Dispute resolution: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Herbert Smith Freehills

The dispute resolution team at Herbert Smith Freehills is highly rated as ‘one of the best international arbitration practices in Tokyo’. Benefiting from the ability to leverage the firm’s global network, the group is well equipped to assist Japanese clients with cross-border disputes and crises. The practice is particularly active in the energy, oil and gas, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors, and has been increasing busy handling corporate crimes and regulatory investigation matters. ‘Outstanding litigator’ David Gilmore, who is specialised in international commercial disputes and often sought after to advise on anti-corruption compliance and internal investigations, leads the team. Elaine Wong is a key contact for arbitration cases and corruption, fraud and cartel investigations; James Allsop, who was made partner in May 2022, often represent clients in large construction disputes across the EMEA region. Also recommended is counsel Yosuke Homma, whose expertise spans international arbitration, corporate crime and cybersecurity matters.

Practice head(s):

David Gilmore

Other key lawyers:

James Allsop; Elaine Wong; Michael McErlaine; Yosuke Homma


‘HSF is one of only a few firms with very high-quality international arbitration practitioners based in Japan. They are well integrated with the rest of the HSF network in Asia.’

‘I recently worked with James Allsop, who did day-to-day management of the case. He had excellent knowledge of the case, was efficient and very easy to work with. He also had a very calm manner which was reassuring to the clients.’

‘David Gilmore is an outstanding litigator, who works hard for his client.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a major Japanese pharmaceutical company in JCAA arbitration proceedings for claims of breach of representation and warranty under a share purchase agreement arising out of the sale of a pharmaceutical company.
  • Advised an automotive manufacturer on a potential dispute with an Indonesian entity that has not been complying with obligations, owing to the substantial decrease in the demand for vehicles supply under the supply agreement.
  • Acted as a Japanese energy company on an arbitration arising under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement.

Morrison Foerster

Housing a sizeable team of bilingual ‘skilled practitioners’, Morrison Foerster‘s Tokyo office offers domestic and international clients assistance with Japanese and US litigation matters as well as international arbitration cases. The group is particularly known for its strong sectorial expertise in electronics, computer, semiconductor and e-commerce. Recently, it has also been handling an increasing number of disputes in the automotive and life sciences sector. Co-practice head Louise Stoupe focuses on representing tech companies in multi-jurisdictional and complex commercial litigation and arbitration cases. Assisting international clients with Japanese litigation cases is co-practice head Yuka Teraguchi, who also handles IP licensing work and compliance issues. Max Olson is a key contact for patent litigation, license negotiations and trade secret disputes. Akira Irie is especially sought after to represent clients before US district courts, the US International Trade Commission and the US Patent and Trade Office.

Practice head(s):

Louise Stoupe; Yuka Teraguchi

Other key lawyers:

Akira Irie; Max Olson


‘Akira Irie is recommended for litigation cases. Good communicator.’

‘Great resources in the Tokyo office. Available and skilled practitioners with good language skills.’

‘The team at Morrison & Foerster is well aware of Japanese market practices. In addition, the team typically recommends the most cost-effective way to perform a next step.’

‘Max Olson has in-depth knowledge of our business models and our management system. When instructed, he quickly recognises the problem, providing appropriate advice.’

‘Akira Irie and Yuka Teraguchi speak both Japanese and English very well. It is very easy to communicate with them. They are excellent at understanding our requirements, products, and related patents. Their ability to understand our ideas and thoughts and translate them in court petitions is their strength.’

Key clients


Renesas Electronics

Fujitsu Limited

Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited

Fujitsu America, Inc

Socionext Inc

Buffalo Inc


Cadence Design Systems, Inc

Access Advance LLC

Fujitsu Client Computing Ltd

ASUSTeK Computer Inc

Work highlights

  • Assisted JOLED Inc in filling and settling a patent infringement action against Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.
  • Represented Cadence Design Systems, Inc in a patent infringement action brought by Computer Circuit Operations LLC in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.
  • Represent Fujitsu America in patent infringement litigation against Realtime Data, LLC in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP offers domestic and international clients representation in large high-profile cross-border litigation and arbitration cases in connection with a wide range of matters, including M&A, joint ventures and labour law. Another area of particular strength of the practice is data protection and cybersecurity, where it often assists Japanese companies and government bodies with global compliance issues. As part of its regulatory contentious offering, the team advises on white-collar crime, whistleblowing, anti-bribery and anti-corruption matters. Leading the group is Shinsuke Yakura, who is recommended for IP and dispute resolution matters. Yakura is supported by senior associate Haruka Matsumoto, who is noted for his experience in handling fraud investigations and compliance matters for foreign subsidiaries of Japanese companies.

Practice head(s):

Shinsuke Yakura

Other key lawyers:

Haruka Matsumoto; Masao Fujino


‘Under the leadership of Shinsuke Yakura, the team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP always provides great solutions to the work we request. We are impressed with the team’s strict commitment to the requested deadlines.’

‘By using the firm’s global platform, the team’s support covers all of our global businesses.’

‘The quality of their work is excellent.’

‘We are impressed by the leadership of Shinsuke Yakura and his focus on quality and effectiveness, always acting in our company’s best interest. Yakura and his team understand our company history and business very well, which allow them to provide appropriate advice.’

‘Shinsuke Yakura has extensive experience in a number of matters, including litigation, IP and compliance. He provides business-oriented and practical solutions.’ 

‘Associate Masao Fujino is excellent. He is always responsive.’

Key clients

Canon Medical System Corporation

Daicel Corporation

Fujifilm Health Care

Morinaga Milk Industry

NEC Corporation

Nomura Holdings

Sanei International

Toyota Motor Corporation

WeWork Japan

Work highlights

  • Represented NEC Corporation in a dispute against Micron Technology in relation to a cartel investigation led by the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division on dynamic random-access memory products, obtaining successful results for the client.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Working in close collaboration with the Hong Kong’s office, the Tokyo team at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP focuses on assisting Japanese and Asian clients with litigation and arbitration proceedings in the US and Europe. The group frequently represents household names, including Panasonic Mitsubishi and Canon, in complex patent infringement cases, class actions disputes, product liability claims and FCPA investigations. Ryan Goldstein oversees the team, which is particularly active in the telecom, automotive and electronics industries. Goldstein’s practice focuses on patent and IP litigation, criminal investigations, defamation cases and contractual and fraud disputes.

Practice head(s):

Ryan Goldstein


‘The firm always develops a well-thought-out strategy.’

‘Aggressive approach, well-thought-out strategy, and very good communication.’

‘Ryan Goldstein can assemble a very strong and cost-effective team. He manages the team very well.’

Key clients

Panasonic Corporation

Hamamatsu Corporation

Hamamatsu Photonics KK

Photonics Management Corp

Canon, Inc

JCB (Japan Credit Bureau)


Mitsubishi Motors

Line Corporation

IP Bridge

Work highlights

  • Represented Panasonic in major automotive litigation in the Western District of Texas.
  • Acted for Mitsubishi Motors on a major patent litigation filed in Tennessee, US.
  • Assisted a major electronics company with a large-scale, worldwide patent monetisation programme.


Ashurst is particularly known for its wealth of experience in representing Japanese construction companies, developers and trading houses in arbitration proceedings before major international arbitration institutions, including the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. Leading the team is Ronnie King, who focuses on the the energy, mining, construction, telecom and insurance sectors and is especially sought after to advise Korean clients on high-profile disputes. Boosting the practice’s investigations, prosecutions and international sanctions expertise, Alexander Dmitrenko joined the firm in January 2022 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Practice head(s):

Ronnie King

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Dmitrenko


‘I worked with Alexander Dmitrenko. He is an excellent professional, educator, and a trustworthy good friend. He has extensive knowledge and experience. He is always humble, takes care of his colleagues and tries to learn from others. I am always happy to introduce and recommend him to others.’

Key clients

UC Rusal

Work highlights

  • Represented UC Rusal in a high-profile dispute involving the allegations of infringement of confidential information and patents in relation to the design of railway wagons used in mining operations.

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

The Tokyo-based team at Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) houses a team of both Japanese and foreign lawyers, who excels in cross-border litigation, international arbitration and compliance investigations. The group is noted for its strength across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, life sciences and telecom, and its track record in handling international investigations involving whistleblowing, fraud and bribery allegations. Yoshiaki Muto heads up the team and is a key contact for domestic and international litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Other key names include Toshio Ibaraki, who focuses on corporate compliance matters, and M&A and dispute resolution practitioner Ryosuke Tateishi.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiaki Muto

Other key lawyers:

Takeshi Yoshida; Ryosuke Tateishi

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance houses a team of Japanese and English law-qualified practitioners, who offers domestic and international clients from a wide range of sectors, most notably construction, energy, financial services and automotive, assistance with international disputes. Another area of particular strength of the practice is investigations and compliance matters involving bribery, money laundering, cartel and corporate misfeasance allegations. Counsel Peter Harris specialises in investor-state arbitrations, while Tess Forge and Mohsun Ali are key contacts for financial crime compliance matters.

Other key lawyers:

Peter Harris; Tess Forge; Mohsun Ali


‘Clifford Chance stands out for its consistency in terms of both quality and collegiality.’

‘Coordinating respective roles in a co-counsel relationship can be tricky at times. Clifford Chance teams, drawing from across its Asian and European offices, have always been highly collaborative.’

‘The team always provides excellent advice and input as well as advocacy support in a timely and effective manner.’

‘I always feel confident that they have put their optimal team on the matter, whereas with some firms, one gets a sense that internal remuneration or other factors play a role in team selection.’

‘They are a top choice for co-counsel.’

‘I had the chance to work with Peter Harris on an investor-state matter and could not have been more impressed. His advise was comprehensive and confidence-inspiring, and always timely. I could not recommend anyone higher.’


National and international clients turn to O'Melveny‘s Tokyo office for assistance with Japanese litigation, international arbitration and criminal investigations, often representing leading financial institutions and tech and pharmaceutical companies before district courts and the Supreme Court of Japan. Yoji Maeda, whose practice covers trials, arbitration and labour and employment disputes, oversees the team, which includes counsel Hiroko Nihei, who is recommended for antitrust investigations, US litigation and IP matters, with a focus on international commercial arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Yoji Maeda

Other key lawyers:

Hiroko Nihei

Key clients

CFJ (Citi Group)

Shinsei Financial

Toshiba Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represented CFJ G  in a tax litigation before the Tokyo District Court, after completing the first round of proceedings before the Nagoya National Tax Tribunal, concerning secondary tax liability.
  • Assisted Shinsei with up to 145 cases before the district courts and high courts, securing a successful outcome in all of them.
  • Acted for Yoji Maeda as one of the three independent investigators to conduct investigations into Toshiba’s executives and officials at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho

Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho has extensive experience in handling litigation and arbitration, with a focus on commercial matters, including licensing, distribution, technology transfer, product liability claims and contractual disputes. The group is particularly strong and sought out for its expertise in cross-border commercial disputes, especially cases before California courts, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and the ICC. The practice is jointly led by Matthew Digby, David Miyamoto and David Yaegashi, who was promoted to partner in January 2022. Digby often handles IP, trade secrets and antitrust disputes in California and New York while Yaegashi is recommended for product liability and tort matters. Miyamoto focuses on litigation and alternative dispute resolution arising from licensing deals, M&A and joint ventures.

Practice head(s):

David Yaegashi; David Miyamoto; Matt Digby


‘Excellent advice for not only legal issues but also business negotiations.’

‘Flexibility. Both Japanese and English language capabilities.’

Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise

With a proven track record in representing Asia-based clients in investigations and enforcement actions before the US Department of Justice and other foreign regulators, Kaede Toh leads the Tokyo-based team at Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise, which works in an integrated basis with the firm’s global litigation department, covering the US, Europe and Asia. As part of its offering, the group handles disputes and compliance matters across a wide range of areas, including antitrust and competition, IP, product liability, white collar crime, and employment.

Practice head(s):

Kaede Toh

Key clients

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd

Toyo Denso

Sumida Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represented Nissan Motor Co., Ltd in a securities class action pending in the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
  • Acted for Toyo Denso on multidistrict litigations in which direct and indirect purchaser plaintiffs have alleged that Toyo Denso conspired with other automotive parts suppliers to fix prices of ignition coils and power window switches.
  • Represented Sumida Corporation, a Japanese electronics manufacturer, and certain subsidiaries, in an antitrust class action.