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Projects and energy: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune represents international and Japanese clients involved in major commercial projects, providing commercial advice for the structuring and implementation of projects, as well as assisting in developing financing and security packages. The firm has particular expertise in energy and resources projects. Tomoaki Ikenaga co-leads the practice with Takashi Akahane, who focuses on project finance, private finance initiatives and related financial transactions. Other key names in the area include Reiji Takahashi, who specialises in financial transactions, notably project finance and Private Finance Initiatives (PFI); and the English law qualified lawyer Teruma Naito, who handles banking and project finance transactions in the area of power, water, oil and gas, shipping, infrastructure and export credit financings.

Other key lawyers:

Reiji Takahashi; Teruma Naito

Key clients

Electric Power Development Co., Ltd.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

The Iyo Bank, Ltd.

The Daisan Bank, Ltd.

Barclays Securities Japan Ltd.

Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Electric Power Development Co. who sold the shares of an independent power producer company in Taiwan.
  • Advised MUFG Bank, Ltd., The Iyo Bank, Ltd. and The Daisan Bank, Ltd. to provide finances to five mega-solar projects in Japan.
  • Advised Barclays Securities Japan Ltd. on the project bonds for acquiring 12 mega-solar projects.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Combining advisory, litigation and M&A specialists, the Mori Hamada & Matsumoto projects and energy practice handles the full spectrum of advice in the area, including Photovoltaic (PV), offshore wind and biomass. The firm represents sponsors, lenders and other stakeholders in major projects and project finance transactions, and is a go-to for PFI/PPP/infrastructure projects, with a particular focus on concessions for major economic infrastructure. Cross-border work is another core aspect of the practice, an example being advising Japanese entities doing business with foreign partners. The team is co-led by Masanori Sato, Takahiro Kobayashi , Takeshi Mukawa, Naoki Ishikawa and Shigeki Okatani; other key names include project finance specialist Yusuke Suehiro and senior associate Hironobu Noma, who has experience in energy related project finance transactions.

Other key lawyers:

Yusuke Suehiro; Hironobu Noma

Testimonials

‘This farm has a lot of experiences and knowledge of the Renewable Energy Industry (and the Finance regarding it). We have worked together with this firm in wind power projects and the advices by this firm have been very helpful and appropriate (in quality and timing). It assumes to be one of the merits of this firm that this firm has experiences of advising Japanese offshore wind power projects.’

‘Takahiro Kobayashi is a good leader of the Energy Sector of this firm and manages his team properly.’

Key clients

JERA Co., Inc.

Marubeni Corporation

Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) Holdings, Inc., TEPCO Renewable Power, Inc.

Enex Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Development Bank of Japan Kyudenko Corporation

Shinsei Bank, Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised TEPCO Renewable Power, Inc., and TEPCO Holdings, Inc. on the acquisition of a stake in one of the most advanced floating offshore wind projects in the world.
  • Advised a consortium led by a subsidiary of Marubeni Corporation on a concession project of four hydro power plants owned by Tottori Prefecture.
  • Advised The 77 bank, Ltd. on project finance in relation to the development of a 42MW onshore windfirm.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu advises leading power utility companies, trading companies and investors on material energy-related projects, as well as assisting financial institutions in a range of energy law and infrastructure matters. Acting for domestic and international stakeholders, generators, retail energy providers and financial institutions, the firm has particular experience in project finance for renewable energy projects. Shunpei Tanaka  co-leads the team with project finance expert Jiro Mikami; they can draw from a deep well of expertise, not least Takao Higuchi, who focuses on energy, infrastructure and project finance, as well as corporate finance. Other key names are energy specialist Kei Okubo  and Kiyoshi Honda, whose forte is real estate finance.

Practice head(s):

Shunpei Tanaka ; Jiro Mikami

Testimonials

‘Unrivalled deep understanding of JERA’s business.’

‘Kei Okubo, practical and realistic advice.’

‘While there are many law firms with different characteristics, Nagashima Ohno has no barriers between partners, and accessibility to each area of expertise is very high. We have the impression that they are very willing to solve problems together.’

‘The firm has a clear distinction between work carried out by the partners themselves and work carried out mainly by the associate lawyers, but the partners are always the main point of contact. We have the impression that the partners value hearing directly from their clients. This policy enables us to achieve the desired results and speed very quickly, while at the same time receiving a convincing and persuasive opinion.’

‘This firm has a wide network with legal firms all over the world therefore we can get advice from the legal firm where we intend to invest thorguh NO&T. In addition, the laywers in NO&T also have experience and knowledge deeply, so they always provide us orrect and reliable comments and They always review and draft agreement meticulously.’

Key clients

Development Bank of Japan Inc.

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.

The Tokyo Electric Generation Company, Incorporated.

TEPCO Power Grid, Incorporated

JERA Co., Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Group

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited.

Japan International Cooperation Agency

Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc.

ABLE Co., Ltd.

Renova, Inc

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd

Equinix Inc./Equinix Japan Kabushiki Kaisha

Work highlights

  • Represented the Development Bank of Japan Inc. and Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc., respectively, during the formation of the consortium in relation to the Airport Operation of the Seven Airports in Hokkaido.
  • Represented Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Ontario’s Teachers’ Pension Plan in Equis Development Pte. Ltd.’s establishment of Asia-focused renewable and waste investment fund.
  • Represented Equinix Group in relation to its development projects for hyper scale data centers (xScale data centers) located in Tokyo and Osaka.

Nishimura & Asahi

Specialising in project finance, as well as the development and procurement of natural resources, Nishimura & Asahi has broad expertise in the area. In addition to advising on the traditional coal and gas sectors the firm is increasingly active advising on the booming renewables space, notably the offshore wind sector in Japan. The practice handles a range of infrastructure projects, including PFI projects and concession projects based on Japan’s PFI Act and amusement theme parks. In terms of international expertise, the group advises on LNG projects, mining projects, refinery projects, IPP projects and infrastructure across a number of jurisdictions countries; US and EU sanctions issues is another specialism. Tomohiro Sato leads the deep bench of projects, energy and finance experts, key names including Maya Ito, Sadayuki Matsudaira, Norio Maeda and Nathan Schmidt. The firm’s international strength was further boosted in 2020 by the arrival of projects and asset finance expert Adrian Joyce from Norton Rose Fulbright and Alexander Woody from White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Tomohiro Sato

Key clients

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Renova, Inc.

Sonnedix Japan

Tokyu Land Corporation

Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Ltd.

Toyota Motor Corporation

Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co., Ltd.

JX Mining & Metals Corporation

Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

Pattern Energy Group LP

Showa Denko K.K.

Tohoku Electric Power Co., Ltd.

Hudson Sustainable Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Pattern Renewable Energy Fund on the establishment of the largest fund in Japan focused on wind and solar energy investments.
  • Advised Kansai Airports Co., Ltd. on USD 1.85 billion additional financing facility for Kansai Airports on a project finance basis.
  • Advised Renova Inc., a Japanese developer and operator of renewable power plants on a USD 590 million loan agreement by its joint venture company.

Atsumi & Sakai

Strong in the project and energy fields in Japan and overseas, Atsumi & Sakai has particular expertise in offshore wind power in Japan, being a member of the deregulation sub-division of the Japan Wind Power Association (JWPA). The firm handles all stage of investigation, documentation and negotiations, as well as dispute resolution arising from the field. Another benefit for clients is the firm’s knowledge of environmental regulations and other regulation related to project development. The practice is known for its skills in PPP, but also boast experience gained from secondments to the ECA, METI, the Cabinet Office and MLIT, and a solar power company. Key names in the team include Miho Niunoya, who has experience advising on PFI/PPP and construction projects in the infrastructure and energy sectors; and project financing expert Michiaki Hosoi .

Key clients

Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (MRI)

The Japan Research Institute, Limited (JRI)

Photovolt Development Partners GmbH

Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd.

Ernst & Young

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners is known for renewable energy expertise, advising Japanese renewable energy developers, power generation companies, Japanese banks, financial institutions, and offshore investment companies. The firm provides due diligence support to offshore, as well as advising on EPC contracts. Particular areas of growth for the practice are offshore wind projects and regulatory and compliance matters under the Electricity Utilities Industry Law. Masamichi Sakamoto is the go-to name in the team and has experience in the area of banking, finance, investment, real estate and energy, with a strong emphasis on cross-border transactions.

Practice head(s):

Masamichi Sakamoto

Testimonials

‘Mr. Sakamoto provided our bank with their superior capabilities and above uniqueness. They have significantly contributed to effectively supporting and managing our bank’s project financing transactions from every legal aspect, which have been especially for (i) renewable energy sectors such as solar power and biomass power, for (ii) Japan Operating Lease transactions and for (iii) large-scaled property investments of commercial buildings, hotels and etc.’

‘Accurate, proper and sufficient knowledge and experience not only over every letter of law, its article, past judicial precedent but also over every standard, regulations, systems especially of renewable energy sectors such as solar power and biomass power as well as Japan Operating lease. They have largely and effectively contributed to supporting our bank’s various project financing in this sectors.’

‘Put high priority on the clients’ satisfaction: They have provided appropriate and flexible legal advices in accordance with our bank’s consideration and decision from the credit and commercial aspects.’

‘Effective and timely collaboration between Mr. Sakamoto and the other partners and/or associates belonging to City-Yuwa Partners has enhanced their overall capability.’

‘Complementing to the strong supports from City-Yuwa partners with such capability, our bank’s great presence in a financial market in Japan has largely improved.’

‘Strong and efficient as well as gentle leadership: The stand-out City-Yuwa Partners, Mr. Sakamoto’s strong, efficient and gentle leadership has significantly contributed to improving capability, experience and knowledge of his / City-Yuwa Partners’ associates.’

‘Every stand-out partner and associate establish, build-up a well-organized team through the effective communication and thus, the maximized strong team generates their best performance to provide our bank with the desirable and required legal services.’

TMI Associates

Known for renewables expertise, TMI Associates handles a range of solar, wind and biomass projects domestically and overseas. The firm is increasingly active in the growing offshore wind sector in Japan but the broad practice also covers development-type real estate securitization, urban redevelopment structuring projects and PPP/PFI finance. Practice head Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi leads a large team that includes banking, finance and dispute resolution expert Yoshikazu Noma, and project, real estate and structured finance specialists Takenobu Imaeda and Noriko Yao. Another name to note is Mizuki Koshimoto, who has experience in inbound renewable energy transactions, particularly the development and structuring of offshore wind power energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi

Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., Ltd.

Aozora Bank, Ltd.

Eneseed Co., Ltd

EEX

Integrity Partners LLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Integrity Partners LLC regarding the renewable energy projects (Daigo Village 46MW Solar power plant and Miyakonojo 44MW Solar power plant).
  • Adviased Eneseed Co., Ltd. on acquisition of solar power generation facilities.
  • Advised EEX regarding their emergence into the Japanese electricity futures market.

Kaynex Law Offices

The Kaynex Law Offices projects and energy practice has particular experience with renewable energy projects, including representing international and Japan domestic investors in acquisition and development of solar projects, representing financial institutions in the financing of solar projects, and providing regulatory advice to developers and EPC contractors. Founding partner Kota Kikuchi leads the team and acts for local and international clients in the area.

Practice head(s):

Kota Kikuchi

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

Specialising in project finance, Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners advises the lenders, sponsors and business entities across the lifecycle, including due diligence, drafting and negotiation, post-closing matters, and dispute resolution. The firm has experience in deals in the energy sector, notably solar, wind, biomass and thermal electric energy power projects, as well as infrastructure sector matters. Tomohiro Murakami leads the team and is known for expertise in PFI/PPP transactions relating to infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

Tomohiro Murakami

Key clients

Daiwa Lease Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Yasu Swim8 Next-PFI Kabushiki Kaisha, (the borrower) Daiwa Lease Co., Ltd. (the representative of the consortium and the parent company of the borrower) on the financing of a PFI project in Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture involving facilities that utilize residual heat.
  • Advised Tottori Prefectural Museum Partners Kabushiki Kaisha (the project company) Daiwa Lease Co., Ltd. (the representative of the consortium and the parent company of the project company) on a PFI project involving the Tottori Prefectural Museu.
  • Advised Kin Shachi Nagoya Horse-Race Track PFI Kabushiki Kaisha (the project company) Daiwa Lease Co., Ltd. (the representative of consortium and the parent company of the project company) on a PFI project involving the Nagoya Horse-Race Track.