move to the right menu  move to the main contents



Jump menu


Home > Supreme Court of Japan


2018 (Ju) 16

2018.12.17
2018 (Ju) 16
Minshu Vol. 72, No. 6
Judgment upon the case in which the court ruled that a person who approved a request for name-lending and became the nominal owner and user of an automobile falls under a person that puts an automobile into operational use for that person's own benefit as referred to in Article 3 of the Act on Securing Compensation for Automobile Accidents
Case seeking compensation for loss or damage
Judgment of the First Petty Bench, quashed and remanded
Hiroshima High Court, Okayama Branch, Judgment of October 12, 2017
Where Y approved A's request for name-lending and became the nominal owner and user of an automobile and A caused an accident when driving the aforementioned automobile that A owned based on the aforementioned approval, Y falls under a person that puts an automobile into operational use for that person's own benefit as referred to in Article 3 of the Act on Securing Compensation for Automobile Accidents in relation to the operation of the aforementioned automobile under the circumstances as held in the judgment such as that A was receiving public assistance at that time and thought that A was likely to become unable to receive public assistance if A owns the aforementioned automobile in A's own name and requested Y, who is A's younger brother, to lend his name when purchasing the aforementioned automobile.
Article 3 of the Act on Securing Compensation for Automobile Accidents



Securing Compensation for Automobile Accidents

(Automobile Liability )

Article 3 A person that puts an automobile into operational use for that person's own benefit is liable to compensate for damage arising from the operation of the automobile if this results in the death or bodily injury of another person; provided, however, that this does not apply if the person and the driver prove that they have exercised due care in connection with the operation of the automobile, that the injured party or a third party other than the driver has acted intentionally or negligently, and that there was no defect in automotive structure or function.
The judgment in prior instance is quashed.

This case is remanded to the Hiroshima High Court.
Concerning the reasons for a petition for acceptance of final appeal stated by the counsel for final appeal in 2018 (Ju) 16, MIMURA Teruaki, and the reasons for a petition for acceptance of final appeal argued by the counsels for final appeal in 2018 (Ju) 17, TANO Hisashi, et al. (except for those excluded in both cases)

1. In this case, the appellants who were injured by being rear-ended by an ordinary passenger automobile which A had owned and was driving (hereinafter referred to as the "Automobile") seek compensation for loss or damage against the appellee who is the nominal owner and user of the Automobile under Article 3 of the Act on Securing Compensation for Automobile Accidents. The parties dispute whether the appellee who lent the appellee's name to A falls under a "person that puts an automobile into operational use for that person's own benefit" as referred to in said Article (hereinafter referred to as a "person that puts an automobile into operational use for that person's own benefit") in relation to the operation of the Automobile.

2. The outline of the facts determined by the court of prior instance is as follows.

(1) A had received public assistance since October 2010. Around March 2012, A decided to purchase the Automobile, but thought that he/she was likely to become unable to receive public assistance if he/she owns the Automobile in his/her own name and requested the appellee, who is A's younger brother, to lend his name, and the appellee approved the request. Around late March 2012, A purchased the Automobile and set the appellee as the registered owner and user of the Automobile.

(2) In October 2012, A caused an accident (hereinafter referred to as the "Accident") in Kurashiki-shi, Okayama, in which A caused the Automobile which A was driving to rear-end an ordinary passenger automobile which the appellant in 2018 (Ju) 16 was driving with the appellant in 2018 (Ju) 17 on board as a passenger. The appellants were injured by the Accident.

(3) As of 2012, the appellee and A were residing separately and making a living, and they were estranged. The appellee had never used the Automobile, nor had he known its storage location, nor had he borne payment for the purchase, maintenance costs, etc. of the Automobile.

3. Based on the aforementioned facts, the court of prior instance determined that the appellee did not fall under a person that puts an automobile into operational use for that person's own benefit because the appellee is nothing more than a person who lent his name and cannot be found to have controlled and managed the operation of the Automobile, and dismissed the appellants' claims.

4. However, the aforementioned determination of the court of prior instance cannot be upheld for the following reasons.

According to the aforementioned facts, the appellee approved A's request for name-lending and became the nominal owner and user of the Automobile, and A drove the Automobile that A owned based on the aforementioned approval and caused the Accident. A was receiving public assistance at that time and thought that he/she was likely to become unable to receive public assistance if he/she owned the Automobile in his/her own name and requested the appellee, who is A's younger brother, to lend his name, when purchasing the Automobile. The appellee's name-lending to A enabled A to own and use the Automobile, which was practically difficult for A, and thereby contributed to occurrence of a risk associated with the driving of an automobile. Moreover, there are no circumstances hinting that the appellee could not refuse A's request. In that case, even if there were circumstances such as that the appellee and A were residing separately and making a living as mentioned in 2(3) above, the appellee could practically control and manage the operation of the Automobile by A and should be considered to have been in a position with the obligation to monitor and supervise the operation of the Automobile so that the operation causes no ill effects for society in light of common sense. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider that the appellee falls under a person that puts an automobile into operational use for that person's own benefit in relation to the operation of the Automobile.

5. For the reasons described above, the determination of the court of prior instance that dismissed the appellants' claims by ruling that the appellee does not fall under a person that puts an automobile into operational use for that person's own benefit contains violation of laws and regulations that obviously affects the judgment. The counsels' arguments are well-grounded as arguments to this effect, and the judgment in prior instance should inevitably be quashed. This case is remanded to the court of prior instance to be further examined in relation to loss or damage incurred by the appellants.

Accordingly, the Court unanimously decides as set forth in the main text of the judgment.
Justice KOIKE Hiroshi

Justice IKEGAMI Masayuki

Justice KIZAWA Katsuyuki

Justice YAMAGUCHI Atsushi

Justice MIYAMA Takuya
The Other Case Number(s): 2018(Ju)17
(This translation is provisional and subject to revision.)