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Independent local firms

Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution: independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi
  3. Next generation lawyers: bengoshi

Leading individuals: bengoshi

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Next generation lawyers: bengoshi

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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


Hiroki Wakabayashi and Yoshimasa Furuta jointly lead Anderson Mori & Tomotsune’s practice. Wakabayashi represents financial institutions, and Furuta is recommended for international litigation and arbitration. The team defended a global internet provider in a lawsuit brought by an individual relating to commission allegedly generated from the individual’s web service, and also represented a British company in enforcing an arbitral award. Kenichi Sadaka is head of international litigation at the firm, and Shinji Kusakabe leads the firm’s international arbitration practice.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto acts for domestic clients overseas and assists international clients in Japanese litigation, regularly handling litigation with cross-border elements. Clients include Eksportfinans, SoftBank Mobile and Bic Camera. Mugi Sekido was appointed bankruptcy trustee for ERP Soft House by the Tokyo District Court, a matter which brought subsequent litigation relating to land value. Kana Manabe, Junichi Tobimatsu and tax specialist Kazuhiro Kanamaru are recommended.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu is noted for its international arbitration strength, and several practitioners in the team have particular specialisms. For instance, department head Norimitsu Arai focuses on labour and employment issues, and Hisaya Kimura is experienced in international disputes, product liability and environmental tort. Recent highlights include representing Tepco in a shareholder derivative lawsuit following the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster, and acting for several banks in a suit against Olympus to recover damages incurred following Olympus’ filing of false financial reports.

Recent work for Nishimura & Asahi included acting for Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal in a lawsuit against Posco regarding trade secret infringement, and successfully defending Shimizu in a joint venture dispute in Indonesia. Hiroyuki Tezuka leads the practice, and along with Akihiro Hironaka is representing a foreign insurance company in a claim regarding a defective design of a Middle Eastern industrial plant. Other clients include Canon, Mizuho Securities and Nidec.

Tatsuya Fukui and Toyoki Emoto co-lead Atsumi & Sakai’s practice, which has ‘excellent diversity and a real commitment to the clients, providing trustworthy advice for a good price’. Recent headline matters include representing 62 non-Japanese institutional investors and pension funds in a claim for damages against Olympus following a high-profile securities fraud. Kunihiro Sumida is recommended for labour disputes, the ‘very reactive and highly energeticBonnie Dixon focuses on international work, and clients praise London-based Ryuichi Nozaki as ‘an ace lawyer, who is efficient and pleasant to deal with’.

TMI Associates assists clients with domestic and cross-border litigation across a wide range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, technology and manufacturing. Tomoki Yanagisawa and Mitsuko Miyagawa are key names to note, Hidetoshi Masunaga is recommended for tax and IP issues, and Mitsue Aizawa is experienced in insolvency proceedings.

Hashidate Law Office covers the gamut, from international litigation to small-scale commercial disputes, advising on regulatory matters, international trade and labour issues. Noteworthy individuals include Takahiro Mikami, who is recommended for cross-border disputes, Kenji Hashidate and Yuko Kojima, who is experienced in product liability and financial transaction-related matters.

Hibiya Park Law Offices acts for clients in disputes relating to corporate activities, company law and financial transactions at a domestic and international level. Akihiko Hara is recommended for cross-border matters, Taku Nomiya is experienced in international arbitration, and Haruka Matsuyama has expertise in injunctions, D&O litigation, and defamation cases.

Iwata Godo’s client base includes financial institutions, insurers, manufacturers and electricity companies. The team regularly handles large-scale environmental litigation, and also has experience in crisis management, arbitration, class action-style lawsuits and shareholder litigation. Key names include Masao Fujii and Shinya Tago.

Ushijima & Partnersresponds quickly with on-target advice that is well thought through’ and fields a team that ‘punches above its weight’. The practice has several areas of specialism, including real estate, technology, corporate matters and tax. Hiroyasu Kageshima has expertise in infringement issues, and Hiroshi Watanabe is experienced in securities litigation. Shin Ushijima and Osamu Inoue jointly head the practice. Inoue represented Urban Renaissance Agency in a construction defect issue following the 2011 earthquake.

Areas of focus for Wada & Watanabe include corporate law, cross-border disputes, IP and employment issues. The team represents both domestic and international clients, and recent highlights include advising a Swedish furniture company in an employment dispute. Nobuhiro Wada is recommended for multi-jurisdictional issues. Takashi Koyama is also a name to note.

International firms and joint ventures

Index of tables

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

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

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Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

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Next generation lawyers: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

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    • Daniel Allen - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Ben Jolley - Herbert Smith Freehills

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


The ‘very impressive’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills is led jointly by David Gilmore and Peter Godwin (who ‘has a deep, quick and precise approach’) and is ‘one of the best’ for international arbitrations. The team represents Japanese and international corporations from a range of sectors, including energy, TMT, pharmaceuticals, construction and manufacturing. Clients single out Emma Kratochvilova, who is ‘rich in legal knowledge’, Elaine Wong, who ‘stands head and shoulders above the rest’, and Christopher Hunt. Hunt and Wong were promoted to the partnership in 2015. Dominic Roughton relocated to the firm’s London office.

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomicombines exceptionally strong Japanese resources with its first-class US litigation practice’ and is ‘one of the best for international IP disputes’. Recent highlights include representing Toshiba in a trade secrets dispute, successfully obtaining a preliminary injunction for the client, and acting for Fujitsu Ten in a patent infringement investigation. Other clients include SoftBank, NEC and Nikon. James Hough leads the department, which also includes patent litigator Max Olson, Louise Stoupe, who is ‘excellent and intelligent with trustworthy, strategic judgement’, and Chie Yakura, who ‘has a very strong analytical sense’.

Kazuki Okada leads the department at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which has substantial strength in representing Japanese corporations in outbound matters, particularly investment treaty and commercial arbitrations. The team is advising Eurus Energy Holdings in filing an ICSID Energy Charter Treaty claim against Spain. Nicholas Lingard led the matter, and is praised by clients for his ‘high-quality performance and timely responses’. Other clients include Bloomberg, Inpex and Marubeni. Akiko Yamakawa is also recommended.

Clients praise Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s ‘strategic and efficient’ team, which has ‘a deep understanding of clients’ needs’ and ‘uses its speedy global network highly effectively’. Recent headline cases include representing NEC in a recourse action brought by Elpida Memory relating to a cartel involving NEC and Hitachi. Practice head Yoshihiro Takatori led the matter. The team represents Japanese and multinational clients, assisting with litigation, arbitration and contentious regulatory issues. David Case and Shinsuke Yakura are well regarded.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has a sizeable practice representing clients in patent infringement cases. Recent examples include representing Samsung in a patent infringement case against Apple Inc relating to several software features, and acting for Nissan in patent litigation relating to GPS navigation and user interface technologies. Ryan Goldstein leads the team, which also includes Wayne Alexander, who is recommended for patent, trade mark and copyright litigation. Outside IP, the team acted for Mitsubishi Electric in several antitrust class actions relating to cathode ray tubes.

Kensuke Inoue leads the practice at Ashurst, which focuses on international litigation and arbitration. The team worked with the firm’s Singapore office in representing a Japanese construction company in ICC arbitration proceedings. Clients include Modec, Daewoo International, Marubeni-Itochu Steel, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance and JBIC. Counsel Anthony Hague joined from Simmons & Simmons and is recommended for construction, financial and regulatory issues.

The five-partner team at Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) is experienced in domestic and cross-border litigation, commercial arbitrations and compliance investigations, acting for clients including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Dell and Japan Transport Consulting. Yoshiaki Muto leads the department, which also includes Kengo Nishigaki, who has expertise in fraud investigations, employment specialist Tomohisa Muranushi, and Joel Greer. Greer joined from White & Case LLP – White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) and focuses on construction arbitration.

Jones Day’s team is led by Takashi Tanazawa, who specialises in product liability matters. The team has a substantial focus on the manufacturing sector, advising pharmaceuticals, automobile and software manufacturers. Other areas of expertise include contract disputes, IP issues and arbitration award challenges. Previous practice head Rika Sato left to establish her own firm.

At Hogan Lovells Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo, Lloyd Parker is recommended for contentious IP issues, and senior associate Ethan Kate represents clients in government investigations. Patric McGonigal joined Hill Dickinson LLP’s London office, and Philippe Riesen joined Foley & Lardner.

K&L Gates has ‘ample experience in employment litigation’ and fields several ‘truly knowledgeable employment experts’. Takahiro Hoshino is recommended alongside ‘dedicated and patient’ associate Nobuki Wada. Former practice co-head Haig Oghigian recently left for Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho.

The ‘very experienced’ lawyers in the newly established team at King & Spalding Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho are led by the ‘tenacious, precise and excellent negotiator’ Christopher Bailey, who joined from Ashurst. The practice focuses on outbound work, particularly in the energy sector, advising on international arbitrations, US disputes, international trade and government investigations.

Office head Yoji Maeda is the key name at O'Melveny, and is experienced in litigation and arbitration at domestic and international level. Maeda is noted for his expertise in the employment field, and regularly acts on labour disputes before Japanese courts and labour commissions. He also has mass tort experience. Counsels Yukie Kurosawa and Hiroko Nihei are also names to note.

At Sidley Austin Nishikawa Foreign Law Joint Enterprise, counsel Takahiro Nonaka has expertise in compliance issues, cross-border litigation and international arbitration. Other areas of focus for the team include commercial disputes, labour disputes, IP issues, white-collar crime and mediation. Tomoo Nishikawa leads the practice, and Akira Nakazawa is a name to note.

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