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  1. Real estate: independent local firms
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Anderson Mori & Tomotsune leverages its cross-border expertise in inbound real estate investments made by foreign investors. Minoru Kobayashi, Naoyuki Kabata and Harume Nakano are key names in firm’s substantial J-REIT practice, as are Ken Kobayashi and Motoya Ishibashi. Transaction guru Tetsuya Itoh handles refinancing and debt restructuring in real estate developments. Hiroaki Takahashi joined from the defunct Davis & Takahashi. Clients include lenders, asset managers and developers.

The 15-partner practice at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu is impressive for J-REITs. Hidetaka Mihara advised LaSalle Logiport REIT on its global offering, which issued over a million new investment units inside and outside of Japan. Department head Kohji Morita leads hospitality sector acquisitions, Naohiro Nishimura has experience in real estate private equity funds, and Hiroto Inoue’s workload includes fund and securitisation matters. Mitsui Fudosan and Shimizu are key clients.

Domestically and overseas, Nishimura & Asahi advises on the disposal, acquisition, investment, leasing and management of properties. Instructions for Hideaki Ozawa’s team include fund formation, acquisition financing and land developments. Hiroshi Niinomi and Kohei Koikawa advised Tokyo Tatemono Private REIT Investment on its private offering. Norio Maeda is noted for restructuring distressed real estate asset investments and structured finance transactions.

Recommended for cross-border transactions, Atsumi & Sakai is adept at multi-jurisdictional investment structuring. Russell Kawahara is ‘great at bridging the East-West gap between Japanese and Western thinking’ and handles the acquisition and disposal of commercial, residential, retail and hospitality properties, as well as TMK bond issuances. Shuji Koyama, Eiichiro Hata and Yasuhiro Shimada are key figures.

Masanori Sato and Eriko Ozawa steer Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s practice, which advises on investment transactions involving high-profile portfolios and multiple parties. In addition to acquisitions, leasing and property disposals, the firm handles investments for overseas properties, J-REITs, financing and fund creation. Naoki Ishikawa is highly regarded for transactions. Prudential Mortgage Capital, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank and Goldman Sachs Asset Management are key clients. Atsuko Matsui now works in-house at Coca-Cola East Japan.

TMI Associates’ recent work covers GK-TK structured funds, commercial property sales and transferring real estate assets into SPCs (segregated portfolio company). For transactions, the firm’s clients range from sponsors to trustees and lenders, and it has experience acting for overseas investors in relation to residential, commercial and hospitality property investments. Haruo Narimoto is experienced.

Ushijima & PartnersKohtaro Tamura is ‘recognised as a leader’ in real estate securitisation. Hiroki Awahara acted for domestic and foreign banks, investment companies, asset managers and SPCs in securitisation and financing transactions. Osamu Inoue concentrates on litigation. The firm is a ‘first port of call’ for private placement funds, including J-REITs.

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