Next Generation Partners: Bengoshi

Rising Stars: Bengoshi

Private wealth: Independent local firms in Japan

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

In tandem with the firm’s tax practice, the private wealth practice at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto provides a ‘unique‘ one-stop-shop service to its clients, spanning M&A, corporate reorganisations and estate planning. Practice co-head and ‘leading expert‘ Atsushi Oishi advises an extensive client list, including both wealthy individuals and listed and private companies, on cross-border transactions. The firm’s strong litigation practice further bolsters the private wealth team; Makoto Sakai, who leads the team alongside Oishi, has a wealth of experience in tax investigations and tax litigation for high-net-worth individuals and Hiroshi Oyama handles tax disputes, providing ‘accurate and reliable‘ advice. Senior associate Yoshihiko Abe advises high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on a range of wealth management planning matters. Promoted to partner in 2023, Koyo Madakoro is a licensed tax accountant who specialises in wealth management. Tax accountant Yuko Maruyama is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Atsushi Oishi; Makoto Sakai

Other key lawyers:

Hiroshi Oyama; Koyo Madakoro; Yoshihiko Abe; Yuko Maruyama


‘Their answer is always satisfactory to the client and the client respects their professional attitude and advice in practice.’

‘Mori Hamada & Matsumoto has a unique offering in the field of private wealth that is not seen in other law firms in Japan. They have specialised expertise and strengths not only in legal matters, but also in taxation and trusts.’

‘We consider Oishi to be a leading expert in family governance in Japan. When supporting family governance for large family businesses, we heavily rely on Oishi’s expertise.’

Oyama has gained high trust in taxation judgment due to his experience as a secondee to the National Tax Authority. Not only do we rely heavily on Oyama for supporting family businesses, but we also rely on him for cases where taxation is a difficult problem. We always find Oyama’s advice accurate and reliable.’

‘The firm covers both legal and tax practices for UHNW individuals and families in Japan. The team also maintains a tax accountant office. For business families, such nature of MHM’s Wealth Management team is positively accepted.’

‘Atsushi Oishi is the partner leading MHM’s wealth management practice team. He is active in sourcing potential clients from major financial institutions, wealth managers, and within their firm. His way of thinking is to avoid legal disputes among family members and/or families against other stakeholders for the benefit of his clients. It makes wealth management clients a bit comfortable compared with other major law firms to face legal disputes.’

‘Koyo Madokoro is a certified tax accountant in Japan and a partner of MHM’s wealth management team. His expertise is rooted in his experience at tax accounting firms and it makes wealth management clients more comfortable’.

Work highlights

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

At Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, the private wealth team has particular strengths in trust matters and structured finance; Masayuki Fukuda is an expert in both trusts and inheritance matters. With its established reputation in the tax market, the firm is also able to advise high-net-worth individuals from both a legal and a tax perspective. Along with Yushi Hegawa, who has ‘extensive working experience in dealing with cross border wealth management‘, Shigeki Minami brings tax and M&A expertise to the team. In addition to advising on domestic matters, the practice has a strong cross-border component; Singaore-based M&A expert Yoshikazu Hasegawa advises Japanese clients on their asset successions and investments, providing ‘a blend of Singapore and Japanese expertise.’

Other key lawyers:

Masayuki Fukuda; Shigeki Minami; Yushi Hegawa; Yoshikazu Hasegawa; Tsutomu Endo


‘The Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu team is well-versed in local and foreign investments and is very responsive. Whenever we have any questions regarding our private wealth clients’ activities in Asia, it is our “go-to” firm. In addition to offering solid legal advice, it is also sensitive to the commercial aspects of transactions and also to local concerns.’

‘The private wealth group is not only responsive to questions, but also goes above and beyond by also considering the commercial and other issues that may be raised. This comprehensive advice is exactly what clients demand, and combined with the firm’s regional expertise means that we can rely on the team to cover all the bases on a transaction or matter.’

‘We have been particularly impressed with and recommend Mr. Yoshikazu Hasegawa (partner, Singapore), who always offers timely legal advice and appreciates the commercial and other sensitivities of the cross-border investments typically pursued by our clients.’

‘It is rare to find Japanese firms that understand common law trusts. The firm’s Singapore office has just that practice group and will be a good resource for Japanese clients seeking to establish trusts in Singapore.

‘In any situation, this team will solve the problem politely and reliably. Innovation is also important, but stability is the most important, so I am satisfied with this team.’

‘I always consult with Yoshikazu Hasegawa of the Singapore office. There are many lawyers in Japan, but there are few lawyers who can properly handle cross-border asset tax. He is not only in the cross-border corporation matter, but also in the field of private assets, has experience, and is very reliable.’

‘Hasegawa Yoshikazu is always excellent to work with. Instructions given are clear and matters are handled with speediness and efficiency.’

‘Yushikazu Hasegawa provides very practical and easy tax advice for private wealth management and inheritance tax area. He has extensive working experience in dealing with cross-border wealth management.’

Work highlights

  • Provided an expert tax law opinion in support of the client’s appeal in tax litigation in Japan, where the client is seeking cancellation of an income tax assessment.
  • Advised a client on establishing trusts, preparing a family office structure and assisting the setup of a family office involving assets in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Advised on an international transfer of ownership of real estate involving tax law, bankruptcy law, matrimonial law, and real estate registration law issues.

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi fields a comprehensive private wealth practice that caters to a range of clients, from private business owners to shareholders of listed companies to international private investors. The team advises on business succession planning and inheritance matters, including trust funds, tax and estate planning, and counts SMEs as its key clients. Practice co-head Yoshinobu Fujimoto has extensive experience in international taxation and multi-jurisdictional private wealth matters. Counsel Kohei Matano advises on M&A and the division of property. The group also handles family disputes, and practice co-head Masaru Shibahara boasts a dispute practice that spans both claims and litigation in and out of court.

Practice head(s):

Yoshinobu Fujimoto; Masaru Shibahara

Other key lawyers:

Katsuyuki Yamaguchi; Kohei Matano

Work highlights

  • Advising a Japanese citizen residing in New York, whose father (a Japanese citizen residing in Japan) has passed away and negotiating a settlement with the other heirs.
  • Assisting the court-appointed special personal representative of a decedent Japanese citizen, the widow of a US citizen who passed away leaving no children, to locate the decedent’s heirs in Japan and distribute the inheritance in the US.
  • Advising a dual US-Japanese citizen residing in France, whose same-sex spouse is a French citizen and whose adopted child is a UK citizen, who wishes to designate his spouse as the initial recipient of his estate upon his death, and his child as the secondary recipient, after his spouse’s death.

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Kei Sasaki, Yutaka Shimoo and Taku Matsumoto jointly lead the private wealth team at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune to advise on all aspects of wealth management. With Sasaki’s expertise in trusts and finance and Matsumoto’s experience in corporate and M&A matters, the team is well-positioned to advise clients on business and asset acquisition, management and investment, and the succession of businesses and assets. Shimoo’s experience in tax, including his experience at the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau, allows the team to advise on inheritance tax matters. The group acts for a range of clients, from financial institutions to high-net-worth individuals, and has recently expanded its client base with a number of additions, such as Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.

Practice head(s):

Kei Sasaki; Yutaka Shimoo; Taku Matsumoto


‘Both partners and associates are at a high level.’


Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited



Work highlights

  • Advises Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited (SMTB) as lead counsel of SMTB’s wealth management department and receives requests for private wealth matters in Japan and abroad.
  • Advised the management of AIKO CORPORATION as a tender offerer of a management buy-out.
  • Advised DHOWA TECHNOS Co., Ltd. on establishing a holding company to organise the group companies’ capital relationships to improve efficiency and operations as well as to facilitate business succession.

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners‘ private wealth team, jointly led by Shigeaki Itoh and Hitomi Sakai, advises a diverse and international client base, including high-net-worth individuals, family business owners, company founders and investors. The group works closely with tax accountants and financial institutions to handle a full range of matters across wealth management and estate planning which Yuki Takahashi focuses on. The team also has a strong litigation practice, handling matters from negotiation and mediation to civil and criminal litigation, and disputes between family members, and business partners. Ayaka Itoh, who focuses on domestic estate planning and business succession, was promoted to counsel in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Itoh; Hitomi Sakai

Other key lawyers:

Shotaro Aok; Yuki Takahashi, Ayaka Itoh


‘Great cross-border teaming with a US estate lawyer. Bi-lingual capabilities.’

‘Hitomi Sakai has and continues to provide great services to my English and Japanese clients with US and Japan gift/estate tax planning needs.’

‘People in City Yuwa are always very responsive for all the issues that clients raises. They attach importance to collaboration with other professional firms, working together.’

‘Hitomi Sakai is a great attorney who I work with for cross-border estate tax issues. Her knowledge in dealing with Japanese nationals who have global families is very wide and deep.’

Work highlights