Dispute resolution: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills fields four dedicated dispute resolution partners in Tokyo – Elaine WongEmma KratochvilovaChristopher Hunt, and practice head David Gilmore – and, along with its notable expertise in the infrastructure, energy, TMT, pharmaceutical, automotive and manufacturing sectors, the group has a strong track record in the international arbitration and regulatory fields. The group has been increasingly assisting clients in the context of investigations, liaising with overseas regulators and law enforcement authorities, as well as handling civil claims. The firm also boasts a strong backbench including senior associates Ben Jolley and James Allsop who recently arrived from London. Nicholas Oury relocated to the Dubai office where he became a partner.

Practice head(s):

David Gilmore


‘At Herbert Smith Freehills, responses are always prompt, correct and adequate.’

‘Herbert Smith Freehills gives advice backed up by deep and accurate legal knowledge. The litigation team is always prompt when responding to client needs which it always accurately grasps.’

‘These litigators are very aggressive yet creative in coming up with strategies.’

‘The team has robust experience of arbitration, reasonable and logical thinking, the ability to design practical and reasonable steps and procedures and great communication skills.’

‘David Gilmore is very calm but always very strategic and aggressive when needed.’

‘Herbert Smith Freehills is knowledgable about the needs of Japanese clients, and provides appropriate advice when necessary. David Gilmore, Elaine Wong and Chris Hunt are the standouts in the dispute resolution team.’

Key clients

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Mitsui & Co., Ltd

Sumitomo Corporation

ITOCHU Corporation

Marubeni Corporation

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Louise Stoupe's dispute resolution team at Morrison & Foerster LLP bolstered its partner ranks with the arrival of former Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise antitrust and data privacy expert Daiske Yoshida and the internal promotion of Akira Irie. This expansion builds upon the recent relocation of Rony Gerrits from Brussels and Alexander Lawrence's arrival from New York. The group has an outstanding track record in cross-border litigation on behalf of Japanese clients, as demonstrated by its work for Nikon in a series of US patent litigation actions. Also notable are Max OlsonChie YakuraYukihiro Terazawa and Yuka Teraguchi.

Practice head(s):

Louise Stoupe

Key clients




Toshiba and Toshiba Memory Corporation




SANYO Electric

Renesas Electronics


Work highlights

  • The group defended Nikon in US patent litigation matters initiated by Carl Zeiss and ASML.
  • Represents Renesas Electronics Corporation, Renesas Electronics America, and Socionext Inc. in an investigation brought by Broadcom Corporation at the International Trade Commission.
  • Defending Mitsui Chemicals, Inc., and its US subsidiary Mitsui Chemicals America, Inc., in a trade secret misappropriation case filed by Developmental Technologies, Ltd.
  • Successfully obtained a favourable ruling in a JCAA arbitration for Sanyo. Defendants tried to overturn the arbitral award and in 2017 the Japan Supreme Court upheld the team’s arguments and remanded the case back to the Osaka High Court to examine the defendants’ allegations.
  • Over the past three years, Louise Stoupe in Tokyo and Colette Reiner Mayer in the Bay Area have worked tirelessly to improve the inhumane conditions for immigrants housed in short-term immigration detention centres run by US Customs and Border Control in Arizona.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is renowned for its expertise in international arbitration and mediation. Also notable is the firm's work on complex white-collar law, whistle-blowing, anti-bribery and anti-corruption matters. Office manager Shinsuke Yakura is a notable name while, at the junior level, senior associate Kazuo Isshiki focuses on intellectual property, antitrust, product liability and internal investigations for both domestic and foreign companies. David Case has left the firm to start his own firm in the US. Former practice head Yoshihiro Takatori left the firm in May 2020 to launch Kasumigaseki International Law Office.

Other key lawyers:

Shinsuke Yakura; Kazuo Isshiki


‘Orrick’s Japan-based dispute resolution team has considerable experience and know-how in different fields, including international litigation and mediation as well as domestic dispute resolution.’

‘Shinsuke Yakura’s team always provides the best solutions. The group consistently showcases a strict commitment to the requested deadlines and the quality of its work.’

‘Orrick’s dispute resolution team has broad experience with respects to cyber security and data protection elements in cross-border dispute resolution.’


Key clients

Applied Materials

Bayer Yakuhin

Canon Medical System Corporation

Fujifilm Healthcare

Morinaga Milk Industry

NEC Corporation

New World TMT

Nitto Denko Corporation

Softbank Technology Corporation

Sanei International

Work highlights

  • Orrick partnered with the Japanese government and C.I.Arb to develop ground-breaking facilities and played an important role in educating the legal community on Japan’s newfound capabilities in arbitration and mediation, including hosting the first-ever International Mock Arbitration and Mediation Event in Tokyo.

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) fields both bengoshi and gaiben to handle cross-border litigation, international commercial arbitration, compliance investigations under the FCPA and UK Anti-Bribery Act, as well as domestic litigation. The nine-partner team is chaired by Yoshiaki Muto and has a particular strength in the key sectors of energy, construction and infrastructure, manufacturing, life sciences, telecoms, IT, and financial services. Compliance expert Kengo Nishigaki and senior associate Takeshi Yoshida are also names to note. Experienced arbitrator Joel Greer has moved to ZeLo (Foreign Law Joint Enterprise).

Practice head(s):

Yoshiaki Muto

Other key lawyers:

Kengo Nishigaki; Takeshi Yoshida

King & Spalding

King & Spalding provides an outbound dispute resolution service spearheaded by Christopher Bailey with the support of its global platform. The team consist of an on-the-ground English law arbitration offering plugged into a US litigation and investigations practice, as well as a global arbitration offering. In recent highlights, the firm handled significant disputes in the construction, power and automotive sectors, which it identifies as some of its core industry focuses.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Bailey


‘King & Spalding is very innovative and commercial in its advice to the client. The team thinks ahead, and always tries to understand the client’s business, industry and strategy going forward in the dispute process.’

‘The Tokyo office of King & Spalding is not large, but it is very effective with the support of the other international branches of the firm, which has many veteran counsel who specilize in international disputes.’

‘The King & Spalding team is invaluable in cross-border disputes, bringing the power of the entire firm to locally seated issues.’

‘Chris Bailey has great client manners and a generally upbeat disposition, even in times of stress.’

‘Chris Bailey is an outstanding international disputes lawyer. Having worked for a Japanese trading house in his early career, he has a unique first-hand knowledge how to work effectively with the Japanese clients.’

‘Chris Bailey is a leader in the market, able to pick up the key issues of a case on short notice and great at effectively cross-examining witnesses at a hearing.’

‘Chris Bailey  knows the region, he understands the Japanese culture, the clients like him and respect him and his advice on complex contractual issues. He is very thorough and a true expert in the international disputes field in Asia, particularly in relation to energy projects.’

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP's Tokyo-based dispute resolution offering is spearheaded by Ryan Goldstein who covers the full gamut of business disputes including IP, antitrust, fraud, commercial contracts, and product liability. Goldstein is currently representing Samsung and Google against Apple in numerous ITC and district court cases in relation to cell phone and software technology, as well as acting for Sanyo in a series of international patent litigation cases.

Practice head(s):

Ryan Goldstein


Best known for arbitration work for Japanese trading houses and for owners and contractors in the construction sector, the dispute resolution team at Ashurst is spearheaded by Ronnie King. The group was recently strengthened by the recruitment of construction sector expert and senior associate Stephanie Cameron from Norton Rose Fulbright's Melbourne office. The Tokyo-based team works closely with the firm's Singapore office in acting on Singapore-seated arbitrations for a Japanese client base with the additional support of the Korea desk from the firm's Hong Kong office.

Practice head(s):

Ronnie King

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Cameron

K&L Gates

K&L Gates' dispute resolution team covers a range of arbitrations, commercial disputes, as well as civil and criminal court proceedings. Team leader Takahiro Hoshino's has particular experience in international labor law and represents Japanese and international clients in the financial services, technology, healthcare, aviation, and leisure sectors. Nobuki Wada is also a key practitioner within the group with a strong track record in issues such as restructurings, dismissals, mental health matters, and overtime pay.

Practice head(s):

Takahiro Hoshino

Other key lawyers:

Nobuki Wada


O'Melveny advises on a diverse array of contract, antitrust, labour, IP, and bankruptcy law. Practice head and office manager Yoji Maeda is renowned for his work in the financial services sector where he obtained a victory for Citi Group in mass consumer litigation brought against various financial institutions. Counsel Hiroko Nihei handles a wide variety of cross-border matters, including Japanese and US litigations and antitrust investigations, but with a particular focus on international commercial arbitrations.

Practice head(s):

Yoji Maeda

Other key lawyers:

Hiroko Nihei


‘Even though both language translation and unique procedures in Japan pose unique challenges for dealing with litigation matters there, counsel at O’Melveny has the most clear, most direct, and most strategic foreign litigation counsel win the region.’

‘The team is responsive, highly knowledgable, and written product are of high quality. Hiroko Nihei is particularly outstanding. She is very quick to understand even the most complicated parts of a dispute and creates a clear and effective application to Japanese law.’

Key clients

CFJ (Citi Group)

Shinsei Financial

Work highlights

  • In July 2017, O’Melveny won a Supreme Court judgment for CFJ which upheld the validity of a settlement agreement between CFJ and a customer.
  • By the end of 2018, O’Melveny represented Shinsei in 127 cases litigated before the District and High Courts, winning all of them.

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray LLP's dispute resolution practice head Kaede Toh has a particular specialty in anti-bribery, compliance and antitrust litigation both in Asia and elsewhere around the globe. Also experienced in patent litigation, Toh regularly represents leading corporates and their senior executives in high-stakes disputes in the context of investigations, prosecutions, and criminal charges.

Practice head(s):

Kaede Toh


‘Kaede Toh is truly bilingual and perfectly understands both Japanese and US corporate and legal culture. She is very responsive and hardworking.’

Key clients

Taitsu Corporation

Work highlights

  • Ropes & Gray secured a victory on behalf of Taitsu Corporation and its US subsidiary in an investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division of the US DOJ, in coordination with a number of global regulatory agencies.  The investigation centred on an alleged global price-fixing cartel among various suppliers of film capacitors.

Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho

The litigators at Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho are experienced in all forms of dispute resolution, including adjudication, advocacy, arbitration, dispute prevention, expert determination, litigation, and mediation. Jointly led by David T. Miyamoto and senior counsel Haig Oghigian, the group has a strong track record in arbitration matters before the ICC and the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association. Matthew Digby advises international and Japan-based corporations on the importation and distribution of goods in the US, the protection of trade marks, trade secrets and other IP matters and antitrust issues.

Practice head(s):

David Miyamoto; Haig Oghigian

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Digby


‘Squire’s Tokyo office has extensive experience in the practice of international disputes including litigation and arbitration.’

‘Haig Oghigian has broad and in-depth expertise in international arbitration, not only as counsel but also as arbitrator.’