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  1. Corporate and M&A: independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi

Leading individuals: bengoshi

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Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s ‘exceptionally strong team adds tremendous value to any deal’ and is praised by clients for its ‘quick manner, flexibility and excellent level of service’. ‘Tough negotiator’ Satoko Kuwabara led advice to Daihatsu Motor Co in Toyota’s buyout of the client via a share exchange. Kuwabara also advised Mitsui Life Insurance – alongside the ‘highly responsive’ Naoya Shiota – on its ¥335bn acquisition by Nippon Life. Gaku Ishiwata is a highly regarded key contact, and Satoshi Kawai and Shin Kikuchi are also recommended. Other clients include SoftBank, Hitachi and Japan Tobacco.

Kenichi Fujinawa, who leads the practice at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, advised General Electric Capital on the ¥575bn sale of its Japanese commercial lending business to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Leasing Company. Yuko Tamai and Hiroyuki Ishizuka are assisting Royal Dutch Shell with the sale of its equity stake in Showa Shell Sekiyu KK to Idemitsu Kosan. Hiroshi Mitoma and Kei Asatsuma are also recommended. The department regularly acts for a mix of listed companies and private equity firms, including Panasonic, Pioneer and Bain Capital.

Nishimura & Asahi’s ‘excellent’ practice has notable strength in cross-border transactions. Recent highlights include Kazuhiro Takei and Masaki Noda acting for Nippon Life in its purchase of shares in MLC from National Australia Bank. The department is led jointly by Takashi Ejiri, Koichi Kusano and Masakazu Iwakura. Iwakura and Kozo Kawai assisted Japan Post with its acquisition of Toll Holdings. James Emerson joined the firm as a foreign attorney from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune assisted Sumitomo Life with its $3.8bn acquisition of Symetra, and is advising Tokyo Kohtetsu on a tender offer for its common shares by Osaka Steel. Highly regarded team members include Osamu Hirakawa, who has experience in financing transactions and global offerings; and Kenichi Masuda, who focuses on cross-border matters. Keita Tokura is noted for his experience in hostile takeovers and corporate governance matters. Hiroki Kodate and Yoshimasa Dan are also recommended.

TMI Associates has substantial strength in the pharmaceutical and IT sectors. Recent examples include advising Teva Pharmaceuticals on its joint venture with Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and acting for Carlyle during its acquisition of WingArc1st from Orix. Other clients include trading houses and financial institutions. Kunio Namekata leads the department. Takayuki Suzuki, Madoka Ueda and Kazumitsu Goto were all promoted to the partnership in 2016.

Atsumi & Sakai handles cross-border and domestic M&A for clients in a broad range of sectors, including financial services, real estate and technology. Recent highlights include assisting Kengoo No.1 Investment Partnership with its takeover bid for MH Group’s shares. Hiroo Atsumi leads the team, which also includes Hiroyuki Nezu, Yuri Suzuki and Hiroyuki Sanbe.

Hibiya-Nakata’s ‘vigorous and conscientious’ two-partner team focuses on outbound M&A. Practice head Nobuo Nakata (who has ‘an abundance of experience’) assisted Topcon Corporation with its acquisition of ifa systems, and advised Konica Minolta on its purchase of 65% of the shares of Mobotix. ‘Hard worker’ Koki Yamada is also recommended.

Ushijima & Partners is ‘always on target’ and has ‘good business acumen with a deep understanding of the Japanese market’. The firm is recognised for its strength in hostile takeovers and has a substantial outbound M&A practice. It acted for Hokuetsu Kishu Paper in its acquisition of Alpac Forest Products and Alpac Pulp Sales. The ‘bright and dynamicShin Ushijima and the ‘exceptionalHiroshi Watanabe lead the department, and clients also recommend Osamu Inoue, who is ‘very steady’, and Rikisuke Yamanaka.

City-Yuwa Partners advises domestic and foreign clients on M&A, corporate governance, private equity transactions, regulatory issues and tax. Names to note include Yoshiko Koizumi, Masato Kobayashi, Junko Hirakawa and Yukihiro Fujimoto.

Iwata Godo primarily acts for Japan-listed companies (examples include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Arcs Co) and has a notable strength in the financial services and life sciences sectors. The practice also has a European client base. Recent highlights include assisting Nestlé Skin Health with the Japanese elements of Nestlé’s acquisition of Proactiv. Shinya Tago and Hirotaka Uranaka jointly lead the department.

At Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners, key names include Hirohiko Ikeda, Shiro Kuniya and Hiroyasu Ueda, who is recommended for corporate restructuring. The practice covers cross-border and domestic transactions, and advises on corporate governance, mergers and joint ventures for a variety of clients, including financial institutions and pharmaceuticals and energy companies.

Boutique M&A firm southgate was founded in early 2016 by the ‘highly resourceful’ Mangyo Kinoshita and the ‘always trustworthy’ Eric Marcks, following their departure in 2015 from White & Case LLP – White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association). The ‘responsive and accessible’ practice focuses on cross-border M&A, and advised Sun Holdings on the sale of a stake in a solar project to GSSG Solar. The team also acted for Colopl in its acquisition of a minority stake in Fove, a Silicon Valley-based virtual reality company. Other clients include Itokin and Metaps.

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