Antitrust and competition: International firms and joint ventures in Japan
Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)'s antitrust team routinely advise on matters involving many different jurisdictions, including across North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region, among others. Led by Akira Inoue and Junya Ae, the group covers cartel, internal investigations, merger control, antitrust issues arising from intellectual property transactions, compliance, dawn raids, and criminal proceedings. Also notable are European antitrust law expert Kurt Haegeman who acts as a foreign legal consultant, and senior associate Michio Suzuki.
Akira Inoue; Junya Ae
‘Dr Akira Inoue is better than a team of five lawyers. His advice is based on sound experience of actual cases and insights into the real business arena. In Japan, no one matches him.’
‘Baker McKenzie’s antitrust team works hand-in-hand with its M&A team and has a solid understanding of its clients’ M&A structure.’
‘Dr Akira Inoue has a lot of experience and knowledge about DOJ investigations.’
‘Junya Ae has great expertise when it comes to establishing effective communication strategies with the authorities, which is always an important factor in managing complex antitrust cases.’
Kinugawa Rubber Co. Ltd
Okaya Electric Industries Co., Ltd.
Japan Bearing Industry Association
MUFG Bank, Ltd.
Sumitomo Corporation Americas
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
- Baker McKenzie represented Okaya Electric Industries Co., Ltd. in global cartel investigations for capacitor products following damage claims arising in Canada and the US, including class actions filed respectively by the direct purchaser plaintiffs and the indirect purchaser plaintiffs.
- Baker McKenzie continues to advise Pioneer Corporation, who is one of the leading consumer electronics manufacturers based in Japan and has been investigated by the European Commission over suspected vertical restrictions, including restrictions on internet sales and resale price maintenance issues.
Kei Amemiya's antitrust offering at Morrison & Foerster LLP advises its enviable client roster on a wide range of antitrust matters, including merger reviews as well as cartel, monopolisation, unfair trade practices, and administrative fine cases. In recent highlights, the team has been acting for SoftBank in connection with the antitrust issues arising from its creation of a joint venture with Toyota Motor aimed at providing mobility services using autonomous vehicles. Other key names include investigations expert Kazuyasu Yoneyama and Rony Gerrits, who shares his time between the Brussels and Tokyo offices. Daiske Yoshida recently joined the firm from Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise, while of counsel Tomohiko Kimura arrived from Yabuki Law Offices.
‘The team is able to operate globally, with members of the practice group having fluency to operate not only in their home jurisdictions, but others as well. The team is very tenacious in developing the best arguments for the client.’
‘If a project is related to multiple countries, it is easy for Morrison & Foerster to quickly organize a team that can respond globally.’
‘The team is very international, and very focused on client service. Clients really appreciate the excellent work of Rony Gerrits.’
‘Kei Amemiya always raises, advises and reports at the right time.’
‘Morrison & Foerster is known for its excellent communication skills with clients and its ability to plan strategically.’
Renesas Electronics Corp.
Gilead Sciences Inc.
- The firm represented Gilead Sciences K.K. with respect to its acquisition of the anti-HIV drug business of Japan Tobacco and Torii Pharmaceutical.
- The firm represented Renesas Electronics Corporation in its $6.7bn acquisition of Integrated Device Technology, an analog mixed-signal company based in California.
- Morrison & Foerster is representing SoftBank in connection with the creation of a joint venture, MONET Technologies Corporation, with Toyota Motor.
White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) advises clients, including Maruyasu Industries and Kato Kagaku, on high-profile and crucial antitrust matters both within and outside of Japan. The Tokyo team is jointly led by Toshio Dokei and senior counsel Arthur Mitchell and was recently bolstered by the promotion to counsel of Takako Onoki, who regularly advises PhRMA Japan’s distribution committee and provides antitrust compliance training. Special advisor Hideo Nakajima is also a key name to note in Tokyo. Counsel Seiji Niwa relocated to the New York office.
Toshio Dokei; Arthur Mitchell
‘The team provides a unique opportunity to learn about real cases in other industries regarding antitrust.’
‘Takako Onoki provides very clear comments and judgement on matters of crucial importance.’
Kato Kagaku Co., Ltd.
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan
- White & Case continues to represent Maruyasu Industries in investigations by competition authorities, including the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice into issues relating to alleged price-fixing and market allocation of multiple automotive parts, and multiple follow-on civil actions in the US and Canada.
- White & Case is representing Kato Kagaku, a Japanese company engaged in the manufacture and sale of corn starch, in a JFTC investigation into an alleged cartel in the corn starch industry.
- White & Case is advising PhRMA, a trade association representing companies in the pharmaceutical industry that advocates for public policies that encourage the discovery of new medicines for patients by companies engaged in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical research.
- White & Case is advising Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on the report and compliance training materials regarding US and EU cartel investigation and litigation for Japanese companies.
Jones Day represents both large companies and small innovative companies in a wide variety of industries ranging from manufacturers to service providers, including automobile manufacturers, chip manufacturers, telecommunication companies, distributors, and retailers. Hiromitsu Miyakawa's team is especially strong in the field of global investigations where he has substantial experience with the JFTC and many other international regulatory bodies. Of counsel Yuki Yoshida is also a key name to note; he advises on the antitrust issues arising from large-scale corporate transactions and new technologies such as blockchain.
Other key lawyers:
Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited
- Jones Day is assisting Daiichi Sankyo with the merger filing required in relation to the dissolution of Japan Vaccine Co., Ltd., a joint venture company between Daiichi Sankyo and GlaxoSmithKline.
- Jones Day is representing Hitachi in its acquisition of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation’s particle-beam radiation therapy equipment business.
Herbert Smith Freehills
The antitrust team at Herbert Smith Freehills is dedicated to its Japanese client roster which includes enviable names including SoftBank, Mitsui, Sumitomo and Panasonic. Leveraging its multi-jurisdictional expertise, the group regularly advises on cross-border merger filings and related issues including foreign direct investment regulations. Graeme Preston is the main name to note in Tokyo; he works closely with colleagues across the firm's Brussels, Hong Kong, London, and US offices, as well as the other teams within the Tokyo office.
‘The team consists of true specialists in competition law and provides clients with invaluable guidance on EU competition rules and procedures. In addition, they have close communications with other teams within Herbert Smith Freehills to tackle complex issues.’
‘The team works seamlessly, responses are quick, and advice is clear.’
JERA Co Inc
- Advised Japan Pulp & Paper on multi-jurisdictional competition analysis and merger control filing work in Singapore in relation to its acquisition of Spicers Limited in Singapore and Malaysia.
- The group advised Axiata Digital Advertising in relation to the investment by Sumitomo Corporation in Axiata Digital Advertising Sdn. Bhd. and assisted with the post-completion merger filing in Indonesia.
- Advising ITOCHU Corporation on the merger control aspects of the proposed sale of its indirect 50% shareholding in Japan Alumina Associates (JAA).
- The firm advised Marubeni on a multi-jurisdictional analysis and advised on the Chilean merger control filing in relation to its acquisition of a 100% stake of GasValpo SpA.
- Advised Panasonic Corporation on the preliminary merger filing analysis in relation to its joint venture with Honda Motor Co.
Ropes & Gray LLP
Ropes & Gray LLP's Kaede Toh has substantial experience in the anti-corruption and corporate scandal space, including dispute resolution in the context of allegations of anti-competitive practices. Toh's practice focuses on the representation of leading global and Japanese corporates and executives in significant contentious matters with a Japan component.
- Secured a victory on behalf of Taitsu Corporation and its US subsidiary in an investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division of the US DOJ, in coordination with a number of global regulatory agencies.
Shearman & Sterling
Shearman & Sterling's Japan-based antitrust team provides US and EU competition services to Japanese corporate clients and financial institutions with Toshiro Mochizuki and counsel Kana Morimura key names to note. The group is especially strong in the context of international investigations and dispute resolution, but also advises on antitrust issues arising from high-profile corporate transactions. Also of note, Masahisa Ikeda sits as the firm’s Asia regional managing partner and is head of the Tokyo office.
Masahisa Ikeda; Kana Morimura
Clifford Chance Law Office advises its impressive corporate client roster on merger filings in Asia, Europe, and the US as part of its global network. In Tokyo, counsel Masafumi Shikakura advises on gun-jumping regulations and information exchange issues with the support of Peter Coney who spearheads the dispute resolution offering in Japan and represents clients in internal or regulatory investigations and contentious antitrust matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Clifford Chance team is very commercially oriented and practical.’
‘The antitrust attorneys at Clifford Chances are very professional, personable and knowledgable.’
Mitsui & Co., Principal Investments Ltd.
- Advised Fujitsu on the merger clearance aspects of a sale of shares in one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Fujitsu Client Computing Limited. Fujitsu sold a 51% stake to Lenovo Group Limited and a 5% stake to the Development Bank of Japan Inc.
- Advised Mitsui & Co., Principal Investment Ltd., an investment business subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and private equity firm L Catterton Asia, the Asian unit of L Catterton, on their joint acquisition of a stake in OWNDAYS Inc., which is an innovative eyewear company, and the associated merger clearance obligations.
- Advised SABIC on the Japanese merger filing regarding its acquisition of 24.99% of shares in Clariant AG, a Swiss public company active in the production and worldwide distribution of speciality chemicals.
Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise's multi-jurisdictional team includes corporate partner Nozomi Oda, who acted for Daiichi Sankyo in its $6.9bn global development and commercialisation agreement with AstraZeneca for Daiichi Sankyo’s lead antibody-drug conjugate. Also notable in the team are associates Junyeon Park and Takaki Sato.