COVID-19 has wrought havoc on international business. While many Japanese companies have weathered the storm so far, some of their business partners overseas have not. As a result, many Japanese companies, as creditors, have found themselves drawn into the unfamiliar terrain of US bankruptcy law and bankruptcy courts. To provide some familiarity with US Chapter 11 proceedings, this article discusses the basics in a FAQ format.


Q. What is “Chapter 11”?

“Chapter 11” is shorthand for the United States’ Bankruptcy Code, which is found in Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Code. It is the federal law governing reorganization of insolvent entities.

Q. My company is located in Japan. Why is a US Chapter 11 proceeding relevant to my company?

It may be relevant if your business counterpart files for reorganization as a debtor in a United States bankruptcy court. Importantly, if the debtor has a connection to the United States, such as having a place of business or owning assets in the United States, then it may file under Chapter 11. If you are a creditor, you may need to fi le a claim in bankruptcy court to collect money owed to you from the debtor.

Q. What happens if my counterpart files for Chapter 11? A key concept to be aware of is the “automatic stay,” which prohibits a creditor from seeking repayment of any debt arising prior to the debtor’s filing of the Chapter 11 petition. The automatic stay becomes effective with the debtor’s filing of the petition in bankruptcy court. A creditor must not seek to collect existing debts from the debtor outside the Chapter 11 proceedings, and it must also continue to perform all of its contractual obligations, even if pre-filing debt is outstanding.

Q. Can we sue a Japanese debtor that is part of a Chapter 11 proceeding in Japanese court to collect the debt that debtor incurred in Japan from our Japanese business?

The automatic stay prohibits initiating or continuing most types of legal action, whether in court or arbitration, against the debtor. If you are thinking about commencing litigation or arbitration against the debtor, or are already in litigation or arbitration against the debtor, you should consult your counsel and analyze the risks. If you violate the automatic stay, the court that is overseeing the Chapter 11 proceeding could sanction your company. If you have any assets in, do business in, or intend to have assets or do business in the United States in the future, you may harm your business by violating the automatic stay.

Q. How do I make a claim against the debtor to collect on outstanding invoices?

Included in the debtor’s petition is a schedule of assets and liabilities. Initially, a creditor should determine if its name and the debt owed is listed on the schedule. If not, the creditor files a proof of claim with supporting evidence. Even if the schedule lists the creditor, many creditors file a proof of claim anyway to ensure they have made a timely claim.

Q. Can my company be sued in Chapter 11 cases by a debtor?

Yes, there are several scenarios in which a creditor could be sued. One common claim is called a “preference” claim in which a trustee or debtor-in-possession sues a creditor to recover payments the debtor made to a creditor within 90 days before the filing of the petition. If the claim is not resolved with the creditor, then the trustee or debtor-in-possession may initiate an adversary proceeding – a civil lawsuit within the bankruptcy court.

A creditor has several potential defences which can include proof that a payment occurred before the lookback period (more than 90 days before the filing of the petition) as well as other statutory or trans-actional-based defences (such as statute of limitations, exchange of contemporaneous value, provision of subsequent new value, and payment made in the ordinary course of business). A creditor faced with a preference claim should review its transactional history with the debtor for evidence supporting any potential defences.


This article provides just a glimpse into the very complex US Chapter 11 process. While Chapter 11 can efficiently allow an insolvent debtor to reorganize, it can also create great angst and stress for the creditors, particularly foreign creditors that are unfamiliar with the US legal system. Japanese creditors that find themselves dealing with US Chapter 11 should consult a US lawyer as early as possible to avoid any missteps.


The opinions expressed in this update are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

Senior Associate

Squire Patton Boggs (Tokyo)


COVID-19は国際ビジネスに大打撃を与えている。多くの日本企業はこれまでのところ嵐を乗り越えてきたが、海外のビジネスパ ートナーは必ずしもそうでない場合もある。その結果、多くの日本企業は債権者として、米国の破産法や破産裁判所という不慣れな分野に引きずり込まれてしまうこともある。本稿では、米国連邦破産法第11章、通称「チャプター11」の手続きを理解していただくために、基本的な事項をFAQ形式でまとめた。

Q. チャプター11とは何か?


Q. 当社は、日本企業だが、チャプター11手続きは当社に関係あるか?


Q. 取引相手がチャプター11を申立てるとどうなるのか?

留意すべき重要な概念の一つは、Automatic Stay「自動停止」であり、債権者が、債務者に対して、チャプター11の申立てを行う前に発生した債務について返済を求めることを禁止します。自動停止は、債務者が破産裁判所に申立書を提出した時点で有効になります。債権者は、チャプター11手続き以外で、債務者から既存 の債務の回収を求めてはならず、また、申立て前の債務が残っていても、契約上の義務をすべて履行し続けなければなりません。

Q. チャプター11を申立てた日本の債務者を別途日本の裁判所に提訴して日本の事業に係る日本で発生した債務を回収することはできるか?


Q: 未払いの請求書を回収するために、どのように債務者に請求すればよいか?

債務者の申立書には、資産と負債の一覧表が含まれています。債権者は、まず自社の債権が記載されているかを確認する必要があります。記載されていない場合には、債権者は「Proof of Claim」を証拠とともに提出します。また、債権者として掲載されていても、タイムリーな請求を行ったことを確認するために、いずれにしてもProof of Claimを提出することも多々あります。

Q: チャプター11では、債権者が債務者から訴えられることはあるか?

はい、債権者が訴えられる可能性のあるシナリオはいくつかあります。一般的な請求の1つに「Preference(偏頗行為)Claim」と呼ばれるものがあります。これは、管財人またはDebtor-in-Possession (「DIP」)が債権者を訴えて、申立て前の90日以内に債務者が債権者に支払った金銭等を回収するものです。請求が債権者との間で解決されない場合、管財人またはDIPは、破産裁判所の手続き内で民事訴訟を開始することができます。

債権者の抗弁としては、例えば、遡及期間(申立ての90日以上前)以前に発生したことを証明することや、取引に基づく抗弁など(同時期の価値の交換、新しい価値の提供、通常の取引過程での支払い等)いくつかあります。Preference Claimに直面している債権者は、債務者との取引記録を確認し、抗弁を裏付ける証拠を見つけなければなりません。





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