Labour and employment: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

At Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise), practice head Tomohisa Muranushi ‘has built up a tremendous team of really competent professionals’ and the practice offers a ‘quick response and a highly detailed service’. Employment litigation forms a key part of the group’s work, with the practice often appearing before district courts, and the team also has notable experience handling negotiations with labour unions, assisting with policy development and advising on restructurings and reorganisations. The group also utilises the firm’s global network to handle cross-border work. Counsel Daichi Kiriyama is a key name to note, and is particularly highlighted for his knowledge of the employment elements of global transactions.

Practice head(s):

Tomohisa Muranushi

Other key lawyers:

Daichi Kiriyama


‘In addition to a customer-oriented service, there are a wide variety of professionals with expertise, and they can respond appropriately to any situation.’

‘Tomohisa Muranushi has always been very responsive and has a good team under him.’

‘Tomohisa Muranushi has built up a tremendous team of really competent professionals. We felt comfortable with him and his team as their services have always been reliable and trustworthy.’

DLA Piper Tokyo Partnership Gaikokuho Kyodojigyo Horitsu Jimusho

DLA Piper Tokyo Partnership Gaikokuho Kyodojigyo Horitsu Jimusho‘s team is ‘able to anticipate common issues for international clients operating in Japan’ and is particularly strong at investigations. ‘Knowledgeable, collaborative and business savvy‘ practitioner Keiji Nasuda leads the team in Tokyo; he regularly appears in labour tribunals and is well supported by senior associate Koji Ohtani, whose work centres around assisting international clients with workforce reductions, harassment cases and investigations in Japan. Other recent areas of work for the group, which handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious work, include providing general compliance advice and assisting with employee due diligence processes.

Practice head(s):

Keiji Nasuda

Other key lawyers:

Koji Ohtani


‘DLA Piper is our legal partner in employment related partners – very professional and responsive, and guided us to balance our risks and options.’

‘Keiji Nasuda is very knowledgeable, collaborative, and business savvy. He strategises and plans ahead and has a good work ethic.’

‘Offers practical advice that is easy to understand. Takes time to explain the nuanced areas of Japanese employment law and is able to anticipate common issues for international clients operating in Japan. They are great at listening to the client’s issues attentively and are incredibly patient. They analyse the issues and propose tailored solutions. I worked with Keiji Nasuda, who has all the qualities mentioned.’

Key clients


Cisco Systems

Gilead Sciences, Inc

Domo, Inc

K&L Gates

Tokyo-based K&L Gates ‘considers local laws as well as the needs of the client‘ and focuses exclusively on representing management-side clients in employment matters. The practice has seen an increase in contentious work and, on the advisory side, acts for a variety of public and private employers at a domestic and global level, leveraging the firm's large global network; it is particularly noted for its retail. banking and manufacturing sector expertise. Heading up the team are workplace dispute expert Takahiro Hoshino and managing partner Ryan Dwyer, while Nobuki Wada is also noted for his experience in employment litigation including dismissals and mental health-related issues.

Practice head(s):

Takahiro Hoshino; Ryan Dwyer

Other key lawyers:

Nobuki Wada


‘K&L gates is the best partner for us because they can give useful and appropriate support for our issues. We haven’t found any other firm which can provide such a great contribution to us.’

‘Their guidance is very helpful for us to avoid any confusion and misunderstanding.’

‘They consider local laws as well as the needs of the client. This is very helpful for us to make appropriate decisions.’

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Carol Tsuchida and Mitsuyoshi Saito, who is dual qualified in Tokyo and New York, lead Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP‘s labour and employment practice, which provides clients with advice on all aspects of employment issues, concerning both employees and former employees. Standout recent mandates have included advising international employers on regulation compliance, employment policies, and agreement drafting. At associate level, Nao Sato Terashima is also qualified to practice in New York, and assists clients with employment issues arising from corporate matters.

Practice head(s):

Carol Tsuchida; Mitsuyoshi Saito

Other key lawyers:

Nao Soto Terashima

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is able to provide Japanese law advice to international clients, and is highlighted for its knowledge of the technology industry while handling work across a variety of sectors. Practice head Yumiko Ohta is ‘excellent at both non-contentious and contentious matters’ and ‘has strong labour and employment expertise both in Japan and the US’. Senior associate Kane Huang is also able to advise on a range of employment matters domestically and internationally.

Practice head(s):

Yumiko Ohta

Other key lawyers:

Kane Huang


‘Yumiko Ohta understands our business and our company culture and has leveraged such understanding when giving us advice. She is very responsive and approachable. She is excellent at both non-contentious and contentious matters.’

‘Orrick Japan is a group of global legal professionals and they can cover a wide variety of topics. Their expertise in the technology industry is a plus.’

‘Yumiko Ohta has very unique skills and experience. She has strong labour and employment expertise both in Japan and the US. Japan has a very unique labour law compared to other countries. Therefore, strong expertise and experience both in Japan and the US is unique.’