Global sanctions guide

  1. Does Japan have a sanctions regime in place?

Yes.  Japan’s regime must be complied with by:

  • Japanese “residents”, defined as natural persons having their domicile or residence in Japan;
  • legal persons, having their principal office in Japan; and
  • branch offices, local offices or other offices in Japan of non-residents, irrespective of whether they have legal authority of representation.

The regime applies to acts committed in a foreign state by a representative, agent, employee or other worker of a legal person having its principal office in Japan if the act relates to the property or business of the legal person. The regime also applies to acts committed in a foreign state by a person having his or her domicile in Japan, or an agent, employee or other worker of that person in relation to the property or business of the person.

  1. Does Japan implement UN sanctions?

Yes, Japan implements sanctions regime pursuant to resolutions by the UNSC.

  1. Does Japan implement an autonomous sanctions regime?

Yes, Japan implements autonomous sanctions against North Korea. In addition, Japan implements sanctions regime in order to contribute to international peace in synchronization with U.S, EU countries, etc.

  1. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Japan?

Under Japanese law, there is no legislative mechanism that provides for the automatic implementation of UN sanctions. However, the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act (Act No. 228 of 1949, as amended, the “FEFTA”), as the key legislation for the sanctions includes measures prohibiting export, import, the provision of services and transfer of funds in certain cases, as well as empowers the relevant authorities to freeze assets. Also, movements of certain individuals can be restricted by Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (Act No. 319 of 1951, as amended).

  1. Does Japan maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?

Yes, the Ministry of Finance Japan (the “MOFJ”) maintains and updates the lists of sanctioned individuals and entities.

These lists can be accessed at: https://www.mof.go.jp/international_policy/gaitame_kawase/gaitame/economic_sanctions/list.html

Please note that this web page is described in Japanese.

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions?


  1. Does Japan have a licensing or authorization system in place?

Yes, the MOFJ and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (the “METI”) can grant permission to exempt particular activities, transactions or types of transactions from the financial sanctions regime under the FEFTA. A detailed follow-up inspection system is in place for suspicious items, including onsite inspections.

  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Japan?

The maximum penalty for violating the relevant provisions of the FEFTA is up to ten years’ imprisonment with labour and/or a fine of up to either JPY ten million or five-times the subject matter of the violation, whichever is greater.

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in Japan and what are their contact details?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs has overall responsibility for Japan’s relations with the UN and her policy on sanctions and embargoes.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
2-2-1 Kasumigaseki,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8919,

Telephone: (+81) 3 3580 3311
Website: http://www.mofa.go.jp

MOFJ is responsible for financial sanctions and operating the authorisation system. It is also responsible for Japan’s external economic policy.

Ministry of Finance Japan, 3-3-1 Kasumigaseki,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8940,

Telephone: (+81) 3 3581 4111
Website: https://www.mof.go.jp/english/index.htm

METI is responsible for trade sanctions and operating the authorisation system. It is also responsible for Japan’s external economic policy

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry,
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901,

Telephone: (+81) 3 3501 1511
Website: http://www.meti.go.jp/english/index.html

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Contributor law firm

Atsutoshi Maeda and Eiji Kobayashi, Atsutoshi Maeda and Hironori Inai, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Akasaka K-Tower, 2-7, Motoakasaka 1-chome Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0051, Japan