Labour and employment: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

The employment team at Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) covers a broad spectrum of industries, most notably tech, healthcare, manufacturing, financial institutions and telecom, where it assist multinational companies with contentious and non-contentious employment matters relating to their operations in Japan. The group’s offering includes workplace policy development, employee matters related to corporate transactions such as M&A and restructurings, dismissals, labour union issues and litigation. Tomohisa Muranushi, whose expertise spans unfair trade regulations, employment disputes and compliance matters, leads the practice. Muranushi is supported by senior associate Daichi Kiriyama, who is often instructed on reduction-in-force projects, labour disputes, internal investigations and employee retention plans.

Practice head(s):

Tomohisa Muranushi

Other key lawyers:

Daichi Kiriyama

DLA Piper Tokyo Partnership Gaikokuho Kyodojigyo Horitsu Jimusho

DLA Piper Tokyo Partnership Gaikokuho Kyodojigyo Horitsu Jimusho’s bilingual team is geared to assist international clients with all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including collective bargaining negotiations with labour unions, internal investigations, reduction-in-force projects, and employment claims. The practice is also recognised for its track record in representing companies in trade secret and restrictive convent disputes against former executive employees. Keiji Nasuda heads up the team and is recommended for labour tribunal and mediation cases, harassment claims and investigations, trade union negotiations and disciplinary actions. Nasuda is supported by senior associate Koji Ohtani, who is noted for its experience in handling labour tribunal matters. Lawrence Carter left the firm in April 2022.

Practice head(s):

Keiji Nasuda

Other key lawyers:

Koji Ohtani


‘Always high level of professionalism and detail.’

‘Very thorough completion on all requests.’

Key clients

Cisco Systems GK

Gilead Sciences, Inc

Syneos Health, Inc

Work highlights

  • Assisted Cisco Sytem GK with all its employment and labour matters in Japan.
  • Acted for a pharmaceutical company on an in-depth review of the classification of all of its employees to determine whether employees are properly classified as exempt or non-exempt managers.
  • Advised a global logistics company with respect to an employee who took highly sensitive employee information when the employee left the company.

K&L Gates

At K&L Gates, the Tokyo-based labour, employment and workplace safety practice is especially focused on representing private and public employers, including domestic and international companies, in disputes against trade unions and former employees. Its offering spans reduction-in-force projects, collective bargaining negotiations, compensation and wage claims, and integration of workforce following acquisitions, among other matters. The firm has significant experience in advising clients in a number of fields, including tech, pharmaceuticals, construction, financial services and healthcare. The group is jointly led by litigator Takahiro Hoshino and managing partner Ryan Dwyer. Another key name in the team is Nobuki Wada, who is noted for his experience in assisting clients with contentious employment matters and workplace-related issues.

Practice head(s):

Takahiro Hoshino; Ryan Dwyer

Other key lawyers:

Nobuki Wada


‘Always responsible despite urgent request, sincere attitudes towards reasonable solutions.’

‘Takahiro Hoshino and Nobuki Wada are recommended.’


Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

International companies turn to Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP‘s labour and employment group for assistance with regulatory compliance, employment policies and contracts, international investigations, and allegations of misconduct. The group works in close collaboration with the firm’s international network to handle employment matters related to cross-border corporate transactions, including M&A and restructurings. The practice’s leadership is split between Carol Tsuchida and Japan and New York-qualified practitioner Mitsuyoshi Saito, who together boasts extensive experience in handling reduction-in-force projects, trade union negotiations, and compensation claims.

Practice head(s):

Carol Tsuchida; Mitsuyoshi Saito

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Working closely with the firm’s US, European and Asian offices, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP‘s Tokyo-based bilingual employment team often acts for both international and Japanese companies on cross-border employment matters, including internal investigations, unlawful dismissal claims, misconduct allegations, and HR policies, among others. Yumiko Ohta, who is especially sought after by foreign companies and their subsidiaries in Japan to handle both contentious and non-contentious work, heads up the group, which includes senior associate Kane Huang, who is dual qualified in California and Japan and is skilled in the full spectrum of employment matters.

Practice head(s):

Yumiko Ohta

Other key lawyers:

Kane Huang