Fintech - Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Specialising in advice to overseas companies entering the Japanese market, the Anderson Mori & Tomotsune fintech practice provides clients with expertise in the core areas of digital bonds, securities tokens, blockchain matters and cryptocurrency, as well as the growing NFT sector. The firm stands out for its regulatory knowledge, which is boosted by its secondment arrangement with the Financial Services Agency of Japan (JFSA). Ken Kawai is experienced advising financial institutions, fintech startups, investors and corporate clients on finance and regulatory matters. He co-leads the team with Kei Sasaki, who focuses on transactions, financial regulation and taxation, and Kunihiko Morishita, who handles domestic and international banking, securities and asset management issues in the fintech space.

Testimonials

‘The scope of research is very broad and provides comprehensive answers to specific issues.’

‘The team is well organized with the lawyers of technology, crypto currency related business, companies act and other domain knowledge which is needed to promote crypto/security token business.’

‘Our first trial of security token offering to general investors with residential real estate in Japan, the team lead us from unknown situation to the successful issuance.’

‘Mr. Ken kawai is familiar with block chain technologies, global crypto currency business and legal practices in security token offering.

‘Mr. Shunsuke Aoki is a specialized lawyer in companies act, especially in security issuance.’

Key clients

Japan Security Token Offering Association

Nomura Securities Co., Ltd.

LVC Corporation (a subsidiary of Line Corporation)

Japan Cryptoasset Business Association

Japan Virtual and Crypto assets Exchange Association

Coincheck Inc.

Huobi Japan Inc.

SBI Crypto Co., Ltd.

Daiwa Securities Group

SBI SECURITIES Co.,Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised SBI SECURITIES on public offering of its blockchain-based digital bonds, which is the first public offering of digital securities in Japan.
  • Advised Coincheck on establishment of its NFT trading platform.
  • Advised LVC, a group company of LINE, on crypto asset lending / borrowing to its users.

Atsumi & Sakai

The renowned fintech practice of Atsumi & Sakai assists financial institutions, start-ups and IT vendors in technical innovations relating to banking, payment services, securities, insurance, money laundering and data privacy. The firm provides comprehensive advice and support on crypto assets exchange service providers on registration, preparation of documents required to be filed with the Financial Services Agency, and on the screening process for registration. Another key practice area is assisting foreign clients in meetings with governmental authorities to consult on the application of laws and regulations and in relation to the Regulatory Sandbox Scheme in Japan. Yuri Suzuki  leads the team and is particularly active in the online factoring group of the Fintech Association of Japan, as well as serving as legal advisor to the Japan Blockchain Association. Also notable in the area is Takafumi Ochiai , who acts for a wide range of clients in the financial and information technology sectors, including related dispute resolution and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Yuri Suzuki

Other key lawyers:

Takafumi Ochiai

Key clients

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG)

The Organization of Global Financial City Tokyo (FinCity.Tokyo)

Fintech Association of Japan (FAJ)

Japanese Bankers Association (JBA)

The Center for Financial Industry Information Systems (FISC)

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)

Cabinet Office

Japan Association of Financial Services Intermediary Business

The Japan Association of New Economy (JANE)

National Strategy Office of Information and Communication Technology, Cabinet Secretariat

Yayoi Co., Ltd.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

The multidisciplinary fintech practice of Mori Hamada & Matsumoto leverages its expertise in technology, financial services regulatory law and intellectual property to advise a range of clients in the area, from traditional players to start-ups. The team is made up of practitioners with hands on experience in regulatory and governmental agencies, including the Financial Services Agency of Japan and the Bank of Japan. A particular area of strength is acting for payments and cryptocurrency clients. Masakazu Masujima focuses on payment services, crowdfunding and insurtech. He co-leads the team with Takane Hori, who handles IT and regulated transactions, with a forte in payment services, cryptocurrency business and banking business; and Atsushi Okada, whose strengths lie in information technology, intellectual property, data protection, cybersecurity and payment services. Another key name in the area is associate Kei Furuichi, who has expertise in financial regulations.

Other key lawyers:

Kei Furuichi; Masafumi Masuda; Masayuki Ishibashi

Testimonials

‘The request is for the preparation of a legal opinion. Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is widely trusted by the public as a law firm. Since the purpose of a legal opinion is generally to ensure legality to a third party, having a strong brand of the firm is a great advantage. With a large number of attorneys in the firm, we have the advantage of being able to consolidate a wide range of issues at once.’

‘Mr Masafumi Masuda has a wealth of knowledge about the blockchain space. In addition, he has a generally high level of technical understanding, as he has prior science undergraduate studies and has knowledge in the computer field. He is also interested in the entertainment industry, including smart phone games. The above background makes him the most suitable person for our consultation area. In terms of his work, his strength is that he is able to provide not only legal advice but also effective advice from a business perspective.’

‘The team and in particular Masafumi Masuda has continued to handle many different matters for us ranging from those concerning mobile gaming applications to block-chain and crypto currency.’

‘Mr. Masafumi Masuda stands out, possess the ability to deal with complex and new legal issues (especially in gaming, blockchain and crypto currency fields) with good problem solving skills, good drafting and legal technical skills, and being quite attentive to detail in his work. He also possess very good interpersonal, written and oral communication skills. Moreover, his client service, commercial awareness and value for money is excellent.’

‘The firm is full of highly specialized lawyers in FinTech. Although it is a new market, not only legal knowledge but also practical knowledge for financial institutions is deep, so legal advice can be provided with peace of mind. I don’t think any other law firm has such a deep understanding of FinTech.’

‘Masayuki Ishibashi has a deep understanding of the law concerning crypto assets and gives a very easy-to-understand explanation to customers and gives quick and accurate advice on complex business issues.’

‘I think Mori Hamada & Matsumoto Law firm is more familiar than other law firms in the field of security tokens, such as organizing structures, extracting problems and proposing solutions, and overseas collaborations.’

Key clients

SBI SECURITIES Co. Ltd

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited

GMO Internet, Inc.

NIUM

Coincheck

JustInCase, Inc.

AXEL MARK, INC.

Fivot

TIS Inc.

MEDIA DO Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised on a security token offering (STO) project conducted by SBI SECURITIES Co. Ltd. (SBI), the largest securities companies in Japan focusing on online businesses. Acted as legal counsel to SBI that offered its corporate bonds through STO. This case was the first case in Japan where STO was conducted in the form of public offering (opposed to private placement) and not only institutional investors, but also individual investors participated in the offering.
  • Singapore-based fintech platform NIUM provides payment infrastructure for consumers, businesses, banks and other financial institutions. Advised NIUM on the business structure, supported the establishment of an internal control and governance system to execute business in Japan and the fund transfer business registration.
  • Advised JustInCase, one of the leading insurtech startups providing unique insurance products via smart phone. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, JustInCase planned the first in market product supporting SMEs and essential workers obtain an insurance cover at no cost, by financial assistance from DAIDO Life. This structure was believed to be impossible under the Insurance Business Act, but MHM worked closely with JustInCase and persuaded the FSA why this structure is legal.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Known for representing major Japanese banks and financial institutions, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu provides advice on business developments and reforms in mobile payment, biometric authentication, blockchain technology, AI, Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and other fintech related fields. In addition, the firm assists with business collaborations and joint ventures as well as the acquisition of fintech start-ups. Particular specialisms for the practice include financial regulations, data protection, cybersecurity, antitrust and tax, as well as the growing cryptocurrencies sector. Soichiro Fujiwara  co-leads the team with Taku Umezawa , who focuses on financial regulations and compliance. Another key name in the area is Keiji Tonomura, whose expertise covers M&A, IP and IT.

Other key lawyers:

Keiji Tonomura

Testimonials

‘Good relationship with the Regulatory authority and high ability to collect information on regulatory trends.’

‘High expertise in a wide range of fields including potential market.’

‘We appreciate Taku Umezawa very much.’

‘Good relationship with the Regulatory authority and high ability to collect information on regulatory trends – Insight into the latest trends in business, services and technology – High presentation and lecture skills for management.’

Key clients

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

Toyota Financial Services Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised BOOSTRY Co., Ltd. in the issuance of Digital Notes by Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
  • Advised Toyota Financial Services Corporation in its launch of a digital money app, TOYOTA Wallet.

Nishimura & Asahi

The experienced fintech practice of Nishimura & Asahi combines strengths in the payment area with regulatory knowledge and a close relationship with the Financial Services Agency of Japan (JFSA). As well as working on crypto assets and new product deals, the firm handles a range of crowdfunding related matters in the fintech space. Naoya Ariyoshi advises a range of banks, trust banks, securities firms, non-bank financial entities and fintech ventures. He leads a strong team that includes Susumu Tanizawa, who specialises in financial regulations, capital markets, asset management and other financial transactions related to fintech.

Practice head(s):

Naoya Ariyoshi

Other key lawyers:

Susumu Tanizawa

Key clients

NAVER Corporation

Japan Financial Services Intermediary Business Association

Nomura Securities Co., Ltd.

KKR Japan Ltd.

Japan Post Capital Co., Ltd.

Rakuten Wallet, Inc.

Crowd Credit, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised NAVER Corporation on the integration of Z Holdings Corporation and Line Corporation, an enormous deal in the FinTech area; both of these major company groups include numerous FinTech subsidiaries and other affiliates involved with e-money, cryptocurrency, and mobile securities. NAVER Corporation is the parent company of LINE Corporation.
  • Assisted Japan Financial Services Intermediary Business Association in the establishment of a self-regulatory organisation for financial services intermediaries, including drafting its self-regulatory rules.
  • Advised Nomura Securities on its launch of an app-based service called “FINTOS!,” which provides various kinds of financial investment information via an app.

So & Sato Law Offices DUPLICATE

Boutique So & Sato Law Offices  specialises in crypto, blockchain and new technologies, advising a range of clients from cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto derivatives providers to blockchain gaming companies. The firm has the core objectives to develop the Japanese crypto market, which includes advising on the implementation of staking services, the integration of DeFi solutions into centralized exchanges and the rollout of stablecoins. Founding partner So Saito  is known for blockchain and crypto industry expertise and acts as a legal advisor in a number of industry organizations, namely the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA), the Japan STO Association, the Fintech Association Japan, the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA) and the Japan DeFi Alliance.

Practice head(s):

So Saito

Testimonials

‘The team is splendidly familiar with global crypto currency related technologies, business and persons. They gave us so many and wide range of advices in our overall blockchain, crypto currency and security token related business.’

‘So Saito covers almost everything.’

‘Not all boutique Japanese law firms can provide global services. So & Sato Law Office is capable of this and they also have deep understanding of technology.’

‘Saito-san is one of the highly respected figure in Japan with regards to blockchain and crypto. As a crypto asset manager, he has helped us with industry specific knowledge.’

Key clients

AltX, Inc.

Animoca Brands Co., Ltd.

HYPERITHM Co., Ltd.

XSL Labs LLC

double jump.tokyo Inc.

Fracton Ventures, Inc.

DeFi Association

Japan Blockchain Association

Japan STO Association

Curvegrid, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised HYPERITHM Co., Ltd. on the legal and regulatory environment in Japan for its business development.
  • Advised AltX, Inc. on the set-up of an institutional service platform for cryptocurrencies in Japan.
  • Advised Animoca Brands Co., Ltd. on Japanese crypto and securities regulations and assisted in the listing of various NFTs.

TMI Associates

TMI Associates is increasingly active in the fintech space, primarily acting for finance and IT industry clients. The firm has experience filing patent applications in connection with block chain technologies, and established a fintech professional service organisation, TMI Fintech desk, to focus assistance in the area. Haruo Narimoto handles investment-type crowdfunding issues in Japan and co-leads the team with Makiko Yamamoto, Arito Ogoshi and Takatsugu Kitajima.

Key clients

FinTech Global Incorporated

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Mitsui & Co. Digital Asset Management Ltd.

Kenedix, Inc.

LIFULL Co., Ltd. and Securitize Japan K.K.

Hash DasH Co.,Ltd

Tosei Corporation

Japan Security Token Association

Work highlights

  • Advised LIFULL Co., Ltd. and Securitize Japan K.K. regarding a system for issuing and assigning security tokens in accordance with the Act on Specified Joint Real Estate Ventures.
  • Advised Kenedix, Inc. regarding their issuance of digital securities in real estate utilizing blockchain technology.
  • Attorney-at-law Haruo Narimoto became a director of Japan Security Token Association, the Japan’s largest community-based unincorporated association regarding crowdfunding and engages in awareness-raising campaigns and study sessions.