Investment funds: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

The deep bench at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP includes practice heads Carol Tsuchida and Tomoko Fuminaga, who lead the team which collaborates with the firm’s global investment management practice, which fields practitioners across the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The group’s diverse workload includes assisting clients with establishing, operating, registering and licensing investment funds and acting for fund-related investment intermediaries in Japan. Christopher Wells departed from the firm in September 2022, followed by the departure of Kyoko Nagano in October 2023.

Practice head(s):

Carol Tsuchida; Tomoko Fuminaga

Other key lawyers:

Tadao Horibe

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is a go-to firm for fund formations in Japan and the rest of Asia, leveraging its long-standing presence in the region. Team co-leader David Azcue in Tokyo has a strong track record of advising clients on private fund formations and fund raisings in Japan. As a group, practitioners are instructed by major Japanese tax advisers which are active in fund formation projects, and the group also works closely with the firm's Hong Kong-based funds team on cross-jurisdictional work. Other key team members include associates Mai Kristofferson and Lily Rasel; Rasel assists private equity, venture capital and real estate fund sponsors with structuring and regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

David Azcue

Other key lawyers:

Lily Rasel; Mai Kristofferson

Key clients

Advantage Partners

Affinity Equity Partners


Ant Financial Service Group

Aspirant Group


Brummer & Partners

CapSquare Asia Partners


CLSA Capital


Delos Capital

Diamond Realty Management



Excelsior Capital Asia


Endeavour United


Integral Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Advantage Partners, Inc. on the formation of the AP VII Series Funds, a ¥130bn (approximately $1bn).
  • Advised J-STAR Co., Ltd. on the fundraising of the J-STAR No.5 Series Funds, a ¥75bn (approximately $633.1m) Japan-focused buyout fund series.
  • Advised Seven Seas Advisors Co., Ltd. on the formation of Seven Seas Japan Opportunity Fund, with aggregate capital commitments of ¥17bn (approximately $130m).


The Linklaters investment funds team has a broad practice which regularly undertakes work of a cross-border nature, and ‘stands out because of its ability to handle a mix of fund formation, as well as fund-related transactional mandates’. The team is instructed by large multinational clients including SoftBank Group. Practice head Eriko Sakata ‘stands out for her understanding of the domestic market, international fund managers and investors’, emblematic of the wider group. Senior associate Sayako Shiraki has a deep knowledge of and good experience in the structuring and execution of offshore investment fund transactions.

Practice head(s):

Eriko Sakata

Other key lawyers:

Sayako Shiraki


‘Eriko Sakata and her team are committed to delivering the outcome in a timely manner, are very transparent in their communication within the team and with the client, and are efficient. They make themselves available when needed.’

‘The Linklaters investment funds team stands out because of its ability to handle a mix of fund formation, as well as fund-related transactional mandates. By being able to understand not only the formation and fundraising process, but the transactions that fund managers execute over the life of the fund, this gives the team a unique set of capabilities that other law firms are not able to as readily deploy.’

‘Eriko Sakata stands out for her understanding of the domestic market, international fund managers and investors, as well as the downstream transactions that are executed post fundraise. She is an excellent conceptual thinker and has built a team of extremely capable lawyers around her.’

Key clients



Deutsche Bank

Development Bank of Japan (DBJ)

Digital Colony Partners

Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF)

Institutional Capital Network Inc. (iCapital)

I Squared Capital

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

Japan Post Bank Co., Ltd.

JBIC IG Partners

JPMorgan Mansart Management

KKR Capital Markets Japan Ltd.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts

LINE Corporation

Marubeni Corporation

Mitsubishi Corporation

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

MM Capital Partners Co., Ltd.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Ardian SAS on structuring, formation, and Japanese placement of its hydrogen fund, Clean H2 Infra Fund.

Shearman & Sterling

Located in Tokyo, Shearman & Sterling’s asset management and fund formation practice in Japan concentrates on handling fund formations involving Japan-focused funds or Japan-based funds, assisting with private fund investments, and advising investment management companies on regulatory issues. Standout recent mandates for the group, led by Etienne Gelencsér, include high-value work involving offshore fund structuring issues and fundraisings. The practice's client base features large banks, such as the Development Bank of Japan, and asset management companies.

Practice head(s):

Etienne Gelencsér

Other key lawyers:



Key clients

DBJ Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Development Bank of Japan Inc

Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF)

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

Work highlights

  • Advising Japan Industrial Partners Inc. on its offshore fund structuring and fund raising in connection with its public tender offer buy-out for Toshiba Corporation.

Withers Japan, Zeirishi Houjin

Withers Japan, Zeirishi Houjin‘s dedicated investment funds group concentrates on assisting domestic and international investment managers and financial institutions with complex matters involving Japan financial laws and regulatory issues relating to running businesses in Japan. Koji Yamamoto and Yoshiyuki Omori, who jointly head up the team, undertake a diverse workload including acting as local counsel on open and closed-ended funds, and often provide related tax assistance, as well as advice on fund formations and financial instruments dealer registrations.

Practice head(s):

Koji Yamamoto; Yoshiyuki Omori