The time needed for the JPO to issue a decision depends on the specifics of each application. Before a decision can be rendered, a substantive examination must be conducted, and for that to be done the applicant must file a Request for Substantive Examination. This must be done within three years after the application date. If such a request is not filed within that time, the application is deemed withdrawn. In 2010, it generally took 28 months from the date of request for a substantive examination for the applicant to receive a first Office Action from the JPO. If the JPO examiner does not find any reason(s) for refusing to approve the registration of the subject patent, a Notice of Allowance will be issued at that time (Patent Law Article 51).
However, if the JPO examiner finds one or more reasons why the application cannot be approved, the JPO will issue a Notice of Reason(s) for Refusal, after which the applicant may submit a Response, including an argument and/or amendment designed to overcome the reason(s) for refusal (Patent Law Article 50).