The Legal 500

Japan

Editorial

Overview

‘Abenomics’ – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s grand strategy to revive the country’s economy through a combination of monetary easing, fiscal stimulus, and structural reforms – continues to dominate the Japanese market, with mixed results. The yen’s depreciation relative to the US dollar may have increased exports, but rising import levels have outstripped any gains made, leading to the country reporting its widest trade deficit in January 2014. These currency fluctuations have also made it difficult to close deals. Furthermore, Japan’s idiosyncratic labour laws place considerable power in the hands of employees, and can lead to uncertainty for foreign investors.

On the other hand, some firms report an increase in interest from foreign investors, particularly in the real estate sector – and the weaker yen also means there are plenty of Japanese companies with non-core businesses to sell. The J-REIT market is also displaying robust signs of popularity. The exchange rate stabilised in the latter half of 2014, and there is a widespread expectation that this will make it easier to close transactions. In another boon, feed-in tariffs and other incentives are accelerating investment in renewable technologies in the wake of 2011’s Fukushima disaster, though many commentators expect nuclear to play an increasing role over the coming years.

With expected work related to The 2020 Summer Olympics slow to materialise, Japanese companies are looking outbound, and the Big Four domestic firms are tending to follow them out of the jurisdiction. Anderson Mori & Tomotsune recently opened in Singapore and Shanghai; Mori Hamada & Matsumoto established a base in Myanmar; Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu recently arrived in Vietnam and also expanded its Singapore office; and Nishimura & Asahi has established a foothold in Singapore and Bangkok.

Foreign firms continue to pursue individual business models, ranging from New York oriented firms maintaining an office in the jurisdiction in order to conduct high-end M&A, capital markets, and securitisation work, to firms maintaing a projects focus. It is worth noting that some firms have large numbers of bengoshi and that others have none at all: Baker & McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise), Bingham McCutchen Murase, Sakai Mimura Aizawa – Foreign Law Joint Enterprise, Hogan Lovells Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi, and White & Case LLP – White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) are particularly noted for bengoshi strength.

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  • Avellum Partners Advised Nadezhda Group on Corporate Restructuring

    Kyiv, 29 December 2014 - Avellum Partners advised Nadezhda Group ("Group"), operating in the liquefied petroleum and gas industry, on tax planning for holding structure of the Group, all legal and tax aspects of corporate restructuring and acquisition finance issues, aimed at obtaining finance from international finance institutions ("IFIs").
  • Avellum Partners Advised on Exchange Offer of Metinvest

    Kyiv, 14 January 2015 - Avellum Partners acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch and ING Bank N.V., London Branch, who acted as Dealer Managers, in connection with the exchange offer of Metinvest B.V., the parent company of a vertically integrated group of steel and mining companies ("Metinvest") for its USD500 million 10.25% guaranteed notes due 2015, coupled with the new issue of USD289.7 million 10.5% guaranteed notes due 2017 ("Notes") under its USD1,500,000,000 Guaranteed Medium Term Note Programme and a 25% cash consideration. The Bank of New York Mellon, London Branch acted as the Exchange Agent. The Notes are listed and admitted to trading on the Global Exchange Market of the Irish Stock Exchange.
  • Gorodissky new practices

    In December 2014 the IP team of Gorodissky & Partners was joined by Valery Narezhny who will be in charge of the firm's new law practices such as taxes, customs and commercial laws. Valery graduated from Finance Academy under the Government of Russia (Moscow) majoring in "Finances and Credits" and the Academy of Law and Management (Moscow) majoring in "Civil Law", holds PhD degree in economics. He is specializing in taxes, currency, customs, labor and commercial laws and in court disputes. Valery started his carrier in the state bodies (Tax Policy Department, Ministry of Finance, and Government Administration), worked for a number of Russian and international law firms. He is author of more than 150 publications and 9 books on taxation and civil law issues. Valery Medvedev, Managing Partner, Gorodissky & Partners, commented: "It appears from our clients' enquiries that they are in the need to obtain consultations and professional advice relating not only to protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights but also to IP issues governed by taxes, labor, currency and commercial laws. Valery Narezhny having considerable experience and knowledge in these practices will no doubt enhance our team of lawyers and considerably enlarge the range of the firm's legal services"
  • HaoLiWen helps client resolve TP case with the customs

    HaoLiWen has advised a multinational client in a case of the customs challenge against import transfer pricing. Recently, this case was successfully closed. The customs has accepted the transfer pricing policies of the client.  The client has incurred no further import tax exposure, and the deposits put up with the customs for the shipments in question are to be refunded by the customs to the client.  
  • VEGAS LEX to support 2015 Jessup Moot Court Competition

    The VEGAS LEX law firm will support this year's Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the largest and most prestigious law school competition, which will take place in Moscow from January 28 through February 1.
  • P+P Pöllath + Partners berät die Deutsche Bank und DN Capital bei Investitionen in Onlineportal Wi

    Der Onlinehändler Windeln.de hat seine bislang größte Finanzierungsrunde abgeschlossen. Mit einem Investitionsvolumen von insgesamt etwa EUR 45 Mio. beteiligten sich neben dem Hauptinvestor Goldman Sachs auch die bisherigen Geldgeber MCI Management, 360 Capital Partners, die Londoner Beteiligungsgesellschaft DN Capital sowie mehrere Deutsche Bank Fonds.
  • AT/USA: Schoenherr advises AIM Software Group on investment by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe

    Schoenherr advised AIM Software Group ("AIM") on the receipt of an investment from and transfer of a majority interest to U.S.-based private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe ("WCAS"). AIM is a leading provider of data management software products to the financial services industry. Under the terms of the transaction, which was announced on 14 January 2015, AIM's existing management team will continue to operate the business and maintain a significant ownership stake in the company. WCAS is also investing primary capital in the business which will be used to further accelerate AIM's expansion.  read more...
  • 12 January 2015 - Walgreens Acquires the Remaining Equity Ownership in Alliance Boots

    Walgreen Co., the largest drug store chain in the United States, has completed the acquisition of the remaining 55% equity ownership in Alliance Boots GmbH, the Swiss parent company of a leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group. Walgreens had acquired 45% in Alliance Boots GmbH in 2012 with the option to proceed to a full combination by acquiring the remaining 55%.
  • 15 January 2015 - Daniel Leu elected partner

    We are pleased to announce that we elected Daniel Leu as partner as of 1 January 2015. Daniel Leu, a Certified Inheritance Law Specialist, advises private clients on corporate and estate planning, on the handling of estates, in connection with foundations and trusts and on questions in connection with the place of residence. Other areas of work include advising clients who buy or sell real estate in Switzerland and art law.
  • MOLITOR expansion continues

    Luxembourg, 26 November 2014 - MOLITOR Avocats à la Cour, have continued expansion plans by announcing the recruitment of experienced litigator François Cautaerts. François comes to MOLITOR from Philippe & Partners as a partner, with Paulo Lopes Da Silva, in litigation and Dispute Resolution as well as specialising in Restructuring & Insolvency.