A major challenge for many Japanese companies is the use of eDiscovery technology to efficiently and appropriately collect, process, review and analyse electronic information and to submit the information as evidence when necessary. It is important to thoroughly manage information in the event of a crisis and to prepare for lawsuits and regulatory investigations.

Our forensic services practice provides integrated eDiscovery services in Japan. PwC’s cloud-based eDiscovery review platform, supported by a strong and secure world-class data centre located in Japan, can be accessed 24 hours a day worldwide. We also provide consulting services to support appropriate and smooth eDiscovery, to help you be prepared (achieve readiness) for unforeseen lawsuits and regulatory investigations.

PwC’s approaches

eDiscovery workflow

  • Preservation of evidence
    We place data on litigation hold to prevent any tampering with the evidence.
  • Collection of evidence (data collection)
    We collect data through an approach that maintains the reliability of evidence both in Japan and overseas by leveraging PwC’s global network.
  • Data processing and hosting
    Our eDiscovery platform in Japan operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and performs the processing required for document review and forensic data analytics (such as the elimination of duplicate data) in a highly efficient manner.
  • Documentation review
    By establishing a document review team centred on industry professionals to meet the needs of each project, we are able to review a high volume of documents in a short period of time. We also have capabilities to conduct large-scale and wide-ranging document reviews in a short period using machine learning etc.
  • Forensic data analysis
    We search for keywords, refine documents and analyse data from various angles.
  • Submission
    We provide support to help you submit the required documents promptly in the requested format. We can also provide support for responding to foreign regulators with complex submission requirements.

Handling of overseas lawsuits

As Japanese companies expand overseas, the risk of overseas litigation is also on the rise. When a claim is filed in the US or Europe, for example, companies are obligated to preserve internal data from the point of time when it can be reasonably determined that the lawsuit will be filed. If such data is not appropriately preserved, the company may face disadvantageous settlement terms, regardless of the actual issue. Due to differences in legal systems, however, many Japanese companies do not have strict and comprehensive data collection and preservation measures in place. As a result, erroneous actions and delays in response often result in disadvantageous positions for such companies in litigation.

To help you efficiently handle overseas lawsuits, our teams of highly knowledgeable forensic services professionals provide prompt support for the protection of evidence and support for all stages of the process, from collection of evidence to document review and document submission (production).

Response to overseas regulatory authorities

In recent years, as Japanese companies have expanded their businesses overseas and international organisations and governments have tightened their response to fraud, Japanese companies face an increased risk of penalties from foreign authorities due to the extra-regional application of laws and regulations. For example, the US FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the UK Bribery Act are very broad in scope. If a Japanese company does business in the US or the UK, they are at risk of violating these laws. If such a violation is discovered, an insufficient or inappropriate response by the company may also result in significant fines or penalties that could even threaten the survival of the business. On the other hand, prompt action taken by using appropriate methods may significantly reduce fines or sanctions.

With extensive knowledge on how to appropriately respond to regulatory authorities around the world, PwC's teams of forensic services professionals provide support to help you successfully carry out the required regulatory response tasks.

eDiscovery readiness

Overseas lawsuits and investigations by regulatory authorities often occur unexpectedly. In the event of a lawsuit, you will need to preserve and submit corporate data. However, without the appropriate business processes or systems, it can be very difficult to secure and submit reliable data in a short period of time. To respond swiftly and appropriately, it is not enough to respond after a lawsuit has occurred. Readiness—preparing for lawsuits and regulatory investigations during your regular business activities—is also essential. This requires not only the introduction of adequate systems, but also the construction and improvement of business processes, which can’t be completed overnight. Readiness requires careful preparation with the involvement of professionals with knowledge of overseas lawsuits and investigations by foreign regulatory authorities.

PwC’s forensic services practice provides consulting services to help you achieve eDiscovery readiness.

Forensic Image Analyzer

Recently, the number of images collected from smartphones and other devices for use in investigations has been increasing dramatically. Some of the images stored on such devices, such as screenshots or photographs of documents or whiteboards, may contain relevant information or important evidence. But processing and inspecting these images can be difficult.

Previously, there was no effective solution capable of processing large volumes of image data in a short period of time. There was no choice but for human workers to visually perform manual reviews. In a manual review, it takes about five seconds to determine whether each image contains text and to classify the image, which means that only about 720 images could be processed per hour.

Now, however, the development of OCR (optical character recognition) technology has made it possible to extract text information from images with greater precision. PwC’s Forensic Image Analyzer also incorporates AI technology to automatically extract only images that contain text, and then applies OCR processing to only those images.

Learn more

Our team

Yuichi Ikeda

Partner, PwC Advisory LLC


Min Liu

Director, PwC Advisory LLC