HR Electronic Records

Japan - Natively Electronic Documents

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What is the legal value of native electronic documents (that do not require signature by the parties)?


The majority of legislation generally recognizes the validity and probative value of documents that are natively electronic (i.e., created as electronic originals), subject to compliance requirements.

In Japan, native electronic documents are permitted under the e-Document Law (2005) and are considered to have the same legal validity as paper originals (unless there is a specific obligation to retain the law in paper format). Note that under the Labor Standards Act, labor contracts must clearly indicate the wages, working hours and other working conditions to the worker in writing (Article 15). These details may not be entered electronically as it is construed that ‘writing’ does not include electronic form unless specifically noted under Japanese legislation.


As the original version of a document generally has the highest legal value in Japan, it is better to create electronic originals when you plan to use an electronic archive system.


Led by PeopleDoc’s Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, the HR Compliance Assist team relies on a network of internal and external compliance experts and lawyers, including the global law firm Morgan Lewis, to provide clients with best practices and recommendations on topics such as HR document retention, employee data privacy, and HR electronic records. HR Compliance Assist also provides local compliance monitoring and alert services in select countries where PeopleDoc’s customers have employees. HR Compliance Assist is a service exclusively available to PeopleDoc customers.

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