Leading Individuals: Gaiben

Next Generation Partners: Bengoshi

Antitrust and competition: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

The antitrust and competition department at Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) is lauded by clients for its ‘exemplary high standards of responsiveness and commercially sound advice‘ and for its ‘consistently very high standards of professionalism‘. The practice is dually headed by Junya Ae and Akira Inoue. Ae, who brings previous experience in competition policy matters, is an expert in cartel and merger control, while Inoue is especially experienced in international cartel cases and general antitrust matters. Other notable names within the ‘extremely knowledgeable‘ team include the former secretary general of the Japan Fair Trade Commission Shuichi Sugahisa, Michio Suzuki for advice on the merger control aspects of M&A transactions, and associates Ryo Yamaguchi and Hiroaki Nagahashi.

Practice head(s):

Junya Ae; Akira Inoue

Other key lawyers:

Shuichi Sugahisa; Michio Suzuki; Ryo Yamaguchi; Hiroaki Nagahashi


‘They provide accurate advice on a wide range of areas.’

‘They can provide seamless services with their own broad global network.’

‘Consistently very high standards of professionalism, responsiveness especially on time sensitive matters, commercially realistic and sound advice.’

Key clients

Sumitomo Corporation

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

FUJIFILM Corporation

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

AGC Inc.

Accenture PLC

Maiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group

Hitachi Ltd.

Sojitz Corporation

Toyota Tsusho Corporation

Nidec Corporation

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

Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised NHK Spring and its subsidiaries in relation to the global cartel investigations for the disk suspension used for hard disk drive in the U.S., Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Brazil and Taiwan.
  • Advised Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. in relation to foreign investment review aspects of the transaction where JIP jointly acquires 26% shares in Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. from Hitachi Ltd. with Itochu Corporation.
  • Advised Sumitomo Corporation / Sojitz Corporation in relation to merger control aspects of Sumitomo / Sojitz’s important M&A/investment projects.

Morrison Foerster

Morrison Foerster‘s highly rated department is experienced in a range of antitrust and competition issues, including complex litigation, regulatory investigations, merger control filings, and administrative procedures before domestic and international competition authorities. Rony Gerrits, commended by clients for being ‘quick with responses’, leads the practice and is the name to note for international cartel investigations and cases at the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property. The team also includes Chie Yakura and Tomohiko Kimura; Yakura is recommended for litigation involving trade secrets, while Kimura is a key contact for clients seeking representation before the Japan Fair Trade Commission. Yuichi Inase and Tomoki Kodama were promoted to partner in January 2022 and January 2023 respectively.

Practice head(s):

Rony Gerrits

Other key lawyers:

Chie Yakura; Tomohiko Kimura; Yuichi Inase; Tomoki Kodama


‘Rony Gerrits. Very quick with responses, and entertaining to work with.’

‘Mofo’s antitrust team in Japan is very strong. They have top notch clients in Japan, and they have vast experience in handling merger filing matters for all their M&A transactions, especially in the internet economy.’

‘Rony Gerrits is the leader of that team. He is very commercial and practical. He can quickly grasp the commercial gist of any transaction and develop the best merger filing strategy for the client.’

Key clients

Renesas Electronics Corp.

Toshiba Corporation


Santen Pharmaceutical


ON Semiconductor

Work highlights

  • Represented Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited in an action for unfair competition, alleged breach of contract, interference with contract, and indemnity brought by Cypress Semiconductor in the California Superior Court for Santa Clara County.
  • Represented global online travel agency Expedia Inc. in connection with an antitrust investigation by the JFTC relating to contracts with lodging operators.

Jones Day

The team at Jones Day is headed up by Hiromitsu Miyakawa, who brings more than 20 years’ experience in antitrust and competition work. The practice offers counsel on cartel prosecutions, government investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance matters, and general compliance advice, to a client base which ranges from manufacturers, telecom companies, retailers, and service providers. Associate Chizuru Yoshida is adept at providing merger filing analysis and antitrust regulatory cases.

Practice head(s):

Hiromitsu Miyakawa

Other key lawyers:

Chizuru Yoshida

Key clients

Jensen-Group NV

Work highlights

  • Represented Jensen-Group NV in its transaction with Miura Co. Limited, including conducting due diligence from an antitrust perspective and analysing the need for merger filings.

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

White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) is particularly commended for its experience with the Japan Fair Trade Commission, with ‘truly astounding‘ team member Hideo Nakajima leveraging his experience as former secretary general. Toshio Dokei leads the Tokyo-based team, which also includes ‘strong competition lawyerTakako Onoki. Dokei frequently advises on cases involving resale price maintenance claims, abuse of superior bargaining power, and cartels, while Onoki is a key name for global merger notifications, antitrust investigations, and related litigation. The practice is experienced at advising domestic and international companies, with clients such as Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.

Practice head(s):

Toshio Dokei

Other key lawyers:

Hideo Nakajima; Takako Onoki


‘The team has a deeper understanding of local competition and they are great at stakeholder mapping, with a strong connection to key stakeholders within that area.’

‘Takako Onoki provides concise and effective advice with her knowledge based on her global and local perspective.’

‘The team has special talent to deliver specific knowledge and experiences related to anti-trust issues in the pharmaceutical industry.’

‘Hideo Nakajima has a truly astounding grasp of the field and is thoughtful in his analysis of issues and concepts. His experience and knowledge of the JFTC is a valuable asset.’

‘Takato Onoki is also a strong competition lawyer at the firm.’

Key clients

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Mitsubishi Electric Corporation on its acquisition of Motum AB from Accent Equity 2012 L.P.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance‘s Tokyo-based antitrust team benefits from the firm’s global network, with clients able to access antitrust advice in Europe, US, and Asia. EU competition law and anti-monopoly expert Masafumi Shikakura leads the team, which is proficient in cartel investigations, merger filings, market investigations and sector inquiries, and cases relating to misuse of market power. Experienced M&A lawyer Natsuko Sugihara regularly works with the team.

Practice head(s):

Masafumi Shikakura

Other key lawyers:

Natsuko Sugihara


‘Masafumi Shikakura has a deep understanding of our business and the industry, and he makes himself and his team available so our needs are served.’

‘They are good at taking initiative to generate internal and external communication which enable satisfying legal services based on clients’ interest.’

‘The team is quite business and client oriented – they truly try to understand our business and the industry, and they try to serve our needs.’

‘Natsuko Sugihara has great team management in supporting cross-border M&A transactions with deep insights on various transactions.’

Masafumi Shikakura is outstanding and has quick performance in global antitrust practices.’

‘Attorneys at Clifford Chance LLP looks good at taking initiative to generate internal and external communication which enable satisfying legal services based on clients’ interest.’

Key clients

Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

ORIX Corporation

China Baowu Group

Daiwa Energy & Infrastructure Co. Ltd

Zodia Custody Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Mitsui & Co., Ltd. on its acquisition of a 28.6% minority stake in Rol-Ryż sp. z o.o., a European pulses and rice distributor and subsidiary of Italian rice company Euricom S.p.A.
  • Advised ORIX Corporation in respect of the merger filing required for their acquisition of DHC Corporation.
  • Advised Zodia Custody Limited on its joint venture with SBI Digital Asset Holdings Co., Ltd. to establish a Japan-based crypto assets custodian.

Herbert Smith Freehills

The competition, regulation, and trade department at Herbert Smith Freehills is jointly led by Brussels-based Kyriakos Fountoukakos, Hong Kong-based Adelaide Luke, and Tokyo-based Joel Rheuben, who was promoted to Of Counsel in May 2023. With a strong international network, the practice is able to advise on cross-border merger control, cartel and regulatory investigations, and outbound antitrust and competition law cases, as well as distribution agreements and joint ventures.

Practice head(s):

Kyriakos Fountoukakos; Adelaide Luke; Joel Rheuben


‘Joel Rheuben leads matters quite well. His responses are always quick and practical. One of the best lawyers in this area.’

‘Their advice is always quite clear and practical, and in particular, not conservative compering with other law firms, which helps us very much.’

‘The entire team over nations works very closely and seamlessly.’

Key clients

Sumitomo Corporation

Mitsubishi Corporation

NEC Software Solutions UK

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

SMBC Aviation Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Sumitomo Corporation on the merger control aspects of a number of transactions.
  • Assisted Mitsubishi Corporation in relation to making an EU filing for Mitsubishi’s joint venture with Mitsubishi HC Capital Inc.
  • Advised NEC Software Solutions UK on the merger control aspects of its completed acquisition of Capita Secure Solutions and Services.

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling‘s antitrust practice is jointly led by Masahisa Ikeda, Toshiro Mochizuki, and Kana Morimura. Ikeda is the name to note for government investigations and securities law, while Mochizuki regularly advises on corporate issues and US antitrust matters. Morimura is skilled at antitrust litigation and compliance matters. The department as a whole is recommended for its regular collaboration with teams in Europe and the US, which enable it to offer advice on US and EU antitrust matters.

Practice head(s):

Masahisa Ikeda; Toshiro Mochizuki; Kana Morimura