange an interpreter yourself.

Association of Residential Land Building Business – list of real estate free consultation centers

There are centers in all 47 prefectures and municipal districts. The available days differ for each center, so be sure to check in advance.

Consultations regarding shopping in Japan

You can consult with the “Consumer affairs center” or “Consumer information center”. They both provide free consultation on damage resulting from unscrupulous business practices or injury due to products and services.

Consumer affairs center

The “Consumer hotline” will guide you to your nearest center. Call the 3-digit number “188”. If it is within their open hours, they will put you through directly. If it is outside business hours, you will be instructed on the telephone number and business hours.  However, they do not provide support in other languages, so if you are not confident in your Japanese ability, you will need to arrange an interpreter yourself.

Consultation Services

These are services in which you can consult in English and other languages. Check the supported languages and method of consultation on the respective websites.

Consultation regarding products purchased from stores overseas

You can consult with the “Cross Border Consumer Center Japan”. They provide free consultation on products purchased during overseas trips or overseas mail-order sites. However, they do not provide support in other languages, so if you are not confident in your Japanese ability, you will need to arrange an interpreter yourself. Furthermore, a telephone service is not avilable, so consultation is only available via an online form.

Cross Border Consumer Center Japan

Start with a consultation

Your company or school will not be informed that you have consulted with the introduced institution.

If the free consultation point is unable to resolve your issue, there are also attorneys who will provide an initial consultation free of charge. If the amount of the lawsuit is small, you can sue the party yourself via a “small claims” court without hiring an attorney.

If you have a problem, start with a consultation.