Next Generation Partners: Gaiben

Firms To Watch: Dispute resolution: Independent local firms

Kasumigaseki International Law Office act on high value cross border matters, and are consulted by the Japanese Government for educational resources in the field of international arbitration. Yoshihiro Takatori leads the team, which includes firm founder Shinichiro Abe.

Dispute resolution: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune are particularly known for their strong international practice, which assists both domestic Japanese and foreign-based clients in a diverse range of complex and high-value matters. The department is also strong domestically, where novel cases include representing Mitsuiwa Corporation in civil lawsuits arising out of the transaction of equipment to be used for decontamination after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station accident. Former judge Hiroki Wakabayashi acts as co-chair of the dispute resolution group alongside Kenichi Sadaka, whose broad practice includes intellectual property issues, disputes among management, and product liability. The international arbitration team is co-led by Aoi Inoue and David MacArthur, who was recruited from Korean firm Bae, Kim & Lee LLC in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

Hiroki Wakabayashi; Kenichi Sadaka; Aoi Inoue; David MacArthur

Other key lawyers:

Kei Akagawa; Yuki Sakioka


‘Having their roots in occupation era American lawyers that stayed in Japan beyond the occupation, AMT has, from its very inception, been well situated in servicing the foreign business community in Japan.’

‘Their Disputes team is exceptional, with a strong knowledge of both domestics and international practice.’

‘AMT was fortunate to recently bring in David MacArthur, an international arbitration expert with strong regional experience. Partnered with domestic arbitration expert Aoi Inoue, they make a formidable team.’

‘The team is one of the strongest teams among the Japanese large firms, though perhaps a bit more forward-thinking and international than the others.’

‘David MacArthur has helped to professionalize and standardize the practice. Aoi Inouye has been a well-recognized and well-responded name in the Japanese arbitration community for many years. He is one of a handful of Japanese arbitration practitioners who is sufficiently fluent in English to act as a arbitrator in English language cases.’

‘Great mix of international and Japanese arbitration practitioners.’

‘David MacArthur and Aoi Inoue are very strong co-heads of the international arbitration team. Both have lots of experience in international arbitrations and are building a good team.’

‘One of the best arbitration teams in Japan. They are thorough, measured and persuasive.’

Key clients

Shimizu Corporation No

Showa Denko K.K.

Suruga Bank Ltd.

The Pokemon Company


Universal Music LLC

Mitsuiwa Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represented Universal Music LLC in a taxation lawsuit arising out of a corporate group restructuring.
  • Acted for Suruga Bank Ltd. in a mass mediation case filed by approximately 290 debtors with the Tokyo District Court.
  • Acted for Nippo Ltd. in a case of injunction which is to prohibit the issuance of share options as so-called Poison Pill or Rights Plan.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto caters to major clients such as Japan Post Co. Ltd, Hitachi, and Toshiba on high value and high profile disputes. The department covers a broad range of industry sectors including fintech, construction, IT, entertainment and finance. Kana Manabe jointly leads the department with Mugi Sekido, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the pratice area, and is published on US civil litigation. Koichiro Iida covers a broad range of disputes, including tax, employment, and administrative, while American lawyer Daniel Allen is an international arbitration specialist with experience in commercial arbitrations and investor-state disputes.

Practice head(s):

Mugi Sekido; Kana Manabe

Other key lawyers:

Koichiro Iida; Daniel Allen


‘The team is very involved, well informed and responsive.’

‘This practice’s legal advice is always timely, accurate and also business-oriented.’

‘Mugi Sekido has high level language skills, deep understanding, and extensive experience in handling international conflicts for Japanese clients. He conveys our messages to US attorneys quite accurately and “digests” their complicated legal language into easy terms for us to understand.’

Key clients

SoftBank Corp. (mobile telecoms leader, formerly Vodafone)

Japan Post Co., Ltd.

Yamato Transport Co., Ltd

Hitachi, Ltd.

Toshiba Corporation

Daio Paper Corporation

BICCAMERA INC (Japan’s leading consumer electronics retailer)

Eksportfinans ASA (“Eksportfinans”) (Norwegian export finance institution)

Tokyo Boeki Materials, Ltd. (Japanese trading company)

Coincheck, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Japan Post Co., Ltd. in defence of claims brought under the Labour Contract Act by a high number of fixed-term employees over differences between the terms and conditions of their employment contracts and those of employees employed permanently.
  • Represented Toshiba in defence of claims brought by former or current shareholders in tort alleging “improper” disclosure of financial information by Toshiba in past years.
  • Represent Coincheck, Inc. in respect to lawsuits seeking compensation launched by investors after the client was hacked in January 2018, resulting in the theft of approximately JPY58 billion in cryptocurrency NEM.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu represents both major foreign and domestic clients in complex and high profile litigation before Japanese courts. Domestically, the department is active on ultra-high-value matters, including representing the Tokyo Electric Power Company in the JPY 9 trillion derivative lawsuit filed by shareholders, who are seeking damages in relation to the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant incident. Koki Yanagisawa, who focuses on commercial law, antitrust law, and employment law, leads the team, which includes international arbitration experts Yoshimi Ohara and Hisaya Kimura. Also key is Hironobu Tsukamoto, who handles disputes in the areas of commercial transactions and employment.

Practice head(s):

Koki Yanagisawa

Other key lawyers:

Yoshimi Ohara; Hisaya Kimura; Norimitsu Arai; Hironobu Tsukamoto


‘The Nagashima international arbitration team (led by Yoshimi Ohara) is second to none in Japan. The team has broad experience in international arbitrations, both commercial and investment treaty. It is highly professional, very responsive and provides thorough analysis.’

‘Yoshimi Ohara is Japan’s leading international arbitration practitioner. She is brilliant, has sharp analytical skills and is well versed both in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. Yoshimi is a persuasive advocate. She is also enormously responsive.’

‘The team enthusiastically engaged in our arbitration against Japanese constraction companies. They made well organized arguments after long and repeated hearing to related employees.’

‘Koki Yanagisawa took an initiative in seting out our strategy and makeing our argument more powerful and pursuasive, supported by over 10 partner and assosiate lawyers. They made vigorous discussion in their team and made very sophisticated briefs.’

‘The quality of the attorneys is excellent across the board. Their ability to coordinate complex litigations in multiple jurisdictions for Japanese clients is without compare.’

‘I would like to highlight the excellence of Hironobu Tsukamoto in the general litigation space.’

‘Excellent lawyers with attention to detail.’

‘Hisaya Kimura is a safe pair of hands and an absolute star.’

Key clients

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Central Japan Railway Company

Tokyo Electric Power Company

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

Kajima Corporation

SECOM Co., Ltd.

Resona Bank, Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Kajima Corporation in JCAA arbitration in relation to an overseas highway construction project.
  • Represented Central Japan Railway Company in its Linear Chuo Shinkansen litigation.
  • Represented Tokyo Electric Power Company in its shareholders derivative litigation.

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi is highly active in product liability, contract disputes, and IP disputes, with further expertise in areas including tax disputes, construction disputes, and labour law disputes. As part of a full-service firm, the team provides comprehensive support across industries such as pharmaceutical, financial and engineering, with high-profile domestic and international clients. Highly experienced department head Hiroyuki Tezuka has a strong reputation in international arbitration, and is Vice President of the Japan Association of Arbitrators. Akihiro Hironaka focuses on large-scale disputes, and is particularly active in the pharmaceutical and automotive sectors, while Yutaro Kawabata has expertise in disputes arising out of the termination of contracts. Foreign registered lawyer Lars Markert, who is qualified in Germany and New York, advises clients on European law issues, and has particular expertise in the life sciences, automotive and energy sectors. Chié Nakahara is another key name, and has experience in high profile and high value international litigation.

Practice head(s):

Hiroyuki Tezuka

Key clients

Marubeni Corporation

Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd

Mochida Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Panasonic Corporation

Toshiba Corporation

Shionogi Co. & Ltd.

AIG General Insurance Co., Ltd.

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Sharp Corporation

Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Won an ICC arbitration case, seated in Tokyo, involving a breach of contract claim under Japanese law, between an Asian company and a European company.
  • Defending a German automotive supplier from claims by a Japanese automotive supplier in a product liability action before the Yokohama District Court and Tokyo High Court.

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners‘ large and well established disputes team has strengths in numerous sectors, including banking & finance, corporate & commercial, and construction & real estate, which has been a key area since the firm was established in 2003. Real estate and construction disputes specialist Shigeaki Ito leads the team, with more than 20 years’ experience in the practice area. Meanwhile, ‘international arbitration star’ Yoko Maeda represents high-profile domestic and international corporate clients, as well as government owned entities, in abritration across a wide range of sectors. Cholmin Kim, who oversees the Korea practice, is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Ito

Other key lawyers:

Yoko Maeda; Masaaki Sawano; Cholmin Kim


‘The City-Yuwa international arbitration team is highly experienced, has great advocates and is very responsive.’

‘Yoko Maeda is an international arbitration star. She is a highly talented advocate, a smart thinker, and always very responsive. Yoko works effortlessly across different jurisdictions.’

‘City-Yuwa were well positioned to provide reliable advice to our UK company operating a subsidiary in Japan. City Yuwa’s knowledge of both jurisdictions, and bi-lingual abilities allowed a thorough explanation of the peculiarities of Japanese law and how best to proceed through the various stages of a dispute.’

‘We found Yoko Maeda a pleasure to deal with. She was always positive and amenable in our private discussions, but was equally well able to articulate her points and stand her ground under intense pressure during the crunch meetings with our counterparts.’

‘City-Yuwa is a full service law firm providing professional legal advice with efficient solutions.’

‘I have worked with Yoko Maeda for years. She is an excellent litigator and sophisticated in arbitration. Most importantly, Yoko provides us with practical legal advice which makes business sense.’

‘The team is responsive, structured, and knowledgeable both on Japanese law and international commercial arbitration.Effective and efficient teamwork is absolutely possible with Maeda Sensei and her team.’

‘All members of the team are very dedicated, attentive, punctual, and enthusiastic. They strive for perfection in every detail of the work delivered and advice they provide. I was really impressed by how hard-working they are and the quality of the work. In particular, Yoko Maeda, who is the team leader is an excellent litigator, very client focused and extremely supportive.’

Key clients

Asahi Breweries, Co., Ltd.

Canon, Inc.

Cardinal Health Inc.

Cook Medical Inc.

China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd

Contrack Watts Inc.

Deutsche Bank Group

FTI Consulting

Google LLC

GS Yuasa International Ltd.

Japan Tobacco Inc.

JFE Systems Inc

KDDI Corporation

Maetel (Maessa Telecomunicaciones Ingenieria Instalaciones y Servicios S.A.)

Midea Group

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation

Sanki Engineering

SBI Securities Co., Ltd.

Sojitz Aerospace Corporation

Taiheiyo Cement Corporation

Takizawa Ham Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)

Toshiba Lifestyle Products & Services Corporation

Ube Industries, Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of Japanese citizens and companies in over 20 consecutive class action cases seeking for damages relating the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident.
  • Representing SBI Securities Co., Ltd. (SBI) in a case filed by over 200 shareholders of FOI, a company which committed financial window-dressing and misstatements and went bankrupt.
  • Representing FTI Consulting in a dispute over alleged fraud over JPY 20bn in relation to investment by J Trust Asia Pte, Ltd to Global Lease PCL which is a subsidiary of Showa Holdings.

TMI Associates

TMI Associates‘ broad team of experts brings sector specialisms across employment, construction, and public law. IP litigation is a key area of focus, with the department active in this area in a diverse set of sectors including pharmaceuticals, electronics, and chemicals. Ryosuke Ito leads the team, which includes commercial litigation expert Tomoki Yanagisawa, and IP specialist Makoto Okada, who is particularly active in patent disputes.

Practice head(s):

Ryosuke Ito

Other key lawyers:

Tomoki Yanagisawa; Makoto Okada; Keishiro Tashiro


‘The team has kept good relationships with a court and a patent office, leading the case to a good result.’

‘The team consists of competent and talented members, and they have amicable personalities.’

‘What makes them stand out is that they are not only highly capable but also affable. So I have relied on their expertise on the complex case. And I appreciate their affability which makes easy to communicate.’

‘An excellent team that each attorney has unique background such that a partner who was head of IP Appeal Court in Japan, a managing partner who manage the relationship such as billing, communication and so on with client, a partner who manage the contents of the case, and Japanese benrishi who was general manager of IP division of operating company, has been built for our case.’

Key clients

Tsuburaya Production Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Represented Shogogoin Yatsuhashi Co. ltd in litigation regarding the indication of the year the company was founded.

Ushijima & Partners

Ushijima & Partners acts in disputes across corporate, real estate, securities, and system/software development, with experience in both domestic and international matters. The department has a strong record in disputes related to corporate control, with a history of favourable results in a range of hostile takeover cases. Shin Ushijima, whose contentious experience includes corporate matters and international transactions, co-leads the team with Osamu Inoue, who has expertise in real estate and construction litigation. Also key in the team are Yoshimoto Kawamura and Rikisuke Yamanaka, as well as Hiroyasu Kageshima, who specialises in disputes related to IT and data security.

Practice head(s):

Shin Ushijima; Osamu Inoue

Other key lawyers:

Hiroyasu Kageshima; Hiroshi Watanabe; Rikisuke Yamanaka; Yoshimoto Kawamura


‘U&P has rich experience in Japanese litigation on securities and corporate law matters, especially representing investors, including foreign investors.’

‘I believe that their partners, especially Mr. Watanabe, Mr. Inoue, and Mr. Kawamura, have outstanding capabilities of working in complex litigation in Japan.’

‘This firm has numerous highly capable lawyers and staff with specialized knowledge.’

‘They handle their business diligently and respond promptly.’

‘Mr. Rikisuke Yamanaka. This lawyer has specialized knowledge and responds appropriately and quickly to our questions and requests. He also provides detailed explanation to make us feel more secure and follows up well.’

‘They are good at technically difficult security and finance litigation where the value of derivatives, equity, company value etc were diputed among companies including foreign companies.’

‘They listen well to the client request, but they are careful in developing arguments in the courts.’

‘As to the dispute resolution, Ushijima is clearly among the best law firms in Japan.’

Key clients

Oasis Managment Company Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Oasis Management Company Ltd. about potential legal proceedings it could pursue regarding the unfair M&A (share exchange) and, on behalf of the client, fild a petition for determination of share price and a lawsuit seeking invalidation of the share exchange and damages associated therewith.

Abe, Ikubo & Katayama

Abe, Ikubo & Katayama focuses on IP litigation, with a particular strength in patent infringement and invalidation. Team lead Eiji Katayama handles a broad range of international and corporate matters, and has particular expertise in intellectual property law and bankruptcy law. Also key within the department are Junichi Kitahara, who represents both domestic and international clients on IP matters in numerous sectors, and Makoto Hattori, who focuses on patent and trade secret litigation.

Practice head(s):

Eiji Katayama

Other key lawyers:

Hiroshi Kobayashi; Junichi Kitahara; Makoto Hattori

Key clients



Eli Lilly

Johnson & Johnson


Dow Chemical





Atsumi & Sakai

Atsumi & Sakai is active in a broad set of lawsuits, arbitrations and dispute resolution matters, with a deep team of both Japanese and foreign litigators able to support clients on high-value and complex matters. The department has notable strength with cross-border disputes, and combines this with a wide range of sector speicalisms including bankruptcy, products liability, copyright litigation and corporate disputes. Co-leading the team are Toyoki Emoto, Teruhisa Toyama, Bonnie Dixon, Hisashi Miyatsuka, Yusuke Miura and Kohei Murakawa.

Practice head(s):

Toyoki Emoto; Teruhisa Toyama; Bonnie L. Dixon; Hisashi Miyatsuka; Yusuke Miura; Kohei Murakawa


‘Their advice is very helpful and well considered.’

‘They always try to provide practical and feasible advice to the client.’

‘Their advice is clear, helpful and thoughtful.’

Miura & Partners

Miura & Partners‘ team is highly experienced in issues regarding commercial and corporate matters, with aptitude for complex cross border disputes. The department handles domestic and international arbitration, and has expertise across financial disputes, labour disputes and tax litigation. Co-leading the department are Ryota Miura, Satoshi Ikemura, Ryoichi Kagizaki, Norika Yuasa, Tsuyoshi Omura, Tomotake Matsuda, Yoshie Midorikawa, Masayuki Atsumi, Yasuaki Taguchi, Seiji Matsuda and Jun Imamura.

Practice head(s):

Ryota Miura; Satoshi Ikemura; Ryoichi Kagizaki; Norika Yuasa; Tsuyoshi Omura; Tomotake Matsuda; Yoshie Midorikawa; Masayuki Atsumi; Yasuaki Taguchi; Seiji Matsuda; Jun Imamura


‘They have global knowledge and capability to communicate with English. It is very important because we are global company and need coordination not only with Japanese stakeholders but also foreign stakeholders.’

‘This firm, while not being large in scale, has many attorneys with ample expertise and experience in relevant areas.’


Key clients

Cenote Capital Co. Ltd.

Orion No.1 Investment Limited Partnership

Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corp.

Lion Partners GK (LPGK)

Sakura Sogo REIT Investment Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represented Lion Partners GK (LPGK) and advised on hostile takeover and action for revocation of a resolution of an unitholders’ meeting.
  • Represented CENOTE CAPITAL Co.,LTD and Orion No.1 Investment Limited Partnership on a case in which a shareholder obtained a court order to call a shareholders’ meeting in a dispute with company management.
  • Represented one of the biggest Japanese entertainment business operators which had been suffering from a severe decline in sales for their business in rent disputes in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Vanguard Lawyers Tokyo

Vanguard Lawyers Tokyo are active on behalf of a range of high profile global clients, and have experience in a broad spectrum of disputes including fraud, product liability and regulatory breaches. ‘Very experienced litigator’ Kazuki Okada leads the team, and has a broad practice which includes the right to privacy, defamation, and the right to be forgotten. Akiko Yamakawa has expertise in employment law and financial regulation, and is experienced as an arbitrator for English-language JCAA arbitrations.

Practice head(s):

Kazuki Okada

Other key lawyers:

Akiko Yamakawa


Akiko Yamakawa is the best in this area. As she is too popular in this market, we are competing with other clients to retain her!’

Kazuki Okada – very experienced litigator.’

Kazuki and Akiko are the best lawyers I have ever worked with.’

‘They always try very hard to bring “practically possible” strategies and ideas to meet our goals to settle the dispute.’

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners act for clients facing litigation both domestically and overseas, with expertise in areas including commercial disputes, product liability actions, and tort claims. Pharmaceuticals is a key area for the department, with numerous high profile clients from this area. Teppei Mogi leads the team, and has experience in international arbitration matters.

Practice head(s):

Teppei Mogi

Other key lawyers:

Takamitsu Shigetomi

ZeLo (Foreign Law Joint Enterprise)

ZeLo, a Foreign Law Joint Enterprise is particularly active in the technology sector, with areas of expertise including lending services, crowdfunding, and asset management. Team lead Masataka Ogasawara, who co-founded the firm in 2017,  specialises in the fintech sector, and handles blockchain technology and crypto assets.

Practice head(s):

Masataka Ogasawara

Other key lawyers:

Shota Ojima; Hiroto Shimauchi