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Independent local firms

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Independent local firms clients in Japan using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Key names at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune include Isao Shindo, who focuses on bank M&A, securities, asset management and insurance; Kunihiko Morishita, who advises on domestic and international banking matters and has regulatory experience; and Hiroaki Takahashi, who is recommended for structured finance work. The practice’s broad and varied client base includes international financial institutions, private equity funds, corporations and government agencies. Further highly regarded team members include Takashi Akahane, Tetsuya Itoh, Tatsu Katayama, Masaakira Kitazawa and Kazuaki Nagai.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto covers the banking sector comprehensively, providing notable strength in LBO finance, syndicated loans and real estate financings. The team acted for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) in its acquisition of a 20% stake in Security Bank, assisting with the Japanese regulatory elements. Masanori Sato leads the department, which includes syndicated loan specialist Hiroki Aoyama, Satoko Kuwabara, Toru Ishiguro, Eriko Ozawa (who focuses on real estate financings), and acquisition financing expert Naoya Shiota.

Fumihide Sugimoto leads Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu’s team, which acted for the lead arrangers, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and the mezzanine lender, Private Finance Initiative Promotion Corporation of Japan, in the project financing of the privatisation of Kansai and Osaka international airports. Newly promoted partner Rintaro Hirano led on this matter. The high-profile client roster also includes Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. Noteworthy names in the team are Mami Ikebukuro, Satoshi Inoue, Shinichi Matsui and Jiro Mikami.

Highlights for Nishimura & Asahi included Hiroshi Niinomi advising Oriental Land as issuer and Mizuho Securities as arranger on the issuance of stock acquisition rights and a subordinated term loan as an earthquake countermeasure, and Kohei Koikawa assisting Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha with a subordinated syndicate loan. Masaru Ono heads the department, which includes Masahiro Ueno, Shinichi Takahashi, Katsu Sengoku and Makoto Igarashi.

Atsumi & Sakai has substantial experience advising on syndicated loans, and a strong asset and energy project financing practice. The department recently established a fintech team led by Yuri Suzuki, which advises financial institutions and start-ups on issues at the intersection of finance and technology. Clients include Nihon Dosan Kantei, Kabushiki Kaisha Kinzai and Mitsubishi Research Institute, the last of which Hiroyuki Nezu advised on asset-based lending issues. Hiroo Atsumi and Michiaki Hosoi are also recommended.

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi is experienced in financings, securitisations and derivative transactions and leads the practice at TMI Associates. The team also includes the well-regarded Haruo Narimoto, who has notable experience in the real estate sector. Practice highlights included advising both lender and borrower on a loan to finance an investment into a cattle shipping vessel. Hidenori Nakagawa is recommended for private banking matters.

Clients of City-Yuwa Partners – which include domestic and international banks, securities firms, insurance companies and other financial institutions – seek out the firm for advice on securitisations, acquisition finance, regulatory issues, asset management and mezzanine finance at a national and international level. Noriyuki Katayama, Yasuyuki Kuribayashi, Yoshitada Ogiso and Eri Furukawa are names to note.

Regulatory expert Hirotada Inoshita leads Marunouchi International Law Office’s four-partner practice, which acts for commercial banks, broker-dealers, credit card companies and domestic insurance companies. Noriko Sakai is recommended for structured finance and acquisition finance issues; Taku Ishizu specialises in investment funds and asset management; and Hiroshi Hori focuses on financial regulations.

International firms and joint ventures

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: international firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)
  3. Leading individuals: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)
  4. Next generation lawyers: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)
  5. Next generation lawyers: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

  1. 1

Leading individuals: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)

  1. 1
    • Zenya Onishi - Linklaters

Next generation lawyers: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which International firms and joint ventures clients in Japan using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


At Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho, project finance remains a key strength. Practice co-head Scott Neilson advised a group of lenders on the $4.9bn refinancing of the Ichthys LNG project in Australia, and assisted ANZ with a $293m multi-currency revolving credit facility for Orix and several of its subsidiaries across Asia. The department regularly works for ECAs, including NEXI, KEXIM and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Practice co-head Matthias Voss is advising JBIC on a Taiwanese joint venture.

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)’s ‘excellent, experienced and customer-oriented’ team ‘removes the stress for clients’ and is singled out as ‘one of the best for project finance and PFI deals’. Headline work included advising Tokyu-Maeda-Toyotsu Group on its successful bid to operate the Sendai Airport in northern Japan, and acting for Ise Total Nanao Power Plant as sponsor in the financing and construction of a solar power plant in Nanao City. Naoaki Eguchi leads the department, which includes Gavin Raftery, Yasuhisa Takatori, Shinichiro Kitamura and Jeremy Pitts.

Masayuki Okamoto leads the ‘excellent’ team at Clifford Chance Law Office, which has ‘in-depth knowledge that is hard to beat’ and ‘an extremely high service level and proactivity that is unmatched’. The ‘always solid and balanced’ Hidehiko Suzuki is highly experienced in ECA financing, and was instructed by JBIC as lender and arranger counsel in a dual currency buyer’s credit loan to PLN, an Indonesian electricity company. Other clients include SMBC, Citigroup and Tokyo Star Bank. Ross Howard and Hidehiko Suzuki are recommended. Yusuke Abe was promoted to the partnership in mid-2016.

Linklaters has notable strength in private equity deals and leveraged and acquisition finance. Well-regarded counsel Zenya Onishi advised SMBC as arranger and lender to Amtek Auto on its leveraged acquisition of Asahi Tec’s iron casting business. John Maxwell leads the department, which has a client list that includes Mizuho Bank, Deutsche Bank, BTMU and JBIC.

Ashurst’s ‘very conscientious, attentive and client-focused’ team is well known for its strength in project finance, and acted for a consortium of lenders in the financing of the Singapore Sports Hub. It is also assisting Caribbean Gas Chemical on the financing of a methanol plant in Trinidad and Tobago. Kensuke Inoue and the ‘extremely dedicated and thorough’ Dominic Gregory jointly lead the team, which also includes ‘effective leader’ Matthew Bubb, who relocated to Tokyo from the firm’s Singapore office, and newly promoted partner Matthew Rickards.

Key names at Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise include Hiroki Kobayashi, who advises Japanese sponsors and lenders on international project financing; Michael Yoshii, who acts on matters in the Philippines, Indonesia and Southeast Asia; and Joseph Bevash, who splits his time between Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, and is experienced in international project finance and credit arrangements.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLPexcels in large project finance matters’ and ‘provides an excellent service in multinational transactions’. Aled Davies is praised by clients for his ‘deep understanding of the market’ and is ‘always quick to respond, no matter what’; Alexander Borisoff is also recommended. The firm’s client roster includes ANZ, BBVA and SMBC.

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi has considerable expertise in regulatory matters as well as acquisition, project and real estate finance and derivatives transactions. Dale Caldwell leads the team, which also includes Akihiro Wani and the ‘highly responsive’ Katsuhiko Fujihira. Wani and Fujihira are advising CLS Bank on updating Japanese law opinion on the enforceability of trade terms and conditions. Keiko Yamazaki is recommended for real estate and M&A financings.

The team at White & Case LLP – White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) is ‘excellent in terms of response times, knowledge, nature of advice and value for money’ and, according to clients, is ‘one of the best for ship and aircraft financing’. The ‘pragmatic and accessible’ Simon Collins assisted Copa Airlines with a series of Jolco financings for new aircraft totalling $460m. Project and acquisition finance specialist Toshio Dokei leads the practice, and Paul Harrison is recommended for energy-related matters.

Mark Plenderleith heads the practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which is recognised for its financing expertise. The team advised Amtek Auto on acquisition financing from SMBC for the leveraged acquisition of Asahi Tec’s assets. Plenderleith is recommended for commodity finance and reserve-based lending issues, and senior counsel Shinsuke Kobayashi is experienced in leveraged acquisition financing. Don Stokes now divides time between Vietnam and Singapore.

JBIC and Mizuho Bank remain significant clients of Jones Day. The team advised the former on a loan to Bancomext, and the latter on a $120m term loan to Export-Import Bank of India. Hirokazu Ina leads the department, which also includes Kaoru Umino and of counsel John Roebuck.

K&L Gates’ ‘excellent all-round practice’, led by the ‘highly knowledgeable, diligent and commercial’ Robert E Melson Jr., has substantial experience in aircraft finance issues. Recent headline matters include acting for Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SMTB) in financing and security arrangements relating to a Boeing 777-300, and assisting Nissen Kaiun with the purchase of an aircraft. Takahiro Kawaguchi and Sebastian Smith are recommended.

Jeremy Gibb leads the ‘professional, experienced and precise’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright, which includes the ‘reliable and proactive’ Adrian Joyce, George Gibson and the ‘truly commercial’ Paul Coggins, who made partner in 2016. The practice is recognised for its shipping finance expertise, and assisted ING and SMBC with a $1.3bn loan to Tartaruga MV29 BV to finance a FPSO chartering service in Brazil.

Yoichi Katayama and Minako Wakabayashi are the names to note at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. Katayama focuses on international infrastructure project financing, acting for developers and financial institutions. Wakabayashi is experienced in the energy sector.

Paul Hastings LLP has notable strength in several key areas, including real estate finance, payment systems and Japan-China cross-border matters. Toshi Arai leads the practice, and advised Citi Cards and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Cards (SMTC) on the divestiture of Citi’s card business to SMTC. Naoki Ueyama is recommended. Joshua Isenberg joined Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s team is led by Tsuyoshi Imai, who ‘is a one-stop lawyer for banking and corporate work’. The team has ‘extensive knowledge and experience’ advising sponsors on leveraged finance transactions, and acted for Bain Capital in the disposal of its 50% leveraged investment in Jupiter Shop Channel.

Etienne Gelencsér leads Shearman & Sterling’s practice and focuses on acquisition, project and structured finance transactions, particularly in the energy sector. The team counts financial institutions and corporates as clients and also assists with fund issues. Masahisa Ikeda and Kenneth Lebrun are recommended.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is ‘truly excellent in terms of expertise and willingness to help’, according to clients, and is ‘an exceptionally balanced team’ led by the ‘highly impressive and considerate’ Jon Gray, who joined from Linklaters in 2015. Clients also single out Christopher Kodama and Mörk Murdock.

Newly established King & Spalding Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho counts several Japanese banks as clients, including JBIC, Mitsubishi Trust and Banking, and Modec. The two-partner department comprises John McClenahan and Mark Davies, who joined from Ashurst in 2015. Project finance is a key strength for the firm.

At Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, noteworthy names include Tomoko Fuminaga, who specialises in financial regulatory issues and fund matters, and Christopher Wells, who is recommended for investment fund establishment and licensing.

Tomoo Nishikawa leads Sidley Austin Nishikawa Foreign Law Joint Enterprise’s practice, which advises clients on regulatory issues, payment-related mandates and structured finance transactions. Akira Nakazawa is recommended.

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