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Antitrust and competition – Independent local firms

Index of tables

  1. Antitrust and competition – Independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

At Atsumi & Sakai 'the advice hits all the right points to balance competition law and business risks' and 'truly exceptional' practice head Setsuko Yufu is noted for the 'depth of her understanding of Japanese and foreign competition law as well as her excellent relationship with the JFTC'. A team including Saori Hanada and 'up-and-coming starMasayuki Matsuura is acting for a Japanese manufacturer in the landmark 'autoparts cartel' investigations launched by the JFTC and foreign regulatory bodies. Meanwhile, Tatsuo Yamashima – who is described as 'one of the outstanding antitrust experts in Japan' – is collaborating with Yufu and recently promoted partner Yusuke Miura to defend a major Japanese shipping company in investigations into a host of anticompetitive business practices by the JFTC, DoJ, EU and other entities. The group also advises clients on general compliance matters, internal investigations and merger clearance mandates in the context of M&A transactions. Recent team developments include the arrival of Hisashi Miyatsuka and of counsel Go Fujimoto from Nishimura & Asahi and of counsel Kohei Murakawa from Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho.

The strength of Mori Hamada & Matsumoto's antitrust practice arises from its strong track record in the M&A space and its dedicated, multi-disciplinary team. The team is regularly appointed by domestic and international clients to advise on cross-border merger control, competition-related litigation and regulatory investigations. The firm has acted for enviable blue-chip clients such as Showa Shell, JX Holdings and Mitsubishi. The key names to note include Hideki Utsunomiya, Kenji Ito and counsel Tsuyoshi Ikeda.

Eriko Watanabe spearheads the antitrust and competition team at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu which has been strengthened by the promotion to partner of Ryohei Tanaka and the arrival of former JFTC commissioner Hideo Makuta as an advisor. In recent highlights, Kaoru Hattori and Yusuke Kaeriyama teamed up to advise NYK on the merger of its container liner shipping business with Mitsui OSK Lines and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha to establish a new joint venture. Elsewhere, Yoshitoshi Imoto acted for several international clients, such as SK Holdings, in obtaining merger clearance from the JFTC on high-value M&A transactions. On the contentious side, the group successfully persuaded the trade commission not to impose a cease and desist order against its client – a US-based conglomerate – following a cartel investigation launched in 2016. Litigation partner Koki Yanagisawa is representing a major software company in proceedings filed by one of its customers seeking compensation for damages caused by alleged deceptive customer inducement during the transaction process.

Nishimura & Asahi's sizeable antitrust group is led by Kozo Kawai and recently handled the competition aspects of the business integration of the Daishi Bank and the Hokuetsu Bank. In other highlights, Takuya Matsuo and Tatsuya Nakayama acted for the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan regarding its investment in Dynamic Map Planning, a joint venture for the development of autonomous cars and support systems. Amazon, Google and Sumitomo are also notable clients.

Recently strengthened by the arrival of special counsel Takeshi Ishida from the JFTC, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune  fields a team of dedicated antitrust specialists with substantial experience in representing Japanese clients in the full range of regulatory enforcement agencies including the JFTC, the DoJ and the European Commission. Under the leadership of Takeshi Suzuki, the team advised Mitsubishi Paper Mills on its strategic capital and business alliance with Oji Holdings and the necessary merger clearance. Senior foreign counsel Dr Vassili Moussis teamed up with Yusuke Nakano to file amendments to notification under the Maritime Transportation Act of Japan on behalf of clients of 2M alliance. On the contentious side, Yoshihito Shibata is representing Qualcomm before the JFTC regarding the allegedly infringing licensing provisions by mobile phone manufacturers, while Atsushi Yamada  is assisting a major building material company with its response to a cease and desist and surcharge payment order issued by the commission pertaining to a price-fixing cartel. Other key names include Shigeyoshi Ezaki and Hideto Ishida.

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune - Japanese translation: アンダーソン・毛利・友常法律事務所 ・ 安德森·毛利·友常律师事务所 は、豊富な経験を持つ独占禁止法の専門家による専任チームを有し、公平取引委員会、米国司法省、欧州委員会など様々な規制執行機関で日本人クライアントの代理人として活動しています。近年、公平取引委員会から石田健氏をスペシャル・カウンセルとして迎え、その機能をさらに強化しています。鈴木剛志氏のリーダーシップの下、本チームは、王子ホールディングスの戦略的資本業務提携およびそれに伴う合併審査に関する助言を三菱製紙に提供しました。 外国法事務弁護士であるバシリ・ムシス氏は中野雄介氏とチームを組み、2Mアライアンスのクライアントの代理として、日本の海上運送法に基づく通知書の訂正を申請しました。 係争分野については、柴田義人氏がクアルコム社によるライセンス契約条項の独禁法違反に関する携帯電話機メーカー各社からの訴えに対し、公正取引委員会でクアルコム社の代理人を務めています。また、山田篤氏は、価格カルテルに関する公正取引委員会からの停止命令および課徴金納付命令への対応で大手建設資材会社を支援しています。 その他の注目すべき人物として、江崎滋恒氏、石田英遠氏の名が挙げられます。

The antitrust and competition offering at TMI Associates is jointly led by Masafumi Oshino and Yusuke Kashiwagi and has been bolstered by the promotion to partner of Yohsuke Higuchi and Daigo Fujii, as well as the arrival of Harumichi Uchida from Mori Hamada & Matsumoto. An enviable client roster, including major corporates, appointed the department to oversee the merger clearance aspects of high-profile M&A transactions and represent them in cartel investigations launched by the JFTC and foreign regulatory bodies. The group also acts for individual senior executives and administrative officers in such investigations. Other key names include Tetsuro Toriumi, Hidehiro Utsumi and Koichiro Hanamoto.

The antitrust and competition team at Iwata Godo cover both the non-contentious aspects of merger clearance and regulatory compliance as well as any litigation that may arise from investigations and allegations of abuse of power. Clients can rely on dispute resolution specialist Yoshihiro Toji, Shinya Tago, Atsushi Izumi and Manabu Eiguchi who are some of the noteworthy names within the practice.

Iwata Godo - Japanese translation: 岩田合同法律事務所 の競争法チームは、合併審査や規制遵守の分野で訴訟に関わらない案件と、調査や職権乱用の訴えから生じる訴訟案件の両方に対応しています。 紛争解決を専門とする田路至弘氏、田子真也氏、泉篤志氏、永口学氏はクライアントからの信頼も高く、この分野において注目度の高い人物です。

Momo-o, Matsuo & Namba's strength is in the contentious space where it handles cartel investigations and claims of anti-competitive market practices. The team's caseload also includes cross-border mandates such as merger reviews on behalf of Japanese clients with business abroad, and issues pertaining to misleading representation and distribution policies. Nobuaki Mukai is a key name to note.

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners' managing partner Shiro Kuniya and Tetsuya Nagasawa have previously handled significant competition and consumer protection litigation cases and continue to advise Japanese clients on domestic and international merger clearance compliance. Teppei Mogi heads the firm's international business law and dispute resolution departments and is a key name to note.

Antitrust and competition – International firms and joint ventures

Index of tables

  1. Antitrust and competition – International firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

The antitrust and competition team at Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) is jointly led by Akira Inoue and Junya Ae and provides the full spectrum of services including cartel investigations, IP-related matters and merger clearance mandates. NHK Spring Company appointed the group to represent it in the global cartel investigation into the disk suspension used for hard disk drives in the US, Japan, Brazil and Taiwan. Ae led a team including senior associate Michio Suzuki representing Okaya Electric in global investigations arising from damages and class action claims in the US and Canada seeking recovery of losses suffered from alleged cartel behaviour among capacitor manufacturers. Experienced European antitrust practitioner Kurt Haegeman joined the team as a legal foreign consultant from the Brussels office and is also a name to note alongside counsel Tetsuro Sato.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's team is 'always very responsive and helpful with deep industrial knowledge'. Practice head Kaori Yamada is especially noted by clients; she is advising Mitsui on the antitrust aspects of its acquisition of a controlling stake in commodity trading company ETG. Yamada also acted for BASF on its proposed takeover of Bayer's seed and non-selective herbicide businesses as part of the latter's planned divestment ahead of its acquisition of Monsanto. On the contentious side, the group intervenes in domestic and cross-border investigations launched by a variety of regulatory bodies. Head of the corporate and M&A practice Takeshi Nakao closely collaborates with the competition team and is also a name to note.

Morrison & Foerster LLP's 'very high quality' antitrust offering in Tokyo gained considerable strength following the arrival of new global practice co-head Rony Gerrits from the Brussels office where he specialised in cartel investigations. Clients also single out Kei Amemiya for his 'deep experience in the competition field'. A team led by Gerrits and of counsel Kazuyasu Yoneyama collaborated with colleagues in Brussels to secure full immunity for Panasonic in the landmark 'autoparts cartel'. Chie Yakura is assisting the Japanese subsidiary of a global business in two JFTC investigations arising from suspicions of unfair trade practices. In other highlights, the firm is representing individuals in criminal proceedings brought by the US DoJ as well as handling a civil antitrust litigation against the importer and seller of products that infringe a client's patent. The 'very experienced' Daiske Yoshida joined from Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise in January 2019. James Robinson became a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and of counsel Kentaro Hirayama left the firm.

White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) bolstered its antitrust and competition offering through the hire of special advisor and former JFTC secretary general Hideo Nakajima. Toshio Dokei – who co-heads the practice with senior counsel Anthony Mitchell – was part of the multi-office team advising independent container ship operator Seaspan on the competition aspects of acquiring the remaining 89% of Greater China Intermodal Investments. Also notable is counsel Seiji Niwa who assisted Dokei in representing Maruyasu in an ongoing criminal investigation by the US DoJ and a number of multi-jurisdictional suits arising from allegations of the manufacturer's involvement in the 'autoparts cartel'. The practice – supported by senior associate Takako Onoki – is also acting for Furukawa Electric in US mediation proceedings in connection with the cartel investigation.

Hiromitsu Miyakawa is the senior name to note in Jones Day's antitrust practice and recently assisted a number of clients such as Linear Technology and Terumo with the competition aspects of their corporate cross-border transactions. In other highlights, the group is currently representing a manufacturer against foreign antitrust regulators as part of the landmark 'autoparts cartel' investigation, and is also acting for a chemicals and performance materials company in an investigation launched by the JFTC. Former practice head Shinya Watanabe retired from the partnership.

Graeme Preston co-heads Herbert Smith Freehills' global competition offering, alongside Brussels-based Kyriakos Fountoukakos, and represents major international and Japanese clients on contentious antitrust matters and international merger filings. Recently bolstered by the return of senior associate Joseph Fisher from the London office, the team acted for a major manufacturing company in the merger clearance aspects of an acquisition of shares in a precision product manufacturer which involved filings in a range of jurisdictions. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi instructed the group to oversee the competition aspects of its joint venture with Fast Retailing for the expansion of the UNIQLO brand and related operations in Russia. Also notable is corporate expert Andrew Blacoe who is currently advising Marubeni on its acquisition of Chilean gas distributor GasValpro from its Australian shareholders.

Clients describe Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise's antitrust experts as 'really and truly great'. A multi-jurisdictional team secured the shut down of two foreign agencies' 'autoparts cartel' investigations into Sumitomo. In another highlight, Toshiba and several of its subsidiaries appointed the practice to represent them in a host of antitrust litigation proceedings alleging a global price-fixing scheme on optical disk drives. Nozomi Oda was promoted to the partnership and the firm welcomed associate Takaki Sato to its bengoshi ranks. Former practice head Daiske Yoshida joined Morrison & Foerster LLP in January 2019.

Kaede Toh combines her significant antitrust and competition experience with expertise in the fields of intellectual property and anti-corruption to lead Ropes & Gray LLP's Tokyo team. Toh collaborated with her Boston and Washington DC colleagues to defend Hitachi-LG Data Storage – a joint venture between Japan and South Korea – in US-based litigation arising from price-fixing allegations relating to the marketing of optional disk drives; she is also representing several individual executives in DoJ, FDA and criminal investigations pertaining to alleged collusion and unfair practices. On the advisory side, the firm acts for international private equity funds on regulatory compliance and anti-corruption due diligence.

Asia regional manager and Tokyo office manager Masahisa Ikeda is the main name to note for antitrust and competition work at Shearman & Sterling; he acts for both Japanese and international clients in conjunction with the firm's US and Europe offices to handle the regulatory compliance aspects of major cross-border M&A deals and to represent financial institutions and corporates in government investigations and litigation.

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