Leading Individuals: Gaiben

Banking and finance: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune assists investment and commercial banks, private equity funds, and major corporations on a broad spectrum of acquisition finance transactions. The 50 partner team brings signficant breadth and depth of experience, with key individuals including Hiroaki Takahashi, who has expertise in structured finance, Satoshi Inoue, who covers leveraged finance and private equity, and Mari Itoh, who handles corporate transactions. Minoru Kobayashi, Takashi Akahane and Norifumi Takeuchi are also noted.


‘AMT is one of our “go to” firms in Japan for banking and regulatory matters.’

‘The lawyers there are always reliable and responsive.’

‘Work product quality is as high as that of other local top offices.’

‘Anderson Mori & Tomotsune has become our clear “go to” firm for Japanese legal advice. This is because they have made it a focus to provide practical guidance in a market that has a reputation for impracticality.’

‘AMT’s technical expertise is excellent.’

‘Their client service is top notch, and they can advise on Japanese legal matters with an international perspective.’

Work highlights

  • Advising Apollo Global Management on its acquisition of the aluminium can and aluminium rolling businesses from Showa Denko.

Atsumi & Sakai

Atsumi & Sakai‘s strong ties with its overseas offices yield a strong cross-border practice, with high value international matters across project finance, acquisition finance, real estate finance and financial regulatory services. The department also has expertise in general banking work, including syndicated loans, asset finance, and securitisations. The team, which includes 53 partners, is co-led by financing specialists Yuri Suzuki, Michiaki Hosoi and Keita Imaizumi, asset-based lending expert Hiroyuki Nezu, Naoki Kanehisa, who heads the London office, and founding partner Hiroo Atsumi. Also key are structured finance expert Yutaka Sakai and Akira Shimazaki, who was promoted to partner in January 2021.

Other key lawyers:

Yutaka Sakai; Akira Shimazaki

Key clients

Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Financial Services Agency (FSA)

Work highlights

  • Commissioned by the Financial Services Agency to conduct research and prepare a report on the use, cases, and laws and regulations relating stablecoins in the United States

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

‘Reliable top-tier choiceMori Hamada & Matsumoto advises leading financial institutions and major investors on the full range of financing transactions, with expertise in corporate loans, structured finance, real estate finance, and mezzanine finance. This is supplemented by significant experience in financial services regulation. Lead partner Masanori Sato has expertise in structured finance, capital markets, and real estate. Hiroki Aoyama covers syndicated loans, LBOs, and project finance, while Takahiro Kobayashi advises on securitisation, with a specialism in the energy sector. Also key are Yusuke Suehiro and Kei Shirakawa, who cover a broad range of financing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Masanori Sato


‘The firm is a reliable top-tier choice for its many international and domestic clients.’

‘It has a close relationship with other leading law firms in relevant jurisdictions, taking advantage of its overseas offices and strong global network with international law firms.’

‘Masanori Sato is extremely experienced and understands how to deal with complicated issues. Hiroki Aoyama is proactive and knowledgeable.’

Work highlights

  • Advised Invesco on the first case of TOB Finance for J-REIT.
  • Represented Mizuho Bank and participating financial institutions for a project financing transaction for 112 MW Woody Biomass Combustion Power Plant.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu has expertise in loans and credit-related transactions, including syndicated loans, non-recourse loans, and derivatives, as well as significant strengths across acquisition finance, real estate finance, and regulatory work. The department also covers securitization projects, insolvency and bankruptcy advice. Fumihide Sugimoto, who specialises in debt, equity, and other securities, leads the team, which includes real estate financing expert Mami Ikebukuro, and Jiro Mikami, who covers acquisition finance. Also key are Hiromi Hattori, whose experience includes M&A and banking transactions, and Hironori Matsuo, whose experience includes acquisition finance and foreign trade finance.

Practice head(s):

Fumihide Sugimoto

Other key lawyers:

Mami Ikebukuro; Jiro Mikami; Hironori Matsuo; Hiromi Hattori

Key clients

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

Mizuho Financial Group, Inc.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Inc.

Shinsei Bank, Limited

Goldman Sachs

Morgan Stanley

Nomura Securities Co., Ltd.

Daiwa Securities

JP Morgan

Development Bank of Japan

Work highlights

  • Advised Renesas Electronics Corporation on acquisition of Dialog Semiconductor.
  • Advised IA Partners Inc. on license application for investment advisory business.
  • Advised Kenedix Inc. and Kenedix Investment Partners, Inc. on acquisition of W Osaka.

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi‘s large team assists banks and financial institutions with a wide range of high value domestic and cross-border transactions. The department is particularly active on asset finance, acquisition financing, and financial regulations. Department head Katsu Sengoku is an asset finance specialist, particularly ship and aircraft finance, with additional expertise in structured finance. Gaiben lawyer Adrian Joyce, who joined from Norton Rose Fulbright in 2020, advises on complex cross-border matters, while Hideo Horikoshi covers acquisition finance, project finance, and syndicated lending. Acquisition finance expert Takashi Saito is another key name within the department.

Practice head(s):

Katsu Sengoku

Work highlights

  • Advised Rakuten and KKR on the LBO financing for the acquisition of Seiyu Co., Ltd. from Walmart Inc., in which KKR acquired a 65% stake in Seiyu, Rakuten acquired a 20% stake, and Walmart retained a 15% stake in Seiyu.
  • Advised ENEOS Holdings on the going-private transaction of its listed subsidiary, Nippo Corporation, by an acquisition vehicle jointly held by ENEOS Holdings and subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
  • Advised Advantage Partners and Tokyo Century Corporation on the financing for the acquisition of shares in Energywith Co., Ltd., which in turn was acquiring the energy storage devices and systems business of Showa Denko Materials Co., Ltd.

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners advise domestic and international trusts, banks, and securities companies on regulatory issues and transactions, with strength in structured finance related to real estate. Junko Hirakawa, who has significant experience in the practice area, leads the team. Masamichi Sakamoto is particularly active in real estate finance, asset finance, and financial regulation, while Gen Takizawa covers ECA finance, securitisation, derivatives, and trust transactions. Reiko Yoshida, who joined from Atsumi & Sakai in 2021, has significant expertise on ship financing.

Practice head(s):

Junko Hirakawa

Other key lawyers:

Masamichi Sakamoto; Gen Takizawa; Reiko Yoshida


‘City-Yuwa Partners provide appropriate and flexible legal advices in order to understand laws from every legal aspect.’

‘Their unique and valuable legal services have significantly contributed to our bank’s effective consideration and judgement of every financing transaction from the viewpoints both of our credit control, banking/financing business promotion and our banking operation.’

‘City-Yuwa Partners is significantly and remarkably superior in terms of understanding our banking and financing business policy and background originated outside of Japan. Such unique and valuable legal services based on their team’s global sensitivity has remarkably contributed to expanding our financing business as foreign bank into Japan.’

‘City-Yuwa Partners have continuously encourage their team to study in overseas law schools and/or engage in overseas law firms, domestic government office, commercial / investment banks and etc., their team can certainly expand and deepen the areas of financing business in which the team is able to provide effective legal services.’

‘The stand-out City-Yuwa Partner, Mr. Sakamoto’s strong, efficient and gentle leadership has significantly contributed to improving capability, experience and knowledge of his  City-Yuwa Partners’ and associates’.

TMI Associates

TMI Associates acts on a broad range of high value and complex matters, including corporate finance, structured finance, project finance, REITs, and derivative transactions, with particular expertise in the real estate sector. Team head Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi is a banking and capital markets expert, and is particularly well known for energy work. Other key names are Hideaki Kurauchi, who specialises in high value real estate work, Haruo Narimoto, who has expertise in structured finance and securitization, and Junji Shiraki, whose practice includes a wide array of finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi


‘TMI always offer us an excellent service, in availability, in understanding of our needs, and in the quality of services provided, in addition to having a strong worldwide presence.’

‘Mr. Takenobu Imaeda is an outstanding leader in the firm. He has wide network both in and outside of the firm, which helps to solve issues easily.’

Work highlights

  • Advised Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, a lender to a specified purpose company, on the deal in which a Singapore REIT solely sponsored by a Japanese company incorporated real estate located in Japan into its portfolio.
  • Advised Japan Finance Corporation regarding the implementation of cross-border loans to Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Kaynex Law Offices

Kaynex Law Offices, which was established in 2016, has expertise across securitisations, private fund formation, and structured finance. The department is led by the highly experienced Norifusa Hashimoto, whose broad practice includes structured finance, general securities and asset securitisations. Associate Yuta Nakao is a name to watch.

Practice head(s):

Norifusa Hashimoto

Other key lawyers:

Yuta Nakao

Key clients

Kiraboshi Bank

Ryukyu Capital

Meldia Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Acting for Tokyo Star Bank on a securitisation transaction of trucks.

Tsubame Law Offices

Tsubame Law Offices covers structured finace transactions and syndicated loans, and has particular strength in real estate financing. The department is co-led by Yasuko Tsuchihashi, Atsuko Kissho, Takumi Fukuda, and Yasuhiro Shimada, all of whom joined from Atsumi & Sakai in May 2021.

Practice head(s):

Yasuko Tsuchihashi; Atsuko Kissho; Takumi Fukuda; Yasuhiro Shimada


‘The Tsubame team was a pleasure to work with, and provided efficient, skilled counsel on a complex lending transaction dealing with cross-border conflict of laws issues and regulatory compliance in a new market for the mutual client. They were highly responsive.’

‘Takumi Fukuda was the consummate professional, providing prompt and insightful comments and excellent attention to minute details in our complex cross-border transaction.’

‘This Team is highly knowledgeable and efficient.’