The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon
Work +81 3 3214 6205
Fax +81 3 3214 6209

The firm: Iwata Godo is one of Japan's premier and oldest law firms. It was established in 1902 as one of the first business law firms by Chuzo Iwata, an attorney-at-law who subsequently held various positions, including serving as Minister of Justice and president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. It is a full-service firm and its practice areas are highly regarded.

Areas of practice: Antitrust and competition: the firm provides advice on all areas of competition law (including dawn raids, leniency programs and compliance training). The firm has a strong antitrust litigation team with experience of working on multi-jurisdictional cartels. It also advises on cross-border M&A transactions and handles merger control filings before the Fair Trade Commission of Japan.

Banking and finance: the firm has advised financial institutions for decades, including the Bank of Japan, Japan's mega-banks and regional banks, trust banks, foreign banks and borrowers on all aspects of financings. It regularly represents clients in lending transactions of every type, including leveraged acquisition financings, asset based financings, recapitalisations and restructuring facilities. Iwata Godo provides a full range of transactional, advisory and litigation services in connection with the structuring, offering and trading of commodity and derivative products.

General corporate/corporate governance: Iwata Godo advises many of its clients on a wide range of corporate and securities law matters. Boards and senior management regularly call upon the firm in connection with their most sensitive matters including dealing with potential violations of laws or regulations or shareholder demands. The firm's compliance/anti-corruption team includes former officers of the Financial Services Agency.

Mergers and acquisitions: the practice covers mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs and joint ventures, and combines an excellent legal and transactional track record. The firm's legal skills are generally enhanced by in-depth knowledge of a large number of industries and their legal and regulatory requirements.

Commercial contracts: the firm advises on a wide variety of commercial contracts, both domestic and international (including supply, manufacturing, distribution, agency, franchising and outsourcing).

Employment: the firm's employment team routinely handles a wide variety of employment matters including work rules, redundancies, labour disputes and employee benefits.

Energy: the firm has represented a number of key players, including Japanese electric power companies, in the infrastructure, resources and energy sectors, including in nuclear and renewables.

IP: the firm's IP practice represents clients on contentious and non-contentious matters (including IP-focused M&A transactions and IP agreements (licensing, partnering, technology transfers). The firm regularly advises on IP audits, confidentiality and non-compete undertakings, import/export control, and employee-inventors' rights issues.

Data Protection and Privacy:  the firm's team helps clients to manage their legal risks. It provides strategic advice, regulatory updates, and advises on systems and processes in place, the design and implementation of policies, accountability issues and international data transfers.

Healthcare: the firm's healthcare practice advises on a range of topics covered by pharmaceutical laws and related rules and on general corporate and commercial areas, including acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances and competition issues.

Litigation: the firm's litigation practice is among the most prominent and accomplished in Japan and the practice handles a broad range of disputes in all sectors.

Real estate: Iwata Godo's practice encompasses a broad range of transactions, including J-REIT, real estate fund offerings and portfolio acquisitions, as well as more traditional real estate development, purchase, sale and financing transactions.

Tax: the firm advises on the tax aspects of mergers and spinoffs, investment structuring and the tax aspects of securities offerings and commercial lending transactions. It also assists clients with their tax controversies.

  • Contacts
  • Shinya Tago (
  • Landry Guesdon (
  • Number of lawyers: 70
  • Languages
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Chinese

Above material supplied by Iwata Godo.

Legal Developments in Japan

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Taking control of a Japanese publicly listed company:

    Introductory notes for successfully completing an M&A
  • Yuasa and Hara Business Law News

    Contents of the Issue Law on liability for breach of contract Review on the amendment to the cabinet office order on Corporate Disclosure

    The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter (“the Minister”), has published the Criminal Justice Bill 2011 (“the Bill”). The main purpose of the Bill is stated to be “…to amend the criminal law to improve certain procedural matters and strengthen Garda investigative powers. The intention is that such improvements will assist in reducing the delays associated with the investigation and prosecution of complex crime, in particular white collar crime.”
  • Japan: New legislative framework for Sukuk

    The new framework passed in May 2011 will provide a solid legal platform for issuing Sukuk Ijarah under Japanese law. NAOKI ISHIKAWA highlights key legal structures and tax treatment in respect of the anticipated Sukuk issuances in Japan.
  • Yakult Bottle Acquired Distinctiveness

    Do you know about Yakult's delicious lactic acid drink which is contained in a small bottle? Yakult's lactic acid drink (hereafter referred to as "Yakult drink") is the most famous lactic acid drink in Japan and today is also being sold in many countries around the world. When you are enjoying Yakult drink, please keep in mind the case mentioned below.
  • Tax: Japan: International Joint Ventures

    Tax on international joint ventures. Country Q&A (Japan).
  • Japan: Recent Developments in Practice and Law

    The successful closing of two Islamic fi nance transactions which was announced in July 2010 by Nomura Holdings have paved a concrete path for Japanese corporations to consider overseas Islamic fi nance markets for their fund raising activities. The fi rst transaction was in Asia for the issuance of Sukuk Ijarah and the second was in the Middle East for the establishment of a Commodity Murabahah facility (Nomura Deals).
  • Renewable energy takes off in Japan

    Like many other countries, Japan has decided to reform its renewable energy (RE) policy, to dramatically increase the use of renewable energy. The core policy mechanism is a feed-in tariff (FIT). This chapter summarises the contemplated Japanese FIT and its practical impact on existing and future investment in this sector, providing an overview of:
  • Licensing - 2010

    Q & A on Licensing in Japan 
  • Law on the Civil Jurisdiction of Japanese Courts over Foreign Countries, etc.

    The Law has been enacted to clarify the scope of application of the civil jurisdiction of Japanese courts over foreign countries, etc., and set exceptions to civil preocedings involving foreign countries, etc., based on the United Nations Convention on the Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their property (UN Convention on Immunities) (see Article 1).