Banking and finance: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune represents clients ranging from leading investment and commercial banks, to private equity funds and governmental agencies, as well as acting for institutional investors from the US, Europe, and Asia. The firm’s banking practice is experienced in conventional bank lending, syndicated structured financings, and regulatory advice, with particular expertise in regulatory advice. Notable in the team is Hiroaki Takahashi, who is known for structured finance work, including securitisation of various assets, real estate investment, project finance, and PPP/PFI, and Takahashi Akahane, whose practice covers project finance, private finance initiatives, and financial transactions.

Testimonials

‘Expertise in securitization transactions’

‘Isao Shindo always gives appropriate legal advice’

Work highlights

  • Represented five banks extending project finance facilities of 121.6MW for the largest ever wind power generation in the Tohoku area managed by Pattern Energy Group Inc. and Green Power Investment Corporation.

Atsumi & Sakai

Specialising in fintech, Atsumi & Sakai has experience in syndicated loan and structured finance, as well as the niche area of environmental financing. The firm also maintains a good relationship with overseas regulators. The practice is co-led by founding partner Hiroo Atsumi; asset-based lending expert Hiroyuki Nezu; Yuri Suzuki, who has particular experience in syndicated loans, asset finance and financial services regulations; project financing specialist Michiaki Hosoi; Keita Imaizumi, who is actively involved in project financing related to renewable energy; and Naoki Kanehisa, who is known for assisting UK and European clients to set up businesses in Japan. Also notable in the team are Fumiko Oikawa and Ryosuke Oue.

Practice head(s):

Hiroo Atsumi; Hiroyuki Nezu; Yuri Suzuki; Michiaki Hosoi; Keita Imaizumi; Naoki Kanehisa

Other key lawyers:

Fumiko Oikawa; Ryosuke Oue

Testimonials

‘Impressive array of Japanese bank clients and impressive in their attention to detail’

‘Politeness and responsiveness’

Key clients

Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG)

The Japan Blockchain Association (JBA)

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG)

Work highlights

  • As legal advisors of the JBA, regularly participating in meetings and talks with various institutions and organizations and providing comprehensive advice and support to the JBA and its members including cryptocurrency exchange service providers on their crypto businesses.
  • MUFG, the largest financial group in Japan, has developed a Digital Accelerator Program to create innovation within financial services technologies. Yuri Suzuki assists MUFG making all the efforts in this program to provide legal and regulatory advice to the participants, and more, supporting the process of business launch in all aspects to roll out innovative businesses.
  • TMG has developed a fintech accelerator program to create innovation within financial services technologies and invite overseas fintech companies to Tokyo. Yuri Suzuki assists TMG making all the efforts in this program to provide legal and regulatory advice to the participants. As one of the mentors from entrepreneurial experts to industry professionals, she supports brushing up business plans of multinational participants.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Banking and financing regulation specialist Mori Hamada & Matsumoto advises leading financial institutions and major investors on a range of Japanese and cross-border financing transactions. The firm has particular experience in innovative and new financing structures. Masanori Sato leads the team and has expertise in the fields of banking, structured finance, real estate, and capital markets. His team includes Takahiro Kobayashi, who is known for work in the energy sector, advising on a range of energy-related transactions and financings. Also notable is Yusuke Suehiro, who focuses on banking, structured financing, project financing, and LBO financing.

Practice head(s):

Masanori Sato

Other key lawyers:

Takahiro Kobayashi; Yusuke Suehiro

Key clients

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd.

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited.

Prudential Mortgage Capital Company

SOFTBANK CORP.

GE Japan Corporation

AOZORA Bank, Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Establishment of an infrastructure fund for Enex Infrastructure Investment Corporation, and Enex Asset Management Co., Ltd. to invest in renewable energy generation plants, the acquisition of five solar power plants and the listing of the fund on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
  • Advised Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Development Bank of Japan Inc., The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. on a coal-powered plant’s construction and project financing transaction in Kobe
  • Advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on a biomass power plant construction and project financing transaction

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu has experience in loans and other credit-related transactions, including syndicated and non-recourse loans, derivatives and foreign trades financing. The firm also provides an active real estate finance practice, as well as expertise in sophisticated securitisation projects. Fumihide Sugimoto leads the banking and finance practice and particularly focuses on capital markets. Notable in his team is finance specialist Jiro Mikami and Mami Ikebukuro, who is known for real estate finance. Hironori Matsuo, Yoshifumi Shimoda, and Tomohiro Okawa were promoted to partner in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Fumihide Sugimoto

Testimonials

‘Very good quality of service’

‘Kensuke Suzuki is one of the best lawyer who covers asset management industry in Japan’

Key clients

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (including MUFG Bank, Ltd., Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd.)

Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. (including Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., Ltd. and Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd.)

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. (including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.)

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Inc. (including Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited)

Shinsei Bank, Limited

Goldman Sachs

Morgan Stanley

Nomura Securities Co., Ltd

Daiwa Securities

JP Morgan

Development Bank of Japan

Work highlights

  • Total refinancing of Kemet Corporation by using the loan proceeds to its wholly owned subsidiary, TOKIN Corporation.
  • Acted for the Bain Capital-led consortium in its acquisition of Toshiba Memory.
  • Acted for Renesas Electronics Corporation in its acquisition of Integrated Device Technology, Inc.
  • Acted for Sumitomo Corporation of America Sumisho Realty Management Co., Ltd. in the formation of a real estate fund for investment in real estate in the United States.
  • Advised Kenedix Inc. (Investor) and Kenedix Investment Partners, Inc. (Asset Manager) in the acquisition of five hotels located in various places in Japan.

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi assists banks and financial institutions with asset financing, acquisition financing, and corporate and syndicated loans. The firm’s asset finance practice advises Japanese leasing companies on a range of transactions, including aircraft and ship financing, container leasing transactions, and plant facilities leasing. The team is notable for advising the financier side as well as the borrower side, for domestic and international private equity funds. Masaru Ono leads the team with Katsu Sengoku, who has experience in asset finance, particularly in the aviation market. They can call on the expertise of Takashi Saito, who specialises in banking transactions, especially acquisition financing.

Practice head(s):

Masaru Ono; Katsu Sengoku

Other key lawyers:

Takashi Saito

Key clients

XTech Corporation

Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

Financial Products Group Co., Ltd./FPG Asset & Investment Management BV (FPG)

Integral Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised XTech in connection with LBO financing for the acquisition (i.e., takeover bid) of Excite Japan Co., Ltd. (the “Target”) from its shareholders, including ITOCHU Corporation and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.
  • Advised a large Japanese bank in connection with the LBO financing to CLSA Capital Partners (“Sponsor”) for the acquisition of Ecolo Holdings’ group companies.
  • Advised TNSC in connection with financing for its acquisition of US company Praxair, Inc.’s European businesses.
  • Acted as Japanese counsel to Takeda in entered into a Subordinated Syndicated Loan Agreement with major Japanese financial institutions for an aggregate principal amount of up to JPY 500 billion in connection with the financing for its acquisition of Shire plc.
  • Advised Integral Corporation in connection with LBO financing from Japanese banks to acquire Bigtree Technology and Consulting Ltd.

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners represents banks, securities firms, and finance companies, advising on regulatory issues and transactions. The practice is particularly strong in structured finance related to real estate and trust schemes, as well as in securitisation of assets. In addition, the firm acts as counsel to foreign banks, funds, and exchange dealers in a range of cross-border matters. Junko Hirakawa leads the team and has expertise in banking, securities, investment, and corporate matters, specialising in international practice and investment. Also notable is Masamichi Sakamoto, who focuses on the areas of banking, investment fund, real estate, and energy, with an emphasis on cross-border transactions.

Practice head(s):

Junko Hirakawa

Other key lawyers:

Masamichi Sakamoto

Testimonials

‘Effective and appropriate legal advice’

‘Unique and valuable legal services’

‘Superiority of international understanding across domestic business culture and overseas business culture’

‘City-Yuwa Partners is significantly and remarkably superior in terms of understanding banking and financing business policy and background originated outside of Japan’

‘Highly-valued capability for effective negotiation and communication’

‘City-Yuwa Partners’ legal service and advice covers every area over Corporate Finance, Project Finance, Structured Finance, DIP Finance, Debt restructuring procedures, Procedures for non-performing loans as well as overall banking operation’

‘Masamichi Sakamoto has great presence in a financial market in Japan’

TMI Associates

TMI Associates specialises in healthcare business and real estate securitisation, advising developers, and general construction companies on development projects and urban redevelopments. The firm’s finance division covers a range of areas, including structured finance, project finance, liquidation, REIT, banking, insurance, and trusts. Banking and capital markets expert Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi leads the practice and can call on Yoshikazu Noma, who is known for banking and finance regulatory as well as dispute resolutions; Mizuki Koshimoto focuses on renewable energy transactions and infrastructure funds. Also notable are Masaki Tsujioka and Hideaki Kurauchi, who were promoted to partner in 2019, and capital markets expert Takashi Yoneda, who joined from Nishimura & Asahi in 2018.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi

Key clients

LaSalle Investment Management

Aozora Bank Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Provided legal advice to LaSalle for the acquisition via a Special Purpose Company, including debt financing of over JPY33bn as a total with senior, mezzanine and junior tranches as well as equity financing. Played major role for structuring and negotiating this debt financing.