Operations of Shiho-shoshi
1. Agents for immovable property registration
As specialists in registration procedures about real estate and juridical persons, Shiho-shoshi have contributed to the development of the economic society and the protection of citizens' rights.
Immovable property registration is a Japanese system in which information concerning land and buildings (such as owner, area, existence or nonexistence of collateral) is described in the "registration records" managed by the Legal Affairs Bureau and publicly available, in order to promote confidence in the safety of real estate transactions. Shiho-shoshi act as agents for undertaking the procedures for registration concerning rights to real estate, such as a change of name or title by sale and purchase, donations, inheritance of real estate and registration of mortgages and lease-holdings. Shiho-shoshi will assume the responsibility of making applications for immovable property registration in Japan and contribute to the protection of citizens' rights, by checks of people, material items and contractual intentions, so as to protect all parties' rights concerning real estate transactions.
2. Agents for commercial registration
In Japan, juridical persons such as companies are obliged to describe all matters stipulated in the Companies Act and other laws in the "registration records" managed by the Legal Affairs Bureau. Corporate registration plays an important role when changing board members, company names or objectives and developing companies by corporate reorganization through capital increase, mergers or corporate separations and other such matters. Shiho-shoshi act as agents for such juridical persons in making applications for registration and contribute to the safety of transactions, as specialists in commercial registration.
3. Guardianship of adults
For those who have insufficient judgment capabilities, due to dementia, intellectual disabilities, or similar problems and find it difficult to manage their own real and personal property, there is an "adult guardianship" system in Japan, in which the family court appoints a "guardian of an adult" who is charged with protecting the individual's assets. To support this "adult guardianship" system, Shiho-shoshi established the Legal-Support Adult Guardian Center as an incorporated association (currently public-interest incorporated association) in December 1999. At present, more than 30%* of Shiho-shoshi belong to the center and are assiduously carrying out the necessary activities to protect the rights of elderly and disabled persons using this system. When a third party, other than a relative is selected as a guardian, family courts usually select Shiho-shoshi. (*as of June 2014).
4. Lawsuits before a court
There are venues called "summary courts" across Japan, that handle mainly those problems that are familiar to average people. There are also many Shiho-shoshi, who are authorized by the Ministry of Justice (known as 'certified' Shiho-shoshi) all over the country and who act as agents in civil suits and mediation that handle cases up to ¥1.4 million in such summary courts. Shiho-shoshi are also permitted to conduct extensive court procedures in addition to agency. Through the presentation of complaints and written responses that are submitted to district and superior courts, Shiho-shoshi can support "pro se" suits in tandem with plaintiffs.
5. Applications for naturalization
For foreign nationals who were born and raised in Japan and who want to permanently reside therewith Japanese nationality, the permission of the Ministry of Justice is required. The requirements for Japanese nationality are fairly rigorous and the documentation that needs to be submitted can be fairly complicated. Through providing advice on naturalization procedures, preparing application documents and collecting necessary evidence, Shiho-shoshi are able to assist foreign nationals to acquire Japanese nationality.
6. Other operations
There is a "deposit system" in Japan, under which monies may be submitted to the Legal Affairs Bureau and such funds may be issued to specific persons to accomplish certain aims. For example, the system is used when rents for apartments or deposits for a property purchase are made with real estate or brokerage companies for doing normal business stipulated under the law. Shiho-shoshi may conduct such agency operations about for such procedures. Also, since Japan has a relatively small land area, it is important to clarify the 'parcel boundaries' with neighboring land. Since Japanese people tend to dislike disputes, there is system in which the Legal Affairs Bureau identifies correct parcel boundaries without judicial decisions being made. Shiho-shoshi may conduct agency operations for "parcel-boundary-specific procedures".