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  1. Shipping: independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi

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Hailed as ‘one of the most famous and longstanding maritime lawyers’, Hiratsuka & Co’s senior partner Makoto Hiratsuka impresses in jurisdictional and bankruptcy issues. The practice handles Japanese court and arbitration proceedings and is a ‘first choice for non-Japanese clients’. Its marine expertise includes collisions, on-board fires and cargo claims. Newly elected partner Yuji Miyazaki is another key figure.

Max Law Officegets its fair share of deals’ and has ‘substantial industry knowledge’ that is ‘invaluable’ to foreign P&I clubs and shipping companies. Takayuki Matsui is ‘one of the most famous maritime lawyers’ in casualty and shipping litigation. The ‘very talented’ Rie Akiba manages ship finance work for banks and foreign shipowners. Master mariner Shigeru Akachi ‘strengthens the team with his nautical expertise’ in casualty investigations. Master mariner Hiroyuki Kyuko joined from First Marine.

Okabe & Yamaguchi represented underwriters in a high-profile case involving a fire aboard the Sunflower Daisetsu, which resulted in the loss of more than ¥600m worth of cargo. Shuji Yamaguchi leads the cargo claim team, while Teruyuki Sago heads the collision and salvage practice. Their combined expertise includes ship collision, wreck removal and oil pollution. Takehiko Tozuka and Hiroki Okabe are highly regarded.

Pre-eminent financial institutions instruct Atsumi & Sakai for ship finance work, and other clients include general trading companies and shipowners. LNG-related work, syndicated loans and advising on charterparty matters are among the practice’s strengths. Senior partner Yutaka Sakai, Reiko Yoshida and Takeshi Takahashi are recommended.

TMI Associates is adept across all aspects of shipping, from advising on structuring ship finance schemes to handling matters relating to the carriage of goods. The practice also undertakes a range of casualty work. Newly promoted partner Jumpei Osada is the name to note.

Law Offices of Toda & Co focuses on casualty cases and has been active in collisions, grounding and limitation proceedings. Mitsuhiro Toda heads the team.

Sotaro Mori and Tetsuro Nakamura’s caseload at Yoshida & Partners includes charterparty disputes, collisions and salvage issues. The firm is ‘highly rated’ for casualty work.

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