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Dispute resolution: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills’ dispute practice specialises in advising Japanese clients on international disputes and crises and is particularly strong in the energy, mining, technology, and infrastructure spaces. The team sits within the firms coordinated cross-border offering and is underpinned by a strong team with a combined 80 years of experience across the Tokyo office. The team is led by David Gilmore who specialises in international and commercial dispute resolution. Another key partner is Craig Shepherd, who leads the firms construction practice and assists Asia-based clients mitigate complex infrastructure disputes. Elaine Wong is re-joining the firm’s Tokyo office from the Singapore practice, and focuses on the automotive sector and for household name clients such as Sumitomo, Mitsubishi Motors, and Itochu. James Allsop is a key name who has extensive expertise in international arbitration as an advocate across regional tribunals. Yosuke Homma handles the firm’s corporate crime and investigations practice.

Practice head(s):

David Gilmore

Other key lawyers:

Craig Shepherd; Elaine Wong; Yosuke Homma; James Allsop


‘Their practice is sufficiently detailed, accurate and fast – this is what every lawyer is required to abide by – and that is what every lawyer wants to do so – but only a few can always do it completely – that is HSF’s uniqueness.’

‘We appreciate their efficient team work led by David Gilmore and other partners. It is always comfortable to work with them even if the matters involved are generally challenging disputes.’

‘Senior associates such as Andrew Raymond and Yosuke Homma are cores of the team. Yosuke’s Japanese capability is very valuable for smooth performances of our works.’

‘As one of the top global firms, which is famous for dispute resolution practice, HSF shows great presence in Japan. I frequently work with HSF in various cases in which their clients got involved corporate scandals. I am always impressed with their excellent work based on their rich experience. ’

‘I have worked with Mr. Yusuke Homma in a several cases. Every time I worked with him, I was impressed that he prudently handled the case in a well-balanced manner. He is no doubt a very excellent lawyer. Besides the outstanding capability as a lawyer, he has perfect Japanese and English at a native level, which is actually very rare at least in a legal market. ’

‘HSF has diversity and I believe that they can provide seamless support to their clients. Although our problem is governed by NY law, their Japan team efficiently collaborates with HSF’s US team and gives us helpful advice based on both NY law and Japanese culture. Their response is always quick and timely.’

‘The project we worked on was a one that required coordination of multiple teams both internal and external. The team has been taking extra effort to make sure the entire team was on the same page. The team is also very good at navigating a tense situation where the parties could not reach an agreement on how best to proceed; If both parties hadn’t felt heard and understood, the project would not have gone as it is now. ’

‘David Gilmore, James Allsop, Elaine Wong, Michael McErlaine played an instrumental role in the project. Speed of reply and output, attention to details and strategic advice on the issue presented impressed our company. ’

Key clients

Toyota Motor (Australia)

Work highlights

  • Lead counsel to a confidential corporate in SIAC arbitration proceedings for claims of breaches of warranty under a sale and purchase agreement and breaches of duties under an shareholders’ agreement arising out of an acquisition of an overseas company.
  • Representing a confidential Japanese client in SIAC arbitration proceedings in dispute on issues arising from the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Southeast Asia.
  • Assisted a major Japanese company in connection with an international arbitration (under the rules of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre) concerning delays and disruption to the completion of an urban rail project in Southeast Asia.

Morrison Foerster

The disputes and litigation department at Morrison Foerster offers a sizable bilingual team that serves Japanese clients on international and Japanese litigation matters and arbitrations across the full gamut of disputes work. The team’s expertise is well regarded by Japanese and international clients in the electronics, computer, and semiconductor industries, from which the firm has received new clients and mandates. The team is jointly led by Louise Stoupe and Yuka Teraguchi. Stoupe’s practice centres on technology and complex litigation, with recent instructions including representation of several automotive component manufacturers. New co-lead Teraguchi has a computer science background and focuses IP litigation and counselling. Max Olson is also key contact within the team, recently leading litigation for JOLED Inc in a patent infringement action against Samsung. Takahiro Nonaka joined the team from DLA Piper Tokyo, bringing a strong investigation, compliance, anti-corruption, and antitrust practice to the litigation department. Also of note are Chie Yakura and Akira Irie and Tomohiko Kimura made partner in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Louise Stoupe; Yuka Teraguchi

Other key lawyers:

Max Olson; Chie Yakura; Yukihiro Terazawa; Tomohiko Kimura; Akira Irie; Andrew Meyer; Takahiro Nonaka


‘The team was small but diverse. Its advice was very practical and easy to understand which is particularly important in disputes resolution. MoFo also offered complimentary training associated with the work they performed which is a great value add.’

‘Louise Stoupe is extremely knowledgeable and astute on dispute resolution. I was particularly impressed with her knowledge and experience on arbitration across many jurisdiction, which was evident in the practical and strategic advice she provided. For an international corporate, having that international skills and experience is a valuable quality.’

‘The team of Morrison & Foerster are aware of the practices of Japanese companies well, such as decision-making procedure, preparation documents for such decision and acts on a timely basis based on our intentions. In addition, they usually recommend the most effective way to perform the next step in a cost-effective manner.’

‘Max Olson, a partner who has had complete knowledge of our business models and our management system since our company established. When we ask him for an overview of the problem to our businesses, he does recognize the situation and provide the appropriate advices.

‘Akira Irie and Yuka Teraguchi, partners who can speak Japanese and English very well. It’s easy for us to communicate with them and to understand discussions. We feel comfortable. Also, they have abilities to understand our technologies, products and its related patents very well. Their strengths are that they can understand our Japanese documents, our ideas and thoughts accurately, and then can reflect such our input on the response to the courts.’

Key clients

Renesas Electronics



Mitsui Chemicals

Sanyo Electric


Fujitsu Limited

Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited


Cadence Design System, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Renesas Electronics Corporation, Renesas Electronics America, and Socionext Inc. in an ITC investigation, in which the ITC issued a final determination affirming the Presiding Administrative Law Judge’s finding that there was no violation of Section 337 with respect to all System-on-Chip patents asserted by Broadcom Corporation.
  • Represented JOLED Inc. in a patent infringement action for  against Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas as part of JOLED’s global patent enforcement campaign.
  • Settled a trade secret misappropriation case filed by Developmental Technologies, LLC, on behalf of Mitsui Chemicals, Inc., and its U.S. subsidiary Mitsui Chemicals America, Inc.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

The Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s dispute team is at the forefront of data protection and cyber security disputes, while also having a broad international arbitration and dispute resolution practice. The Tokyo team led by Shinsuke Yakura , also advises on complex white collar-defence, whistle-blower, anti-bribery and anti-corruption matters for both Japanese and international clients in cross-border matters. Yakura specialises in arbitration and litigation proceedings, and is also head of the firm’s Japan practice. Also of note is associate Haruka Matsumoto, who supports the team's commercial dispute practice, particularly in the labour and employment sectors. Recent instructions for the team include representing NEC in a dispute against Micron Technology in relation to a cartel investigation on D-RAM products.

Practice head(s):

Shinsuke Yakura

Other key lawyers:

Haruka Matsumoto

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

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s dispute resolution practice in Tokyo offers a pool of practitioners focused entirely on litigation. As such the firm is particularly strong and sought-out for its patent infringement expertise, with many team members having technical degrees to support this area. The team is also instructed in all types of business litigation, class actions, investigations including white collar and arbitrations  and has a broad multi-jurisdictional reach. The team is led by Ryan Goldstein, who litigates and advises clients in the software, hardware, aerospace, and mechanical engineering fields. Goldstein advises international and Japanese clients, and is able to litigate in both English and Japanese.

Practice head(s):

Ryan Goldstein


‘Ryan Goldstein is smart and super. ’

Key clients

Opticon, Inc., Opticon Sensors Europe B.V., OPTO Electronics Co., Ltd., and Hokkaido Electronic Industry Co., Ltd.

Hamamatsu Corporation, Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., and Photonics Management Corp.

Canon, Inc.

Godo Kaisha IP Bridge

IP Bridge

JCB (Japan Credit Bureau)


Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Panasonic Corporation

Work highlights

  • Filed a major patent lawsuit for Panasonic in February against Magna on radar and car technology in the United States District Court (W.D. Texas) as well as in Germany. We expect countersuits.
  • Represents Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 (“IP Bridge”) in a patent infringement lawsuit against Micron Technology, Inc. (“Micron”) and two of its subsidiaries after IP Bridge asserted that four of its semiconductor patents are infringed by Micron’s DDR DRAM chips.
  • Representing Otsuka Pharmaceuticals in a matter involving intellectual property counselling regarding pharmaceutical products for the treatment of patients with anemia related to chronic kidney disease (“CKD”). Otsuka/Akebia’s compound, vadadustat, is currently in Phase III studies for the treatment of anemia related to CKD. Fibrogen has a competing compound, roxadustat, which is also in Phase III studies for the treatment of anemia related to CKD.


The disputes team at Ashurst Tokyo offers a practice best known for its arbitration skills for Japanese trading houses and construction industry clients. The practice, led by Ronnie King also advises on white collar crime investigations. King’s expertise centres on the energy, power, and insurance sectors, and he is an international arbitration specialist.

Practice head(s):

Ronnie King


‘Strong cross-border collaboration amongst Ashurst offices, drawing on strengths across the globe.’

‘Expertise, enthusiasm, and a willingness to challenge established views.’

‘Good performance provided by the senior associates.’

‘Many senior associate – Stephanie Camelon did great job.’

Key clients

UC Rusal

Work highlights

  • Advising on a significant and high value dispute alleging infringement of confidential information and patents in relation to the design of railway wagons used in mining operations.

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)‘s dispute resolution team handles an extensive variety of international and domestic litigation, arbitration, and compliance matters. The team’s expertise covers a wide range of industries including energy, construction and infrastructure, industrial and manufacturing, life sciences, IT, and financial services. Yoshiaki Muto leads the practice and focuses on ADR, corporate investigations, and compliance in the automotive, banking and finance sectors. Ryosuke Tateishi specialises in healthcare related industries and made partner in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiaki Muto

Other key lawyers:

Takeshi Yoshida; Toshio Ibaraki; Masami Sakei


‘Diverse talents are available at this firm as a case grows and it involves multiple legal issues that might require different expertise.’

‘Mr. Takeshi Yoshida: The responsiveness during the tight time line and foreseeability in difficult situations and the confidence he maintained.’

‘Yoshiaki Muto never fails to provide us with responsive, commercially strategic, client-oriented and cost-effective advice. He has helped us with navigating the complex matters and always delivered great results.’


O’Melveny’s Tokyo dispute resolution team handles domestic litigation, international litigation, arbitrations and criminal investigations. Led by Yoji Maeda, the firm has developed a copyright litigation practice, and has US and Japanese law capabilities, with a strong track record in the Japanese Supreme Court. Maeda’s practice covers business, labour, and employment litigation matters. Also of note within the team is counsel Hiroko Nihei, who bolsters the team's cross-border dispute practice, particularly in US anti-trust investigations, commercial arbitration, and IP matters.

Practice head(s):

Yoji Maeda

Other key lawyers:

Hiroko Nihei


‘We have found our lawyers at OMM in Tokyo to be truly exceptional representatives for us in the market, especially since we don’t have in-house counsel in country. They do a great job translating our legal needs an interests into a very different legal and regulatory system. Very clear and effective. ’

‘Hiroko Nihel is simply outstanding. She is our most trusted and valuable international counsel anywhere in the world. We trust her to do almost anything on our behalf. We give her very complex issues to resolve and she comes through every time. ’

Key clients

CFJ (Citi Group)

Shinsei Financial

Toshiba Corporation

Work highlights

  • Representing CFJ G.K. (CFJ), the consumer finance subsidiary of Citigroup, in an unprecedented tax litigation before the Tokyo District Court.
  • Represented Shinsei up to 145 cases litigated at the district courts and high courts.
  • Appointed as the investigator into Toshiba’s Annual General Shareholders Meeting held on July 31, 2021. Our investigation report is expected to be publicized in early June 2021, which will be presented to the Annual Shareholders Meeting to be held on June 25, 2021.

Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho

Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho’s Tokyo dispute resolution team is part of the firm’s wider international disputes and litigation practice. The team is co-lead by David T. Miyamoto and Matthew Digby , both of whom have a strong cross-border practice. The pair have grown the team’s practice in the life sciences sector, and are instructed in disputes involving licensing, manufacturing, and supplier agreements in Japan and have a focus on the IT sector, and the chemicals industries. Tomohiko Kamimura was promoted to partner in 2021.

Practice head(s):

David Miyamoto; Matt Digby

Other key lawyers:

Tomohiko Kamimura


‘Excellent global network within the organization, which makes efficient and prompt conflict checks, Global professional and administrative (billing) support to my matter responsible attorney appears to be always available and effective. ’

‘David YAEGASHI, Esq. is always enthusiastic about understanding what the client wants to achieve through consultation and extremely efficient to provide effective advice, not wasting any time or resource. ’

‘Excellent advice for not only legal issues but also business negotiation. Flexibility for making contracts, and Japanese and English communication.’

Clifford Chance

Peter Coney leads the Clifford Chance disputes team following his establishment of the practice for the firm in 2018. The Tokyo-based team assists Japanese and foreign companies in commercial and investor disputes, bribery, corruption, and corporate malfeasance investigations. The team works across the firm’s international network to offer a cross-border service. Peter Harris and Tess Forge are also key members.

Practice head(s):

Peter Coney

Other key lawyers:

Peter Harris; Tess Forge


The Clifford Chance international arbitration team is highly professional, smart and on point. They work on some of the largest and most complex cases in the world and have a great reputation.’

Peter Harris leaves no stone unturned in his in depth analysis of important issues. He is a highly effective communicator and ensures each part of the litigation team is fully engaged and understands the task at hand. He is a great lawyer and highly recommended for anyone involved in complex high value litigation disputes.’

Peter Coney is my key contact. A great balance of detailed focus on the small issues that can trip us up while at the same time able to discuss the ‘helicopter view’ and so also deal with my impatience to cut to the heart of a matter.’

Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise

Kaede Toh heads the renewed litigation and disputes practice at Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise following her move from  Ropes & Gray LLP. Toh’s practice consists of an established track record representing Asia-based clients in white collar defence matters. Toh also advises on anti-corruption diligence in M&A and private equity transactions, and advises on compliance and and-corruption policies in the IP sector.

Practice head(s):

Kaede Toh

Key clients

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Toyo Denso

Sumida Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represent Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.in a securities class action pending in United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
  • Represent Toyo Denso in multidistrict litigations in relations to fix prices allegations.
  • Represent Sumida Corporation and certain subsidiaries, in an antitrust class action.