Leading Individuals: Gaiben

Next Generation Partners: Bengoshi

Firms To Watch: Corporate and M&A: Independent local firms

ZeLo, a Foreign Law Joint Enterprise, founded in 2017, has experience in a varied collection of M&A matters. Koichi Kitada leads the department.

Corporate and M&A: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune‘s ‘very strong practice‘ represents Japanese and international clients in transactions both domestically and overseas, as the department has particular expertise in complex cross-border transactions. Areas of significant experience also include structuring venture capital, private equity, and joint ventures, in addition to corporate reorganisation matters. The team is co-led by Hiroki Kodate, who advises both Japanese and non-Japanese clients in general corporate matters, and Keiko Kaneko, whose specialism is transactions in heavily regulated sectors such as the energy and pharmaceutical industries. Ko Wakabayashi is also noted for his experience in international matters, while Keita Tokura is key due to his experience advising corporate clients on dispute resolution matters related to M&A.

Practice head(s):

Hiroki Kodate; Keiko Kaneko

Other key lawyers:

Ko Wakabayashi; Keita Tokura; Satoshi Inoue


‘AMT has attorneys with various specialties, making it possible to appropriately team up for many cases.’

‘AMT’s strong point is professional individuals who has experienced various kinds of cases.’

‘Team members have diverse backgrounds and can provide professional services.’

‘Their people have knowledge, experience and collaborative skills, enabling the firm to deliver qualified services which meet clients’ needs.’

‘Great M&A and finance team, especially for global private equity firms.’

‘Very strong practice across the board.’

‘Mr. Hiroki Kodate is the leader of the team in our case, and he organizes his team very well.’

‘Keita Tokura – Very commercial and practical M&A lawyer.’

Key clients

Bain Capital, LLC

Fortress Investments Group LLC

Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co.,Ltd.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group

Japan Asia Group Limited

Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd.

Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd.

Walmart Inc.

SMBC Capital Partners

Hisense Group

Apollo Global Management, Inc.


Shinsei Bank, Limited

Monex Group Inc.

CLSA Capital Partners

Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation

Spiber Inc.

FUJIFILM Corporation

Fund Corporation for the Overseas Development of Japan’s ICT and Postal Services

Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co., Ltd., the fifth largest drug store operator in Japan, on its business integration with Cocokara fine Inc.
  • Advised Walmart, Inc. for negotiation of its share subscription agreement with Rakuten.
  • Advised Hisense Group. On March 1, 2021, Sanden Holdings Corporation announced that it entered into a share purchase agreement with Hisense Home Appliances Group Co., Ltd.

Atsumi & Sakai

Atsumi & Sakai specialises in complex domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, acting for acquirers, investors, shareholders and target companies. The firm has a particular strength in international matters, due to its 2005 establishment of a foreign law joint enterprise, which drew in a significant number of foreign lawyers. Shintaro Hamasu, Masayuki Matsuura, Eiichiro Hata and Takasuke Mizukami jointly lead the department, which includes counsel Youngseop Song.

Practice head(s):

Shintaro Hamasu; Masayuki Matsuura; Eiichiro Hata; Takasuke Mizukami

Other key lawyers:

Youngseop Song

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners fields a corporate team which works closely with the firm’s other departments to provide comprehensive service for domestic and international clients. The team is co-led by Yasuyuki Kuribayashi, who has almost 30 years’ experience in corporate and finaance, and M&A specialist Yoshikazu Suzuki. Noriko Higashizawa is a key name within the department.

Practice head(s):

Yasuyuki Kuribayashi; Yoshikazu Suzuki

Other key lawyers:

Noriko Higashizawa


‘Highly responsive, professional and understanding of clients’ needs.’

Key clients

ROCKWOOL International A/S

Work highlights

  • Advised Rockwool Asia on its acquisition of the assets of Bansyo Holdings, a Japanese company that specialises in the supply of fire protection & thermal insulation in both the industrial & building sectors.


Hibiya-Nakata is a boutique M&A firm recognised for its expertise in cross-border work and diverse sector expertise. Department lead Nobuo Nakata has significant experience in the practice area, and specialises in outbound matters. Tatsuya Soeda, who is active across numerous sectors including energy, consumer goods, and technology, is a key name, as is Takanari Sekiguchi, who made partner in July 2021.

Practice head(s):

Nobuo Nakata

Other key lawyers:

Tatsuya Soeda; Takanari Sekiguchi; Kazutaka Mizuochi


‘Precise analytical capabilities. Quick Responses. Creative proposals.’

‘Advice that appropriately reflects individual circumstances. Friendly and kind manner.’

‘I always work with Mr. Tatsuya Soeda. He gives us appropriate advice according to our policies.’

‘The legal firm specialises in M&A, with professional and experienced lawyers.’

‘Provide good advice in a timely manner. Proactive.’

Key clients

Sojitz Corporation

Appirits Inc.

Oak Setsubi Corporation

Kyoei Denki Ltd

E-NA, Inc.

Daiwa House Industry Co. Ltd

Appirits Inc.

Raito Kogyo Co., Ltd.

Earth Corporation

Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd.

Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd.

Juki Corporation

UT Group Co., Ltd

Obayashi Corporation

CiFlavors co., Ltd.

erex Co.,Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Earth Corporation on its acquisition of a business of Neumann & Mueller Philippines Inc. (NMPI) by way of acquiring a major stake of new company which purchased the business of NMPI.
  • Advised Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd, on its disposal of all shares of its China-based carbon black subsidiary Tokai Carbon (Tianjin) Co., Ltd to Cabot (China) Ltd., a Chinese subsidiary of Massachusetts-based Cabot Corporation.
  • Advised Sojitz Corporation on its capital and business tie-up with HIROTSU BIO SCIENCE INC. aiming at global expansion of primary cancer screening test N-Nose, and on its acquisition of shares of HIROTSU BIO SCIENCE.

Kojima Law Offices

Kojima Law Offices is a well-established name, with longstanding relationships with a range of high profile domestic and international clients. The team is led by managing partner Hiromasa Ogawa, who has expertise in international transactions. Key individuals within the department include Hirokazu Amemiya and Norio Mitsuuchi.

Practice head(s):

Hiromasa Ogawa

Other key lawyers:

Hirokazu Amemiya; Norio Mitsuuchi; Naoki Takahashi


‘They have a solid understanding of the client’s needs and are able to drive the deal forward in a courteous yet forceful manner.’

‘They were quick to understand the issues we brought to them and place the right lawyers to perform the work efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. Communication was excellent and advice included alternatives for us to consider.’

‘Hirokazu Amemiya has always been quick with detailed guidance and answers to our questions. His ability to provide clear advice in Japanese and English was key for our global company.’

‘We really appreciate their professional commitment, quick responses and their manner of negotiation.’

‘The firm represents multinational clients, with very good understanding in cross border transactions and the collaboration with foreign lawyers to provide their clients with the best legal services.’

‘The lawyers I’ve worked with are smart, sharp and highly devoted to provide the best service to their clients. They have a very quick response time which is crucial in transactions with time differences.’

‘The team is very responsive and emails are set out in a clear manner that’s easy to understand. The depth of knowledge comes through & their strong command of written English is highly appreciated as we do not read or write Japanese.’

‘They are a dedicated team of intelligent lawyers, who go in to the depth of the matter and find most efficient legal solutions to client’s complex issues. Their domain expertise is par excellence.’

Key clients


Work highlights

  • Advised boutique footwear retailer atmos on the November 2021 sale of their company to US retail giant Footlocker for USD 360 million.

Miura & Partners

Miura & Partners provides clients with comprehensive support at each stage of M&A transactions, including due diligence, negotiation of contracts, closing, and post-closing. Despite being founded recently in 2019, the firm also has a network of strong relationships with overseas firms, allowing coverage of other jurisdictions. The team is led by Hisashi Shibata, and the ‘especially wonderfulHaruka Murata, who is highly experienced on cross-border matters.

Practice head(s):

Hisashi Shibata; Haruka Murata


‘Ms. Haruka Murata is especially wonderful. She is extremely experienced in cross-border M&A and very committed to her clients. She is able to come up with many flexible and creative ideas backed by her wealth of experience. Documentation is very fast and accurate. Her English negotiation skills are top class in Japan.’

‘The partners are particularly experienced and highly committed to their clients.’

‘Haruka Murata was a leading partner of our M&A project. She showed strong commitment all the time along the transaction and gave us practical legal advice in a timely manner. She organised the team well to effectively address legal issues along with broad functions.’

‘Commitment for outcome and responsiveness were clearly areas of strength of the team.’

‘Ms. Haruka Murata is very committed and always tries to understand what our concerns are.’

‘The attorneys we worked with were enthusiastic and prompt in reporting to the client.’

‘The firm has strong and effective collaboration within the team. The way they explain things to clients and the clarity of their explanations is also very positive.’

‘Although it is smaller than major international law firms, many lawyers come from major international law firms, and I think that the quality of service is very high. It is highly appreciated that responses are very quick and that advice is given in accordance with the business practice. The service range is wide, and it is a firm where you can consult on anything.’

Key clients

Toyota Motor Corporation

SNK Corporation


National Federation of Tobacco Sales Cooperatives

Pola Orbis Holdings Inc.

Benefit One Inc.


RoomClip Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Toyota Motor Corporation on formation of Joint Venture with Isuzu and Hino to promote CASE technology in Japan.
  • Advised SNK Corporation on acquisition by Electronic Gaming Development Company through tender offers and a squeeze-out.
  • Advised Benefit One Inc. on acquisition of JTB Benefit Corporation and business alliance agreement with JTB Corporation.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto has expertise in regulatory-oriented M&A advice and complex cross-border transactions, with a client list which includes blue-chip industrial companies, banks, financial institutions and private equity funds. The department has particular strengths in the technology sector. Hajime Tanahashi and Gaku Ishiwata co-lead the team. Tanahashi specialises in M&A and private equity, as well as corporate governance and venture financing. Ishiwata shares the core expertise in M&A and private equity, and handles general corporate matters. The large team includes numerous highly experienced practitioners, with other key individuals including Atsushi Oishi, Akira Matsushita, Shuhei Uchida and Yohsuke Higashi.

Practice head(s):

Hajime Tanahashi; Gaku Ishiwata

Other key lawyers:

Atsushi Oishi; Akira Matsushita; Shuhei Uchida; Yohsuke Higashi; Kenichi Sekiguchi


‘Kenichi Sekiguchi provides us with excellent outcomes and values. Of course his hardworking and intelligence contribute to us a lot, but his pragmatic way of thinking and sensitivity to what his clients really want/need make him an almost irreplaceable lawyer for us.’

‘Gaku Ishiwata is a luminary among Japanese M&A lawyers, but also responsive and deeply engaged in all of his matters.’

‘Shuhei Uchida and Yohsuke Higashi are two other rising stars within the firm.’

‘They have a great team. The lawyers we worked with are all very reliable.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for Hitachi, Ltd. in respect to its disposal of Hitachi Metals, Ltd. to Bain Capital Private Equity, LP.
  • Handled the Counter Tender Offer and Privatization of Invesco Office J-REIT by Invesco Ltd.
  • Advised Paidy, Inc. on its acquisition by PayPal, Inc.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu‘s full-service offering provides comprehensive coverage of corporate and M&A matters, with a strong reputation for completing high value transactions for both domestic and multinational clients. The department is particularly strong within the domestic market, with high profile matters including advising The Aomori Bank on their 2022 merger with The Michinoku Bank. For international work, the firm benefits from its network of international offices, with locations inlcuding New York, Singapore, Hanoi and Shanghai. M&A and corporate governance specialist Hiroshi Mitoma leads the practice alongside Yuko Tamai, who is well known for handling complex and extremely high value transactions. Other key names include Tomohiko Iwasaki, Shuichi Nishimura, and Kei Asatsuma.

Practice head(s):

Hiroshi Mitoma; Yuko Tamai

Other key lawyers:

Tomohiko Iwasaki; Shuichi Nishimura; Kei Asatsuma

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead counsel for The Aomori Bank in their merger with The Michinoku Bank.
  • Advised Toshiba on the separation of their infrastructure business and their device business into separate entities, as part of an effort to optimize its business portfolio.
  • Advised on the acquisition of the remaining 80% of the shares of Blue Yonder Holding, Inc. for Panasonic Corporation, which previously held 20% thereof.

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi‘s large team lead and participate in high value international and domestic transactions, with expertise in a broad range of areas, including strategic planning, joint ventures, corporate defense, and closing procedures. The firm is notably strengthened by its multiple offices, with four domestic Japanese locations, and fourteen overseas, across Asia, Europe, and the US. The department is co-led by Asa Shinkawa, who has significant private equity experience, and expertise in structuring complex transactions involving multiple parties, and Yoshinobu Fujimoto, whose practice includes cross-border M&A and joint ventures. Masaki Hosaka, Chairman of the Management Board of the Firm, is also key, as is Yuki Oi, who focuses on the high-tech, industrial, and financial sectors.

Other key lawyers:

Masaki Hosaka; Yuki Oi

Key clients

NTT DoCoMo, Inc.

Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd.

NAVER Corporation

Showa Denko K.K.

ITOCHU Corporation

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Japan Display Inc.

Rakuten, Inc.

Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co., Ltd.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

Invesco Office J-REIT, Inc.

Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

SBI Holdings, Inc.

Goldman Sachs

Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd.

H2O Retailing Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Mistubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. on the sale of all of the shares in MUFG Union Bank, N.A. to US Bancorp, the largest regional bank in the country.
  • Advising Hitachi Metals on an M&A transaction that includes a tender offer for Hitachi Metals’ shares held by general public shareholders, which will be initiated by a consortium comprised of Bain Capital, Japan Industrial Partners, and Japan Industrial Solutions.

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners is highly active in the domestic market, acting in diverse industries including electronics, private equity, real estate and pharmaceuticals. Norihiro Sekiguchi and Seigo Takehira jointly lead the team. Sekiguchi has particular expertise in the TMT and private equity sectors, while Takehira, who is based in Osaka, has a practice which includes corporate governance and cross-border M&A. Hajime Taniuchi, who has worked overseas in both the US and India, is a key name on the team.

Practice head(s):

Norihiro Sekiguchi; Seigo Takehira

Other key lawyers:

Hajime Taniuchi

Key clients

Shin-Keisei Electric Railway Co Ltd

Sawai Group Holdings Co Ltd

Rengo Co., Ltd.

Narumiya International Co., Ltd.

Kaneka Corporation

Japan Growth Investments Alliance, Inc.

Shin-Etsu Polymer Co., Ltd.

J-STAR Co., Ltd

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Limited

Nishio Rent All Co., Ltd

Mitsui Matsushima Holdings Co., Ltd.

Anabuki Kosan, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Shin-Keisei Electric Railway Co Ltd, the local railroad company, on acquisition by Keisei Electric Railway Co., Ltd.,the Japan based general transportation business by railroad and car.
  • Advised Sawai Group Holdings Co., Ltd. on acquisition through its newly formed subsidiary, Kobayashi Kako’s assets pertaining to production activities and personnel of related divisions.
  • Advised Rengo Co., Ltd. the Japan based manufacturer of corrugated board, jute liners and paperboard, on acquisition of the entire shareholding of Takigawa Corporation Japan and its affiliated companies.


Established in 2016, Southgate is an M&A boutique particularly strong in cross-border matters and venture capital. Technology is a key area of focus for the department, which has experience in fintech, AI, defence, and life sciences, among others. The practice is jointly led by Mangyo Kinoshita, Eric Marcks, Takeshi Iitani, and Gaku Yoneyama.

Practice head(s):

Mangyo Kinoshita; Eric Marcks; Takeshi Iitani; Gaku Yoneyama


‘An excellent boutique firm, with expertise advising on domestic and cross-border M&A and investments.’

‘Technically very capable with great commercial acumen, and delivered with a personal touch that client’s love.’

‘Individuals at this firm genuinely want to take care of their clients and assist them on a legal and commercial level, and to help them close a transaction in a smooth manner.’

Key clients


Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (media)

Asahi Kasei




Hitachi Ltd.



Softbank Corp.

SoftBank Vision Fund



Z Holdings Corporation (formerly Yahoo Japan)

ZOZO, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Representation of the SoftBank Vision Fund in its investments in the biotechnology companies Aculys Pharma and AI Medical Service Inc. and the online sneaker and streetwear market platform SODA, which represented the Vision Fund’s first three investments ever in Japan.
  • Representation of Datasection, a TSE-listed Japanese AI and big data company, in its acquisition of Alinza FollowUp S.A.S and Alianza Follow Up Panama, S.A., data companies based in Colombia and Panama.
  • Representation of Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems, Co., Ltd. in its acquisition of 100% of the shares of Photon Energy GmbH, a German company, from the founding shareholders.

TMI Associates

TMI Associates fields a diverse team from across corporate, finance, antitrust and bankruptcy practices, able to cater to a broad range of matters. These extend across numerous industrial sectors, including automobile, fintech, IT, pharmaceutical and shipping. The department is active for high profile domestic clients, and has offices in China, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand to provide full support for outbound M&A activities. Masami Hadama co-leads the department alongside private equity expert Tatsuhiro Takahara and Masakazu Iwakura, who has over 30 years’ experience in the practice area. Takashi Toichi, who is noted for his experience in cross-border M&A and general corporate matters, is another key name.

Practice head(s):

Masakazu Iwakura; Masami Hadama; Tatsuhiro Takahara

Other key lawyers:

Takashi Toichi

Work highlights

  • Advised client on the acquisition of a Japanese well known tutoring service company, Trygroup Inc.
  • Advised TOPPAN FORMS regarding the TOB launched by its parent company, Toppan Inc.
  • Advised Mitsui Chemicals on the acquisition of the agrochemicals business of Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd.

Ushijima & Partners

Ushijima & Partners provides Japanese clients active both domestically and overseas with a broad set of services, including corporate reorganisations, preventative legal practices, and defending against hostile takeovers. Managing partner Shin Ushijima and Hiroshi Watanabe jointly lead the department. Hiroyuki Yamauchi and Rikisuke Yamanaka are also key name within the team.

Practice head(s):

Shin Ushijima; Hiroshi Watanabe

Other key lawyers:

Hiroyuki Yamauchi; Rikisuke Yamanaka


‘From difficult cases to minor cases, we recognize that we get responses almost 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.’

‘Attorney Hiroshi Watanabe can deal with consultations in various fields sincerely.’

Key clients

Invesco Office J-REIT, Inc.

Kabushiki Kaisha Inage Driving School

Work highlights

  • Advised the Special Committee established by Invesco Office J-REIT, Inc. with regard to the hostile tender offer launched by Starwood Capital Group.