Banking and finance: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

The broad practice of Anderson Mori & Tomotsune handles the spectrum of financing and lending transactions, ranging from conventional bank lending to syndicated structured financings and regulatory advice. The firm advises across all stages of the financing lifecycle for leading investment and commercial banks, private equity funds, corporations, governmental and quasi-governmental agencies. As well as expertise in regulatory advice, particular specialisms include the enforcement of remedies, asset finance, and factoring. A stand out feature of the practice is the strength in depth of the 50 partner team, and notable names are structured finance expert Hiroaki Takahashi , who handles project finance, private finance initiatives and financial transactions; corporate transactions specialist Minoru Kobayashi and Norifumi Takeuchi, whose fortes are financial transactions and M&A deals.


‘We work with Anderson Mori on a variety of complex structured products and derivatives matters.’

‘In my experience we find that they have excellent understanding of the regulatory environment in Japan as well outstanding product knowledge. I have also found them to be significantly more commercial and responsive compared with other Japanese law firms we have used in this area.’

‘I mainly work with Isao Shindo (Shindo sensei). He is outstanding. He is able to communicate complicated Japanese law issues in a straightforward way which is easily digestible by partner law firms and clients alike. He is also extremely responsive. His market leading expertise in the area of structured products and derivatives means that Shindo sensei is my go to contact at the firm.’

Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

MUFG Bank, Ltd., The Iyo Bank, Ltd. and The Daisan Bank, Ltd.

Barclays Securities Japan Ltd.

Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on issuance of 4th serised of SMBC Covered Bond, of which was the first ever negative yield issuance of the debts.
  • Advised MUFG Bank, Ltd. on funding for four (4) renewable energy projects sponsored by Pattern Energy Group.
  • Advised consortium of banks on funding for a $ 24.2bn acquisition / refinancing on mega-solar projects sponsored by Sonnedix Japan K.K.

Atsumi & Sakai

Known for expertise in financing transactions and services, Atsumi & Sakai is particularly strong in project finance, fintech, acquisition finance and real estate finance. The practice handles domestic and cross-border syndicated loans, global cash management services and vendor finance, as well as providing advice related to financial services regulation. The deep bench of banking and finance experts is co-led by Hiroo Atsumi , Hiroyuki Nezu , Yuri Suzuki , Michiaki Hosoi, Keita Imaizumi  and Naoki Kanehisa . Other key names in the area include Yutaka Sakai , who advised German developer Photovolt Development Partners GmbH on the financing of a 480 MW photovoltaic power plant in Ukujima; and Ryosuke Oue , who is noted for expertise in banking, finance, asset finance and structured finance.

Other key lawyers:

Yutaka Sakai ; Ryosuke Oue


‘Atsumi & Sakai has a good understanding of International Project Finance transactions, their comments are precise and provided in a timely manner. Several lawyers have experience in working at Banks and Development Finance Institutions and that provides to make their comment more convincing’.

‘Several lawyers have experience in working at Banks and Development Finance Institutions and thus they have a good understanding of Bank’s concerns. That makes their legal advice more accurate and helpful.’

Key clients

Photovolt Development Partners GmbH (PDPG)

Anchor Ship Partners Co., Ltd.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)

Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG)

UIG Asset Management Kabushiki Kaisha

Japan Association for Financial APIs (FAPI)

Japanese Bankers Association (JBA)

FISC (The Center for Financial Industry Information Systems)

Work highlights

  • Advised SMBC on the information bank system, preparation of a certificate of Information Bank business, and appropriate ways to use information obtained by the bank.
  • Assisted MUFG in providing legal and regulatory advice to all of the participants in the MUFG Digital Accelerator Program and provided legal and regulatory advice to each participant in a separate legal session.
  • Advised Tokyo Metropolitan Government on the Fintech support program and provided legal and regulatory advice to each participant in a separate legal session when entering into Japanese market.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Advising leading local and international financial institutions and investors, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is active in corporate loans, structured finance, real estate finance, acquisition finance, mezzanine finance, and derivatives. The firm combines this broad experience with expertise advising syndicated loan lenders and on energy, infrastructure and project finance sector matters. Masanori Sato is a stand out figure in the field of banking, structured finance, capital markets, real estate and infrastructure. He leads the team that includes Hiroki Aoyama , who covers syndicated loans, LBOs, real estate finance, project finance, DIP finance and other banking transactions and transactional specialist Takahiro Kobayashi . Also notable are financing transaction experts Yusuke Suehiro and Kei Shirakawa.

Practice head(s):

Masanori Sato


‘Regarding Takahiro Kobayashi, he is very much capable to provide solutions on the issues that we are facing. He makes proactive actions and timely calls when the issues come up. He arranges proper team and internal resources based on our demand.’

‘Mori Hamada & Matsumoto(MHM) has an excellent reputation in banking and finance sector. The firm always provides professional services based on their high expertise. It continues to be cost-effective and good value for money.’

‘Masanori Sato has a very deep understanding of the law and business. He is also very responsive and never fails to meet deadlines.’

‘Hiroki Aoyama gives practical and actionable solutions.’

Key clients

The Japanese Bankers Association (JBA)

Japan Syndication and Loan-trading Association (JSLA)

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

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


GE Japan Corporation

Japan Bank for International Cooperation

Work highlights

  • Advised the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) and Japan Syndication and Loan-trading Association (JSLA) in connection with post-LIBOR issues.
  • Advised KKR and Marelli on additional funding in response to COVID-19 after KKR’s acquisition of Calsonic Kansei Corporation and Marelli Corporation.
  • Acted as the lead legal counsel to Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd. (MUMSS) in respect to the financing for Spiber Inc. (Spiber), a biotech venture company, through a value securitization scheme, which was arranged by MUMSS.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & TsunematsuComparative Guides promotional icon specialises in advising on loans and other credit-related transactions, including syndicated loans, non-recourse loans, derivatives, aircraft and ship financing, and foreign trades financing. The firm has particular strength in real estate finance, as well as being active in a range of structured, acquisition and project finance matters. Other core areas for the practice include sophisticated securitization projects, insolvency and bankruptcy advice. Fumihide Sugimoto leads the team and can call on the expertise of Mami Ikebukuro , who is known for real estate finance, including J-REIT financing; acquisition finance specialist Jiro Mikami ; Hironori Matsuo, who focuses on acquisition and foreign trade finance; and Hiromi Hattori, whose handles a range of acquisition finance matters.

Practice head(s):

Fumihide Sugimoto

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

  • Advised the lender, MUFG Bank, Ltd., on the acquisition of 100% shares of NTT DOCOMO. INC. by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation.
  • Acted as legal counsel to an SPC in which AXA Life Insurance Co., Ltd. and other AXA related entities (purchaser/borrower) had invested.
  • Advised BOOSTRY Co., Ltd. who has developed a securities platform called “ibet,” which uses a block chain technology. NOMURA Agri Planning & Advisory, Co. Ltd. issued its membership token, which provided rights to participate in a project of growing asparagus, and such token was issued and transferred on “ibet.” As BOOSTRY’s legal counsel, the practice researched legal issues and prepared the relevant documentation.

Nishimura & Asahi

Distinguished by its advice to both financiers and borrowers, Nishimura & Asahi assists banks and financial institutions with a range of domestic and cross-border banking transactions, including asset financing, acquisition financing, corporate and syndicated loans. The large asset finance practice advises Japanese leasing companies across the spectrum of leasing transactions, notably aircraft financing, ship financing, container leasing transactions and plant facilities leasing. Other strengths for the firm include finance regulations and compliance. Asset finance specialist Katsu Sengoku leads the team that includes projects and asset finance lawyer gaiben Adrian Joyce; Hideo Horikoshi, who handles banking, acquisition finance, project finance, syndicated lending and other international transactions; and Takashi Saito, who focuses on acquisition finance, subscription finance, syndicated lending and banking transactions.

Practice head(s):

Katsu Sengoku

Key clients

Showa Denko K.K.

NAVER Corporation

Integral Corporation

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Shinsei Bank, Ltd.

Garrett Motion Inc.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Ltd.

Resona Bank, Ltd.

Japan Airport Terminal Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Handled the structuring, negotiations, documentation, closing logistics, and other aspects of  financing transactions for Showa Denko, in relation to the financing for a tender offer to acquire Hitachi Chemical.
  • Advised on financing for NAVER J.Hub Corporation’s joint tender offer, issued together with SoftBank Corporation, to acquire LINE Corporation.
  • Advised Integral Corporation, a Japanese private equity fund, on the financing for its tender offer to acquire Mamezou Holdings.

City-Yuwa Partners

Advising on regulatory and transactional matters, City-Yuwa Partners represents Japanese trusts, regional and international banks, as well as securities firms and finance companies. The firm specialises in structured finance related to real estate, using trust schemes and securitization of various assets including receivables, trade finance and property loans and finance. Junko Hirakawa leads a strong team that includes partners with experience working in the Japanese FSA and Bank of Japan. Key names in the practice include Masamichi Sakamoto, who has particular expertise in real estate finance, asset finance, solar power project finance and regulation; and Gen Takizawa, whose expertise covers banking, ECA finance, investment, securitization, derivatives and trust transactions, including cross-border lending, investment and funding.

Practice head(s):

Junko Hirakawa


‘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 AssociatesComparative Guides promotional iconComparative Guides promotional icon provides comprehensive advice in financial matters, including corporate, structured, and project finance, securitization, liquidation matters, REITs, derivative transactions, banking, securities, insurance and trusts. The firm has particular strength in the real estate and renewable energy sectors, notably in real estate securitization. An area of focus for the practice relates to real estate non-recourse loans and project financing for renewable energy projects, as well as advising on M&A finance, PPP/PFI, and securitization of accounts receivable Banking and capital markets specialist Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi leads a highly experienced team that includes Hideaki Kurauchi, Yoshikazu Noma and Mizuki Koshimoto.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi

Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., Ltd.

SMBC Trust Bank Ltd.

Aozora Bank, Ltd.

Resona Bank, Limited


ORIX Corporation



Work highlights

  • Advised Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, a Japanese trust bank on the real estate non-recourse loan for 20 projects.
  • Advised ORIX Corporation, a loan lender on the first deal in Japan in which an SPC scheme and non-recourse loan were executed in a case based on the “premises sale system” under the Act on Facilitation of Reconstruction of Condominiums.

Kaynex Law Offices

Kaynex Law Offices combines experience in a range of domestic and cross-border finance transactions, including structured finance, securitisation, capital markets, banking and real estate. The firm has been involved in several innovative deals, notably the first securitization of Electric Recorded Receivables in the Japanese market and the first repackaging of an Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificate (EETC) in the Japanese market and the JBIC-guaranteed samurai bond. Practice head Norifusa Hashimoto has broad expertise that covers samurai bonds, debt private placements, structured finance, general securities and corporate finance advice.

Practice head(s):

Norifusa Hashimoto

Key clients

Kiraboshi Bank

Ryukyu Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Kiraboshi Bank on securitization transaction of Receipt (health medical claims) by use of a self declaration of trust.
  • Advised Ryukyu Capital on formation of LPS fund for the economy of Okinawa.

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

Advising on the negotiation and preparation of contracts as well as structuring issues in the course of credit transactions, Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners’ experienced practice handles derivative transactions involving interest rates, currency exchange, commodities and credit events. The firm also provides expertise in global loan matters and overseas financial regulations. Tomohiro Murakami leads the team and advises clients on project finance across sectors including renewable energy and on  PPP/PFIs.

Practice head(s):

Tomohiro Murakami


‘I often ask Tomohiro Murakami. He can respond kindly and politely. We get an explanation of the risks we are unaware of. He will also tell you how to deal with that risk.’

Key clients

Daiwa Lease Co., Ltd.

Joyo Bank, Ltd.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Shindengen Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Yasu Swim8 Next-PFI Kabushiki Kaish, the borrower, on the financing of a PFI project in Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture involving facilities that utilize residual heat.
  • Advised Tottori Prefectural Museum Partners Kabushiki Kaisha, the borrower and the sponsor consortium on the financing of a PFI project involving the Tottori Prefectural Museum.
  • Advised Shindengen Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd., the borrower on a corporate green loan of 10 billion yen for the construction of a new business facility.