JPO examiner, as a sole authority to initially determine registrability of applied mark, is obligated by the Trademark Law to give notice of refusal or an order for amendment prior to final decision. Foreign applicant is allowed to respond against office action within three months (another three months extension is permissible upon payment of  additional fee at a maximum). It is mandatory to assign a Japanese attorney acting on behalf of foreign applicant in responding to office action.  Generally, first office action is notified in five months from the date of an application filing at earliest.