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HOME > About the JFBA > About us > What is the JFBA?

What is the JFBA?

1. Formal name
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
(Nihon Bengoshi Rengokai)


2. Date of establishment

September 1, 1949


3. History
The first formal regulation of attorneys (bengoshi) in Japan can be traced back to February 1876, when the Attorney Rules (Daigen-nin Kisoku) were promulgated. At that time attorneys were called Daigen-nin and enjoyed a special status or prerogative to represent clients in court, subject to strict supervision by public prosecutors.

In 1893, the first Attorney Act was enacted which limited the scope of attorneys' practice to courtroom work. This law also established a qualifying examination for attorneys and provided for the registration of attorneys in each district court jurisdiction. Local bar associations were also established but were subject to the overall supervision of the Chief District Public Prosecutors. In 1933, amendments to the Attorney Act expanded the scope of the attorneys' practice to a much wider range of legal work. Even under the amended law, bar associations remained under the control of the Minister of Justice.

In 1946, the present Japanese Constitution, with its guiding principles of guaranteed fundamental human rights, democracy (popular sovereignty), and pacifism, was adopted, bringing with it a historic transformation in the attorneys' role. The current Attorney Act, enacted in 1949 after the establishment of the Japanese Constitution, transferred control of attorneys from the Minister of Justice to the JFBA and bar associations. It defined the mission of attorneys as the protection of fundamental human rights and the realization of social justice. These concepts of self-regulation, protection of fundamental human rights, and achievement of social justice continue to be the core ideals under which attorneys operate today.

4. Objective
As a source of protection of fundamental human rights and of realization of social justice (Article 2, Articles of Association of JFBA) to maintain the roll of attorneys (Article 8, Attorney Act), and in view of the purpose and duties of attorneys, to govern matters relating to the guidance, liaison and supervision of all attorneys and bar associations in order to maintain their dignity and improve and advance the work of attorneys. (Paragraph 2, Article 45, Attorney Act)


5. Address
1-1-3 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda¬ku, Tokyo 100¬0013, Japan
Tel : +81 3 3580 9741 Fax : +81 3 3580 9840



6. Membership(May 1, 2022)
Local Bar Associations 52
Member Attorneys 44,125 (incl. 8,631 female members ­20%)
Quasi-members 0 (No Quasi­member in Okinawa)
Special Members in Okinawa 6
Registered Foreign Lawyers 452
Legal Profession Corporation 1,509
Registered Foreign Lawyer Corporation 8


7. Finances
The principle of autonomy, a cornerstone of the Japanese attorney system, is maintained in the JFBA's finances as well. As financial independence is an essential element of autonomy, the JFBA meets its expenses with revenue obtained from dues, registration fees, training fees, publications, and other sources. No external constraints are imposed on how the JFBA uses its funds; however, in order to ensure impartiality, the JFBA has voluntarily entered into an audit agreement with an audit corporation.
The JFBA has an annual budget of approximately ¥6.2 billion (FY 2011), and more than 80% of its total revenue is accounted for by membership dues (¥14,000 per month per attorney).


(1) Membership dues ¥14,000 per month
Special membership dues -¥4,200 per month (Fund for Juvenile and Criminal Defense)
-¥700 per month (Fund for Correcting Regional Shortages of Attorneys)
-¥1,300 per month (Fund for Legal Support)
(2) Total budget for 2009 ¥4,534,357,200


8. Major Regular Meetings

*General Meeting ­ held every May to deliberate basic annual policies such as budgets, financial statements, and revision of the JFBA’s Articles/rules. It also bestows official recognition on those who have practiced law for more than fifty years.

*Conventions on Protection of Human Rights ­ held every October to present results of JFBA’ research and study on human rights and to discuss a diverse range of subjects.

*Judicial Symposium ­ held biennially to further develop democratic values within the judicial system and to conduct research on various problems related to the judicial system.

*Symposium on Legal Practice Reform ­ held biennially to study and research the expansion and development of new legal practice areas.

9. Regional Federations of Bar Associations (Bengoshikai Rengokai)
Local bar associations in a district of jurisdiction of each high court established 8 Regional Federations of Bar Associations in all to cope with specific issues together.


10.Affiliated organizations
JFBA Traffic Accident Consultation Center
Japan Attorneys National Pension Fund
Japan Law Foundation
Japan Intellectual Property Arbitration Center