Leading Individuals: Gaiben

Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Antitrust and competition: Independent local firms

Competition boutique IKEDA & SOMEYA, established in 2018 and led by Tsuyoshi Ikeda, has particularly deep experience in matters involving the Japan Fair Trade Commission, and is able to advise clients on the full spectrum of competition matters.

Antitrust and competition: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

The 'extremely dedicated' competition and antitrust team at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune frequently advises on international cartel investigations, merger control transactions, and the antitrust aspects of acquisitions. Shigeyoshi Ezaki leads the team and is well-versed in antimonopoly law. Yusuke Nakano is adept at advising clients on antitrust cases involving multiple jurisdictions. The 'top notch' Vassili Moussis is particularly skilled in handling EU and international competition cases. Hideto Ishida has broad expertise in advising on matters relating to cooperation agreements, and Atsushi Yamada, who is praised by clients for his 'superb knowledge and mastery' of Japanese antitrust law, regularly advises on merger filings and contesting decisions made by competition authorities.

Practice head(s):

Shigeyoshi Ezaki

Other key lawyers:

Yusuke Nakano; Vassili Moussis; Hideto Ishida; Atsushi Yamada; Kiyoko Yagami; Etsuko Hara


‘Extremely dedicated team which manages to facilitate cooperation in cross-cultural settings very well.’

‘Anderson Mori & Tomotsune (AMT) has one of the best antitrust practices in Japan. With extensive experience, expertise and relevant network with the government regulators, time and again, AMT has proven to be a truly reliable local counsel for Japan.’

‘Vassili Moussis is top notch. He knows the substantive law extremely well, is very easy to communicate with and has exceptional client management skills.’

‘Yusuke Nakano is efficient, responsive and highly commercial.’

‘I have worked for many years with Atsushi Yamada on complex investigations before the JFTC. Fantastic performance, good work products, excellent strategic advice and good contacts with the JFTC.’

‘The Anderson Mori competition team has both breadth and depth. They are able to provide strategic insight into how to communicate with the Japanese competition agency, the JFTC, which is very valuable. They are mindful of the client’s needs and their team works incredibly hard to meet the client’s deadlines.’

‘I have worked extensively with Etsuko Hara and Kiyoko Yagami – they are very impressive and knowledgeable of the Japanese merger control process. They are practical and insightful; they are willing to accommodate the requests of the client and international counsel to align with the global merger filing strategy.’

‘AMT has a number of excellent antitrust lawyers in Japan. In particular, I strongly prefer to work with Atsushi Yamada. As a former judge, he offers an extra layer of insight and expertise on top of his superb knowledge and mastery of the Japanese antitrust laws. He manages his team exceptionally well with a proper amount of delegation plus his own hands-on involvement where appropriate. He is one of the few and first Japanese antitrust lawyers I recommend to my clients and colleagues, without any hesitation.’

Key clients


Hanwha Group

Suzuken Co., Ltd.

Bunka Shutter Co., Ltd.

Tomoku Co., Ltd.

Apollo Management Japan Limited

Nissin Sugar Co., Ltd.

Wilson Sporting Goods Co.

Qualcomm Incorporated


Work highlights

  • Represented ABIOMED, Inc. before the JFTC in relation to its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson.
  • Advised Hanwha Group on a voluntary notification with the Japan Fair Trade Commission in relation to its acquisition of 49.3% common stocks of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, a Korean shipbuilding company.
  • Advised Suzuken Co., Ltd. in relation to a criminal and administrative investigation into an alleged cartel involving wholesale business of pharmaceutical products centrally procured by Japan Community Health Care Organization on behalf of many hospitals.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto's practice is rated by clients for being the 'gold-standard' for its handling of competition and antitrust cases. With considerable experience in multi-jurisdictional matters, the team is well placed to advise on international investigations, cross-border mergers, and abuse of dominance cases. Kenji Ito and Hideki Utsunomiya jointly lead the practice, specialising in antitrust counselling and antitrust policy issues respectively, with Utsunomiya regularly advising the government. Aruto Kagami is key for cartel investigations, while Yusuke Takamiya is proficient in providing compliance advice surrounding competition and antitrust matters. Of Counsel Saori Takekoshi is a name to note for cases in the IT and digital markets, while Tomoya Fujita is well placed to advise on the antitrust aspects of M&A mandates.

Practice head(s):

Kenji Ito; Hideki Utsunomiya

Other key lawyers:

Aruto Kagami; Yusuke Takamiya; Saori Takekoshi; Tomoya Fujita


‘The Mori Hamada antitrust team is first rate. Their substantive advice is spot on, responsiveness is exemplary. ’

‘I would single out Hideki Utsunomiya and Kenji Ito.’

‘Excellent competition team. One of the best in Japan with specialist lawyers that can provide us with advice on any competition issue from mergers and acquisitions to behavioural issues. ’

‘Yusuke Takamiya and Aruto Kagami are both excellent with great expertise of competition law and international experience. ’

‘The gold-standard firm for Japanese matters! Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is the firm of choice for US firms or clients looking for top-tier representation from the Japanese bar.’

‘I have worked with several Japanese firms, and I have found the Mori Hamada team to be among the best. They are adept at handling crisis situations and think very strategically.’

‘The team is very responsive and provides practical advice for clients and they have a good relationship with JFTC.’

‘Kenji Ito is excellent and responsive.’

Key clients

Hitachi, Ltd.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu's antitrust department is lauded by clients for its 'top notch' work and 'unrivalled quality', as well as its 'impressive ability' when assisting its Japanese clients with all manner of competition and antitrust cases. Practice head Yoshitoshi Imoto in particular is described as 'fantastic' when advising on government antitrust investigations, and also brings expertise in high-profile mergers and general compliance matters. Kaoru Hattori, described as a 'leading light', is a name to note for complex cartel cases and issues relating to contractual alliances and transactions, while the 'very strong' Ryohei Tanaka is recommended for his knowledge of merger filing requirements and antitrust issues relating to M&A. Yusuke Kaeriyama and Nobuaki Ito are also key contacts within the team.

Practice head(s):

Yoshitoshi Imoto

Other key lawyers:

Kaoru Hattori; Ryohei Tanaka; Yusuke Kaeriyama; Nobuaki Ito


‘Yoshitoshi Imoto, Ryohei Tanaka and Kaoru Hattori all are very strong individuals. Highly responsive and good judgment.’

‘Driven by excellence, but always practical and considerate of the business context.’

‘NO&T is a market leading practice that distinguishes itself through practical advice focused on the commercial needs of clients.’

‘Kaoru Hattori is a leading light among Japanese antitrust practitioners, with extraordinary strategic sense for complex JFTC matters.’

‘The NO&T Antitrust team is one of the largest and most competent competition law teams of Japan. I like to work with them because of the unrivalled quality of the work product.’

‘Yoshitoshi Imoto is fantastic with investigations, extremely responsive, and connects immediately with US clients.’

‘Top notch antitrust practice in Japan in all relevant areas.’

‘The NO&T team have strong relationships in Japan, and an impressive ability to help their Japanese clients manage the risks of their international operations.’

Key clients


Nitto Denko Corporation

Suzuki Motor Corporation

FUJIFILM Corporation

Takeda Pharmaceutical

Softbank KK

Panasonic Corporation

Isuzu Motors Ltd.

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company Inc.

Dentsu Group Inc.

Toshiba Corporation

CVC Asia Pacific Limited

Ricoh Company Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Toshiba Corporation on the separation of its infrastructure business and device business.
  • Advised KKR & Co. Inc. on its acquisition of the entire share capital of Mitsubishi Corp. – UBS Realty Inc., with a valuation of JPY 230bn.
  • Represented Cummins, Inc. in connection with its acquisition of Meritor, Inc., with a valuation of $3.7bn.

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi's market-leading competition and antitrust team is particularly experienced in acting in major domestic merger cases, in addition to managing negotiations with the Japan Fair Trade Commission. Practice head Kozo Kawai bolsters the team with his longstanding experience and strong skills in international trade matters. Other key team members include Madoka Shimada, who is proficient in advising on bid-rigging, leniency applications, and handling large deals in the IT industry. Kojiro Fujii is the name to note for private monopolisations, and cases involving unfair trade practices or abuse of superior bargaining positions. Junko Wakabayashi , Nobuhiro Tanaka, and Kazumaro Kobayashi are other key contacts within the practice.

Practice head(s):

Kozo Kawai

Other key lawyers:

Madoka Shimada; Kojiro Fujii; Junko Wakabayashi; Nobuhiro Tanaka; Kazumaro Kobayashi

Key clients

Nippon Steel Corporation

Toshiba Corporation

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Mitsui Chemical, Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.

JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acted as local counsel to Tenneco in Japan in connection with a JFTC filing, and provided practical advice to expedite the process, which was complicated by the JFTC’s detailed review.
  • Advised Lone Star Funds and provided support for a merger filing analysis, as well as preparing for the filing in Japan.
  • Advised on the merger review of Bain Capital, LP’s acquisition of all of the shares of Evident Corporation, a spin-off subsidiary of Olympus Corporation.

Atsumi & Sakai

The team at Atsumi & Sakai, which is headed by the 'highly qualified' Saori Hanada , handles a vast range of international matters,  including private enforcement in foreign jurisdictions, internal audits, merger control cases, and international cartel cases. Other work the practice undertakes includes risk management advice, investigations by authorities, and advice on vertical restraints. Masayuki Matsuura is a key contact for merger cases, while the 'outstanding' Tatsuo Yamashima is a name to note for cartel investigations. Setsuko Yufu is recommended for her deep knowledge of cartels, bid rigging, and leniency.

Practice head(s):

Saori Hanada

Other key lawyers:

Masayuki Matsuura;Tatsuo Yamashima; Setsuko Yufu


‘The team offers a good coverage of antitrust issues in Japan, able to advise clients on antitrust issues while remaining mindful of other regulatory constraints.’

‘Setsuko Yufu and her team remain for me the go-to people when faced with complex antitrust cases in Japan.’

‘The principal lawyer who really stands out is Saori Hanada – she is highly qualified and a force you want to turn to when the matter becomes really difficult.’

‘Very good, experienced antitrust team. Quick hands-on advice on complex antitrust matters. In particular Tatsuo Yamashima makes the team outstanding.’

‘Both Yufu and Yamashima are very responsive and provide concise and insightful advice.’

‘Atsumi & Sakai has a well-performing competition law team with wide experience in all aspects of competition law. They are very reliable to get the job done.’

‘Our main contact has been Setsuko Yufu who has impressed us not only with her knowledge of the law but also her ability in understanding the business and market realities.’

‘Their advice is always highly practical and helpful for clients – they always advise us the best way to resolve problems.’

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners' competition and antitrust team displays vast knowledge of government investigations, with practice co-heads Tetsuya Nagasawa, Takashi Ishii, and Kagenori Sako possessing extensive experience working within the Japan Fair Trade Commission. The team is proficient in handling merger control mandates, disputes concerning consumer protection and competition, and advice on regulatory compliance.  Yuichi Oda, Kosuke Yoshimura and Mizuki Kanno are noted for their broad expertise in assisting clients with cartel cases.

Practice head(s):

Tetsuya Nagasawa; Takashi Ishii; Kagenori Sako

Other key lawyers:

Yuichi Oda; Kosuke Yoshimura; Mizuki Kanno

TMI Associates

TMI Associates is commended for its ability to provide on cases involving cartel investigations, cross-border matters, merger notifications, and joint ventures. The team of 'thoughtful, good communicators' is jointly headed from Tokyo by Harumichi Uchida, Yohsuke Higuchi, Koichiro Hanamoto, Yukio Kaiju, Daigo Fujii, and Kentaro Toda, who collectively have broad in advising on dealings with the Japan Fair Trade Commission, M&A transactions, and cartels. Recent work has seen the team advise in an international arbitration case involving EU competition law, in addition to the submission of notifications to domestic and foreign competition authorities.

Practice head(s):

Harumichi Uchida; Yohsuke Higuchi; Koichiro Hanamoto; Yukio Kaiju; Daigo Fujii; Kentaro Toda


‘They are very knowledgeable of clients and their business, not only from legal perspective but in a business sense, and provide very client-oriented advice and other legal services.’

‘The team has sufficient capabilities to work on anti-trust practice issues working with overseas lawyers as needed. ’

‘The team can handle difficult issues and will try to figure out the best outcome.’

‘The team is very well-versed in international competition disputes in which Japanese companies must cope with the antitrust laws of other jurisdictions or in which non-Japanese companies must cope with the competition laws of Japan. TMI are excellent partners for such matters.’

‘The TMI team are thoughtful, good communicators and very client friendly. They are knowledgeable about competition law and sophisticated about Japanese business practices. It is a pleasure to work with them.’

Key clients

Keihin Corporation

DENSO Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Denka and SCG Chemicals Public Company Limited on forming a joint venture for acetylene black.
  • Represented Ricoh Company, Ltd. in the lawsuit for infringement of patent and design rights against refills of toner cartridges.
  • Advised Murata in relation to competition law issues in relation to forming a joint venture with their competitors.

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners' practice is particularly skilled in advising on mergers and violations of the Subcontract Act and Unjustifiable Premiums Act, with practice c0-head Yoshihiro Sakano regularly representing clients before the Japan Fair Trade Commission. Fellow co-head Teruhisa Ishii is adept at advising both domestic and international clients on the competition and antitrust aspects of M&A.

Practice head(s):

Teruhisa Ishii; Yoshihiro Sakano


‘There are many attorneys in this firm who are friendly and willing to give advice. We were able to receive helpful advice on antitrust law and corporate law issues relating to business consolidation. Even if you are not familiar with the law, they will explain it in easy-to-understand terms. Also, you can get an answer immediately.’

Key clients

Riken Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Riken Corporation on a share transfer with NIPPON PISTON RING CO., LTD.

Miura & Partners

The group at Miura & Partners has expansive experience in an array of competition matters, including merger control filings, investigations by the Japan Fair Trade Commission, and global competition law compliance. Practice head Masayuki Atsumi is particularly well-versed in cross-border mandates involving the US Federal Trade Commission. Associate Haruka Otaki is a key contact for antitrust cases involving Chinese law.

Practice head(s):

Masayuki Atsumi

Other key lawyers:

Haruka Otaki

Key clients

Recruit Holdings

Toyota Motor Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Recruit Holdings, a domestic digital platform in Japan, on antitrust compliance issues.
  • Advised Toyota on antitrust compliance issues relating to a joint venture called CJPT, for the joint development of CASE technology.