Leading Individuals: Gaiben

Next Generation Partners: Bengoshi

Antitrust and competition: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

With ‘exceptional expertise in Japanese antitrust, competition, IP, and commercial litigation’, Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) is highly rated as one of the best law firms regarding antitrust cases’. Leveraging the firm’s global network, the group frequently acts on cross-border antitrust and competition matters for large multinational companies. The practice stands out for its wealth of experience in handling a wide range of matters, including multi-jurisdictional cartel cases, antitrust investigations, merger controls and compliance issues. The practice’s leadership is split between cartel and merger control expert Junya Ae and ‘excellent antitrust lawyer’ Akira Inoue, who is client oriented and has in-depth understanding of not only legal matters but also the business aspects of transactions’. Michio Suzuki is a key contact for competition law compliance and cartel investigations. At the senior associate level, Hiroaki Nagahashi and Ryo Yamaguchi are names to note.

Practice head(s):

Junya Ae; Akira Inoue

Other key lawyers:

Michio Suzuki; Hiroaki Nagahashi; Ryo Yamaguchi


‘Akira Inoue is an excellent antitrust lawyer with high responsiveness. He understands very complex cases and is aware of local legal requirements in different countries.’

‘The Baker team in Tokyo possesses exceptional expertise in Japanese antitrust, competition, IP, and commercial litigation. My company regularly relies on their advice and guidance to navigate complex issues involving regulatory compliance across multiple subject matter areas.’

‘Akira Inoue is our primary point of contact at Baker in Tokyo. He has expertise in antitrust issues, especially those related to IP matters, including patent licensing. Our company has benefitted greatly from his knowledge and expertise.’

Key clients

Sumitomo Corporation

MUFG Bank, Ltd

FUJIFILM Corporation

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation


Accenture PLC

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group

Hitachi Ltd

Sojitz Corporation

Toyota Tsusho Corporation

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC)

Yazaki Corporation

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd

Japan Industrial Partners Corporation

Marubeni-Itochu Steel Inc

Japan Bearing Industry Association

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT)

NHK Spring Co. Ltd

Sanden Corporation

KYB Corporation

JERA Co., Inc

Okaya Electric Industries Co., Ltd

Bridgestone Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represented NHK Spring and its subsidiaries in relation to the global cartel investigations for the disk suspension used for hard disk drive in the US, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Brazil and Taiwan.
  • Assisted Sika International AG with the merger control aspects of the $6bn transaction where it will acquire MBCC Group, including merger filings in more than 20 jurisdictions including Japan, US, EU, and China.
  • Advised Ube Corporation on the merger control aspects of the approximately $3.3bn transaction where Ube and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation integrate their cement businesses.

Morrison Foerster

Morrison Foerster is sought after by leading domestic and international companies operating in a wide range of industries, including tech, automotive, transportation, pharmaceuticals, and logistics, to handle complex high-profile antitrust and competition matters. The group is regularly instructed on merger control fillings, administrative proceedings before competition authorities in Japan and abroad, regulatory investigations, and high-stakes litigation, including cases before the Supreme Court of Japan. Rony Gerrits, who focuses on global cartel cases and follow-on civil litigation, heads up the team. Merger control matters and investigations are the area of expertise of Tomohiko Kimura while Chie Yakura and Daiske Yoshida are recommended for cross-border litigation. Other key names are litigator Andrew Meyer and Takahiro Nonaka, who is a key contact for FCPA compliance and internal investigations.

Practice head(s):

Rony Gerrits

Other key lawyers:

Chie Yakura; Tomohiko Kimura; Daiske Yoshida; Takahiro Nonaka; Andrew Meyer


‘Excellent responsiveness, strong global coverage, takes the time to understand the client and their needs and adjust its offering accordingly.’

Key clients

Renesas Electronics Corp

Toshiba Corporation


Santen Pharmaceutical


ON Semiconductor

White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association)

Noted for its ‘close relationship’ and ‘intimate knowledge of government authorities, especially the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC)’, White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association)’s Tokyo team is uniquely placed to assist leading domestic and foreign corporations with regulatory matters, administrative fines, investigations, and unfair trading practices. The group is regularly instructed on large cross-border M&A by well-known names such as Panasonic Corporation, PayPal Holdings, and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Toshio Dokei, who has extensive experience in representing clients in cartel, abuse of superior bargaining power and resale price maintenance claims, leads the practice. Also noted are counsel Takako Onoki, who is recommended for antitrust investigations and litigation, and Hideo Nakajima, a former secretary general of the JFTC.

Practice head(s):

Toshiro Dokei

Other key lawyers:

Takako Onoki; Hideo Nakajima


‘White & Case has the most trusted and client-friendly antitrust team. The firm has a close relationship with Japan’s key stakeholders including the Japan Fair Trade Commission, which makes it well informed about regulatory changes in Japan.’ 

‘Takako Onoki is an outstanding lawyer, who has plenty of experience in Japanese and global antitrust practices. Her effort to keep a close engagement with key stakeholders in Japan’s competition circles via various channels enhances her qualification as such a lawyer.’

‘Our antitrust and competition needs cut across many countries, Taiwan, US, Germany, China, Korea and Japan. The team was able to quickly respond to our needs. I am satisfied with the  team’s friendly attitude and support.’

‘Quick replies and the implementation of appropriate measures to the satisfaction of its clients’

‘Takako Onoki provides us strategic advice for antitrust and competition cases. She provides additional helpful suggestions when needed.’

‘Strong internal and external communication covering all over the world, which is splendid in assisting our business.’

‘Knowledge, experience and communication on antitrust issues are  great.’

‘Very intimate knowledge of the governmental authorities, especially the JFTC.’

Key clients

Panasonic Corporation

DIC Corporation



Maruyasu Industries Co., Ltd

PayPal Holdings, Inc

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Smiths Group Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Panasonic Corporation on its acquisition of the remaining 80% of the capital stock interests of Blue Yonder, at a value of $8.5bn on a cash-free debt-free basis.
  • Acted for PayPal Holdings, Inc on its acquisition of Paidy Inc., a leading two-sided payments platform and provider of buy now and pay later solutions in Japan, for a value of ¥300bn.
  • Advised Mitsubishi Electric Corporation on its acquisition of Motum AB from Accent Equity 2012 LP.

Jones Day

Jones Day‘s Tokyo office is retained by both large and small innovative companies from a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, automotive, telecom and retail, to advise on complex antitrust and competition law matters. In addition to its track record in cartel investigations and administrative proceedings before government bodies, such as the EU commission and the US Department of Justice, the practice offers advice on strategic litigation, large-scale M&A, joint ventures, distribution agreements and patent licensing. Hiromitsu Miyakawa oversees the group and is a key contact for government investigations, M&A and FCPA compliance matters. Miyakawa is supported by Chizuru Yoshida.

Practice head(s):

Hiromitsu Miyakawa

Other key lawyers:

Chizuru Yoshida

Key clients

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd

PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited (PTTGC) on its merger control and FDI control in connection with the acquisition of allnex Holding GmbH from Advent International for approximately €4bn.

Clifford Chance

Operating as part of a fully integrated global practice with antitrust and competition specialist lawyers spread across the US, Europe and the Asia Pacific region, Clifford Chance‘s Tokyo team is noted for its ‘broad experience in local and global antitrust matters’, which spans both transactional, regulatory and contentious work. As part of its offering, the group covers merger control filings, cartel investigations, antitrust litigation, sector inquiries and misuse of market power matters. The team is led by counsel Masafumi Shikakura, who has extensive expertise in anti-monopoly and EU competition law.

Practice head(s):

Masafumi Shikakura


‘Broad experience in local and global antitrust matters.’

‘Masafumi Shikakura is always very responsive and delivers excellent advice whether in Japanese or English. His written English truly stands out from other Bengoshis I have worked with.’

‘Global practice and expertise in the area.’

‘Masafumi Shikakura is quite responsive and pays closely attention to our needs.’

Key clients

Mitsui & Co., Ltd

CVC Capital Partners

Japan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC)

Sinochem Group Co., Ltd

China National Chemical Corporation Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Mitsui & Co Ltd on the acquisition of ISI Sementi, an Italian company active in the field of research, production and marketing of vegetable seeds.
  • Acted for CVC on multijurisdictional merger filings for its $1.5bn joint venture with Shiseido in the personal care business.
  • Assisted Sinochem Group Co., Ltd and China National Chemical Corporation Ltd. (ChemChina) on the two groups’ strategic merger.

Herbert Smith Freehills

At Herbert Smith Freehills, the competition, regulation and trade team houses a number of internationally qualified competition law specialists, who are noted for their wealth of experience in assisting Japanese clients with their outbound antitrust and competition law matters, including multi-jurisdictional merger control, investigations and litigation. The cross-border Tokyo practice’s leadership is split between Tokyo-based senior associate Joel Rheuben, who is fluent in Japanese and specialised in EU and UK competition law; cartel and merger control expert Kyriakos Fountoukakos in Brussels; and Adelaide Luke, who has extensive expertise in joint ventures and regulatory investigation and is recommended for matters related to the merger control regime in China.

Practice head(s):

Joel Rheuben; Kyriakos Fountoukakos; Adelaide Luke


‘Lawyers at Herbert Smith are all capable and experienced in specific industries such as mining and energy. Good communicators. Billing is reasonable.’

‘The team members are really efficient and have sufficient knowledge of the industry.’

‘Kyriakos Fountoukakos is a stand out partner at the team with great expertise in competition law.’

Key clients

Sumitomo Corporation

Mitsubishi Corporation

Sojitz Corporation

ITOCHU Corporation

Furukawa Electric

Panasonic Corporation


Sumitomo Metal Mining


Asahi Kasei Homes

Toyota Tsusho

Bridgestone Corporation

Nachi Fujikoshi

Hitachi Construction Machinery

Kansai Electric

Work highlights

  • Advised Bridgestone Corporation on the competition aspects of its acquisition, through a competitive process, of Otraco International Pty Ltd, an Australian company engaged in the automotive sector, specifically mining vehicles.
  • Acted for Sumitomo Corporation on the merger control aspects of a number of transactions.
  • Assisted a major Asian state-owned oil and gas company on merger filings in relation to its proposed joint venture with Japanese companies.

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling‘s Tokyo office works in collaboration with the US and Europe teams to assist leading Japanese corporates and financial institutions with complex US and EU antitrust matters, from merger control filings and joint ventures to class actions and cartel investigations. Masahisa Ikeda has extensive experience in representing clients in government investigations and before the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Anti-corruption matters, economic sanctions and compliance projects are the area of expertise of Toshiro Mochizuki while Kana Morimura focuses on corporate matters and antitrust disputes.

Practice head(s):

Masahisa Ikeda; Toshiro Mochizuki; Kana Morimura