The Legal 500

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

SHIN-MARUNOUCHI BUILDING, 29TH FLOOR, 5-1, MARUNOUCHI 1-CHOME, CHIYODA-KU, TOKYO 100-6529, JAPAN
Tel:
Work +81 3 3214 6522
Fax:
Fax +81 3 3214 6512
Web:
www.mofo.com

Japan: Antitrust and competition law

International firms and joint ventures
Antitrust and competition law: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi’s department head Kei Amemiya is noted for his ‘know-how of global antitrust and competition matters’. Of counsels Kentaro Hirayama and Kazuyasu Yoneyama are also key names, alongside James Robinson, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills in January 2015. Practice members ‘leverage the firm’s global network’ to assist clients with matters including cartel investigations, monopolisation and unfair trade. Amemiya advised Fujifilm on the merger-filing aspects of its $307m acquisition of Cellular Dynamics International; the team’s client roster also includes Fujitsu, Toshiba and TDK.

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

Kei Amemiya - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

James Robinson - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: Banking and finance

International firms and joint ventures
Banking and finance: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi’s team receives praise for its ‘quality of work’ and ‘quick and timely responses’. It advised CLS Bank (which undertakes the settlement of international fund transfers) on the updating of a Japanese legal opinion on the enforceability of its trading terms and conditions. Noted for project finance, practice head Dale Caldwell represents lenders, project sponsors and construction contractors on the development and financing of infrastructure projects. Katsuhiko Fujihira acts for major banks and securities companies, and Keiko Yamazaki has strength in M&A and real estate finance transactions. Akihiro Wani is recommended.

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

Akihiro Wani - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: Capital markets

International firms and joint ventures
Capital markets: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

In headline work, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi represented SoftBank, as the issuer’s largest shareholder, in Alibaba’s $168bn NYSE IPO. The team also advised initial purchasers J.P. Morgan Securities and Citigroup Global Markets on Nippon Life’s $2.25bn debt securities global offering to institutional investors outside Japan. Senior counsellor Akihiro Wani is well regarded, especially for ‘cutting-edge’ derivative transactions, domestic public offerings of credit-linked notes and fund formation. Saori Nakamura is ‘a favourite’ with clients, and highly regarded practice head Kenji Taneda ‘has in-depth knowledge of US capital markets law and provides valuable input’. Fuyuo Mitomi is also recommended.

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

Fuyuo Mitomi - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Saori Nakamura - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Kenji Taneda - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: Construction

International firms and joint ventures
Construction: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi’s practice is ‘knowledgeable, professional and trustworthy’, and has experience representing contractors in the construction of infrastructure projects. The team recently advised Osaka Gas and Chubu Electric Power on the debt-and-equity financing of the Freeport LNG liquefaction project. Dale Caldwell is the main contact.

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Dale Caldwell - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: Corporate and M&A

International firms and joint ventures
Corporate and M&A: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

The highly reputed Ken Siegel is head of department at Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi, and regularly advises on blockbuster deals, including representing SoftBank on its primary and secondary purchases of a stake totalling $627m in Indian e-commerce company, Snapdeal. ‘An excellent communicator, very responsive and reliable’, Randy Laxer is praised for his ‘first-hand knowledge and in-depth understanding of venture financing and the investor environment’. James Robinson joined from Herbert Smith Freehills and specialises in cross-border work, joint ventures, auction processes and antitrust matters. Gary Smith and Stanley Yukevich are well regarded.

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Gary Smith - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

James Robinson - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Ken Siegel - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Stanley Yukevich - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: Dispute resolution

International firms and joint ventures
Dispute resolution: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

For litigation, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi’s service is ‘one of the best in terms of appropriateness, strategic thinking, and cost effectiveness’. ‘Excellent’ department head James Hough is ‘very responsible, strategic and has a nice personality’. Max Olson is focused on patent litigation, adversarial patent licence negotiations and international arbitration. Louise Stoupe led representation of Toshiba in its trade secret misappropriation claim against South Korea-based SK Hynix, which agreed to settle for $278m. The team fields nine partners and 20 other lawyers.

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Max Olson - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: Intellectual property

International firms and joint ventures
Intellectual property: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi’s ‘combined breadth of knowledge and depth of experience makes for a very strong legal team’, which includes three benrishi and four US patent attorneys in its substantial team. Litigator James Hough, technology transaction expert Stuart Beraha and patent specialist Robert Hollingshead (noted for his ‘excellent, client-oriented attitude’), co-lead the department. On the litigation side, Louise Stoupe advised Toshiba on its trade secrets misappropriation claim against SK Hynix. Chie Yakura, Max Olson and Steven Comer are also excellent. Technology transaction partner Masato Hayakawa acted for SoftBank on its landmark alliance with IBM concerning the development of Watson technology.

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

Yukihiro Terazawa - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Max Olson - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Steven Comer - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: Projects and energy

International firms and joint ventures
Projects and energy: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi represented Osaka Gas and Chubu Electric Power in the debt and equity financing of the Freeport LNG liquefaction project. Dale Caldwell focuses on representing sponsors, contractors and lenders in project finance and development transactions and Michael Graffagna, who is the global co-head of the energy and project finance group, has expertise in the development and financing of infrastructure projects.

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Dale Caldwell - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Michael Graffagna - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: Real estate

International firms and joint ventures
Real estate: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is noted for its strengths in cross-border real estate transactions, with one client enthusing that its team is ‘very, very impressive’. The practice advised affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Partners on investments relating to the acquisition of GE Japan’s residential real estate business. Practice co-heads Keisuke Mochizuki and Theodore Seltzer are ‘knowledgeable, professional and trustworthy’. Andrew Morrison is ‘a top-notch lawyer with trustworthy judgement’, and Masahiro Shiga is also well respected.

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

Keisuke Mochizuki - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Masahiro Shiga - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Theodore Seltzer - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: Structured finance/securitisation

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

Akihiro Wani - Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

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Japan: TMT

International firms and joint ventures
TMT: international firms and joint ventures - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi has eight technology-transaction specialists, who focus on high-profile deals, e-commerce and internet-related transactions, among other areas. Stuart Beraha is noted for work on technology-focused joint ventures. Masato Hayakawa advised Fujifilm on its $307m acquisition of Cellular Dynamics International. Kenneth Siegel and Ivan Smallwood advised SoftBank on a number of high-profile matters, including its $1bn investment in Coupang.

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Latin America: International firms

Projects and energy
Projects and energy - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi’s Tokyo office has a longstanding connection with Latin America, representing a variety of Japanese sponsor clients in large economies such as Brazil, Mexico and Chile. Much of the practice spans energy, mining, transport and infrastructure, with power and natural resources at the forefront; the firm’s Los Angeles office is now increasingly active in Mexico renewable energy projects. Clients include Mitsui Gás e Energia do Brasil, Oak Tree Energy Systems, Misui & Co, Sumitomo and Tokyo Gas. In 2015, the firm advised Mitsui Gás e Energia do Brasil on its $570m acquisition of a 49% stake in Petrobras Gás (Gaspetro), a subsidiary of Petrobras. It also represented Oak Creek Energy Systems, a Marubeni subsidiary, in the financing and sale of a 148.5MW wind power project in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Tokyo’s Michael Graffagna is close to Mitsui and Sumitomo and has a fine record in power and natural resources. Tokyo partner Dale Caldwell covers project development, project finance and M&A, and is also close to Mitsui. Los Angeles partner Jeffrey Chester is a well-regarded name for wind power matters.

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Latin America: International firms

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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
  • NEW WHITE COLLAR CRIME BILL

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  • 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).