How to legalize Japanese documents?
Japanese documents intended for Belgian authorities (ministries, local authorities, etc.) must be legalized in Japan. This is done by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Gaimusho) by means of the “apostille” (an authentication stamp according to the Convention of The Hague of 1961). More information on the website of the Gaimusho: www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/toko/todoke/shomei/index.html.
The documents must also be translated into the language of the administration you will contact in Belgium. The easiest way is to have this done in Belgium by a "sworn translator" (for a list of sworn translators, see the website of the FPS Justice).
Having your document translated in Japan is more complicated, because there is no system of "sworn translators" in Japan. This means that the translator first has to have his signature authenticated by a notary, after which he has to go to Gaimusho for the “apostille”.
A document that is official and legal in one country is not necessarily official and legal in another. Many documents must therefore be legalised if you wish to use them abroad.
The legalisation process involves checking the origin of the relevant document. Legalisation is official confirmation that the signature of the civil servant that has signed a document, or the seal or stamp on the document, is legitimate.
It is not only the signature of the person that has issued the document that is legalised, the process can also legalise the signature of the legalising registrar. Every signature, every seal and every stamp will be legalised by the person authorised to do so and who is familiar with each signature, seal or stamp. This explains why various legalisations are sometimes required, in a specific order.
A country may have signed up to a legalisation treaty that encompasses agreements about how countries accept one another's official documents. Many countries have signed up to the "Apostille Convention" of The Hague of 5 October 1961. With this, just 1 legalisation is required via an apostille stamp.
Questions and answers about the legalisation of documents:
- How can Belgian documents be legalised for use abroad?
- How can foreign documents be legalised for use in Belgium?
- How can foreign documents be legalised for use abroad?
- Does the document to be legalised have to be drawn up in French, Dutch or German?
- What if it cannot be legalised?
- Can I have my legalised foreign certificate transferred to Belgium?
For legalisation from abroad, you can also consult the website of our representative at the location concerned, i.e. Belgian embassies and consulates.
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