The first thing you probably think of when you hear legal professional is lawyers. That’s correct, but not entirely. In Japan, many professionals other than lawyers are licensed by the government to practice laws in specialized areas. Shiho-shoshi lawyers (司法書士) (so they call themselves) specialize in real estate and company registration laws. Gyoseishoshi lawyers (行政書士) (another group of professionals without a corresponding translation for their profession) specialize in laws requiring businesses and individuals to obtain approvals, registration, and permits from various operations and statuses. Patent attorneys (弁理士) specialize in industrial properties (patent and copyright) laws. Tax accountants (税理士) specialize in tax laws. Certified Social Insurance and Labor Consultants (社会保険労務士) specialize in employment and social insurance laws.
Perhaps, a comparison with the medical profession might help you grasp this. Doctors that graduated from med schools are “the doctors” but there are chiropractors and pharmacists that are not “the doctors” in the sense that they didn’t graduate from med schools but are licensed to perform medical procedures. And who do you see when you have a back problem: a general doctor or a chiropractor? A doctor would run general tests and take more time and money to pin-point the problem and recommend you a cure. A chiropractor can recommend you a cure in less time and money because he/she is a specialist in this field and knows better than the general doctor. The legal profession in Japan works just the same way. You can consult an attorney to discuss your labor issues and rack up fees or you can consult a Certified Social Insurance and Labor Consultant for the same service but for less time and fee.
Thinking about working in Japan? Preparing to move overseas almost becomes a full-time job in the final weeks of your departure. Many people quit their jobs weeks before so they can devote their time to preparation. But what about your health insurance? Short-term health insurance plans are a great solution. ↓
Below are links to Certified Social Insurance and Labor Consultants providing services in English. Also below are useful links related to working in Japan and links to women balancing career and personal happiness. WJA realizes and promotes women's increasing value in the labor market.