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Japan > Antitrust and competition > Antitrust and competition – International firms and joint ventures > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Antitrust and competition – International firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

The antitrust and competition team at Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) is jointly led by Akira Inoue and Junya Ae and provides the full spectrum of services including cartel investigations, IP-related matters and merger clearance mandates. NHK Spring Company appointed the group to represent it in the global cartel investigation into the disk suspension used for hard disk drives in the US, Japan, Brazil and Taiwan. Ae led a team including senior associate Michio Suzuki representing Okaya Electric in global investigations arising from damages and class action claims in the US and Canada seeking recovery of losses suffered from alleged cartel behaviour among capacitor manufacturers. Experienced European antitrust practitioner Kurt Haegeman joined the team as a legal foreign consultant from the Brussels office and is also a name to note alongside counsel Tetsuro Sato.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's team is 'always very responsive and helpful with deep industrial knowledge'. Practice head Kaori Yamada is especially noted by clients; she is advising Mitsui on the antitrust aspects of its acquisition of a controlling stake in commodity trading company ETG. Yamada also acted for BASF on its proposed takeover of Bayer's seed and non-selective herbicide businesses as part of the latter's planned divestment ahead of its acquisition of Monsanto. On the contentious side, the group intervenes in domestic and cross-border investigations launched by a variety of regulatory bodies. Head of the corporate and M&A practice Takeshi Nakao closely collaborates with the competition team and is also a name to note.

Morrison & Foerster LLP's 'very high quality' antitrust offering in Tokyo gained considerable strength following the arrival of new global practice co-head Rony Gerrits from the Brussels office where he specialised in cartel investigations. Clients also single out Kei Amemiya for his 'deep experience in the competition field'. A team led by Gerrits and of counsel Kazuyasu Yoneyama collaborated with colleagues in Brussels to secure full immunity for Panasonic in the landmark 'autoparts cartel'. Chie Yakura is assisting the Japanese subsidiary of a global business in two JFTC investigations arising from suspicions of unfair trade practices. In other highlights, the firm is representing individuals in criminal proceedings brought by the US DoJ as well as handling a civil antitrust litigation against the importer and seller of products that infringe a client's patent. The 'very experienced' Daiske Yoshida joined from Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise in January 2019. James Robinson became a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and of counsel Kentaro Hirayama left the firm.

White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) bolstered its antitrust and competition offering through the hire of special advisor and former JFTC secretary general Hideo Nakajima. Toshio Dokei – who co-heads the practice with senior counsel Anthony Mitchell – was part of the multi-office team advising independent container ship operator Seaspan on the competition aspects of acquiring the remaining 89% of Greater China Intermodal Investments. Also notable is counsel Seiji Niwa who assisted Dokei in representing Maruyasu in an ongoing criminal investigation by the US DoJ and a number of multi-jurisdictional suits arising from allegations of the manufacturer's involvement in the 'autoparts cartel'. The practice – supported by senior associate Takako Onoki – is also acting for Furukawa Electric in US mediation proceedings in connection with the cartel investigation.

Hiromitsu Miyakawa is the senior name to note in Jones Day's antitrust practice and recently assisted a number of clients such as Linear Technology and Terumo with the competition aspects of their corporate cross-border transactions. In other highlights, the group is currently representing a manufacturer against foreign antitrust regulators as part of the landmark 'autoparts cartel' investigation, and is also acting for a chemicals and performance materials company in an investigation launched by the JFTC. Former practice head Shinya Watanabe retired from the partnership.

Graeme Preston co-heads Herbert Smith Freehills' global competition offering, alongside Brussels-based Kyriakos Fountoukakos, and represents major international and Japanese clients on contentious antitrust matters and international merger filings. Recently bolstered by the return of senior associate Joseph Fisher from the London office, the team acted for a major manufacturing company in the merger clearance aspects of an acquisition of shares in a precision product manufacturer which involved filings in a range of jurisdictions. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi instructed the group to oversee the competition aspects of its joint venture with Fast Retailing for the expansion of the UNIQLO brand and related operations in Russia. Also notable is corporate expert Andrew Blacoe who is currently advising Marubeni on its acquisition of Chilean gas distributor GasValpro from its Australian shareholders.

Clients describe Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise's antitrust experts as 'really and truly great'. A multi-jurisdictional team secured the shut down of two foreign agencies' 'autoparts cartel' investigations into Sumitomo. In another highlight, Toshiba and several of its subsidiaries appointed the practice to represent them in a host of antitrust litigation proceedings alleging a global price-fixing scheme on optical disk drives. Nozomi Oda was promoted to the partnership and the firm welcomed associate Takaki Sato to its bengoshi ranks. Former practice head Daiske Yoshida joined Morrison & Foerster LLP in January 2019.

Kaede Toh combines her significant antitrust and competition experience with expertise in the fields of intellectual property and anti-corruption to lead Ropes & Gray LLP's Tokyo team. Toh collaborated with her Boston and Washington DC colleagues to defend Hitachi-LG Data Storage – a joint venture between Japan and South Korea – in US-based litigation arising from price-fixing allegations relating to the marketing of optional disk drives; she is also representing several individual executives in DoJ, FDA and criminal investigations pertaining to alleged collusion and unfair practices. On the advisory side, the firm acts for international private equity funds on regulatory compliance and anti-corruption due diligence.

Asia regional manager and Tokyo office manager Masahisa Ikeda is the main name to note for antitrust and competition work at Shearman & Sterling; he acts for both Japanese and international clients in conjunction with the firm's US and Europe offices to handle the regulatory compliance aspects of major cross-border M&A deals and to represent financial institutions and corporates in government investigations and litigation.

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