Projects and energy: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune advises international and Japanese clients in major commercial projects. The firm provides advice on the structuring and implementation of projects, specialising in assisting clients in developing financing and security packages. The practice has significant experience in energy and resources projects and transactions, as well as resolving energy and resources-related disputes on an international and domestic level. Regulatory expert Tomoaki Ikenaga co-leads the team with Takashi Akahane, whose experience includes project finance, private finance initiatives, and financial transactions. He advises Japanese ministries, municipalities, and multinationals on infrastructure projects. Also notable in the area is Reiji Takahashi, who specialises in financial transaction, particularly project finance and private finance initiatives.

Practice head(s):

Tomoaki Ikenaga; Takashi Akahane

Other key lawyers:

Reiji Takahashi

Work highlights

  • Acted for Fukuoka International Airport Co. Ltd. (FIAC), which had been granted the right to operate public facility from the Ministry Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) and had executed the project agreement with MLIT, for the purpose of management transfer of Fukuoka Airport from MLIT. This is the first case of privatisation of major airports by way of concession structure initiated by MLIT. AMT acted as a counsel for FIAC.
  • Represented MUFG Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, Development Bank of Japan Inc. and Shinsei Bank, Limited, in a loan facility was provided for the largest wind farm (122MW) in Japan, which is operated by Pattern Energy Group.
  • Acted for Electric Power Development Co., Ltd in an overseas offshore wind power project by acquiring 25% of the shares in Triton Knoll HoldCo Ltd. (Target), a UK holding company established for the offshore wind power business, from Innogy Renewables UK Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of innogy SE, a German company engaged in the renewable energy and electric power distribution businesses.
  • Representing Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development in its investment in the Construction and Operation of the New Passenger Terminal in Khabarovsk  International Airport together with Sojitz Corporation, Japan Airport Terminal Co., Ltd., and PJSC “Khabarovsk Airport”.
  • Acted for The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. and NEC Capital Solutions Limited as arrangers’ counsel for syndicated loan transaction for the submarine optical cable project connecting Japan, Guam and Australia.

Atsumi & Sakai

Atsumi & Sakai is known for advising in the project and energy fields in Japan and overseas for foreign and domestic clients. The practice has particular expertise in offshore wind power in Japan, as well as in regulations around the environment and development. The practice has experience in PPP, PFI, and MICE, drawing from expertise gained in key secondments, including to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and a major foreign solar power company. The team is co-led by Miho NiunoyaTakeshi TakahashiTatsuo TezukaYuko NihonmatsuMichiaki HosoiMakoto FujiiKeita Imaizumi, and Ryosuke Oue. Hiroshi Maeda joined in 2019 from Nishimura & Asahi and brings expertise in PFI/PPP and other infrastructure and energy projects, domestic and overseas.

Practice head(s):

Miho Niunoya; Takeshi Takahashi; Tatsuo Tezuka; Yuko Nihonmatsu; Michiaki Hosoi; Makoto Fujii; Keita Imaizumi; Ryosuke Oue

Other key lawyers:

Hiroshi Maeda

Testimonials

‘Hand-picked projects team that has strong connections in both the public and private sectors’

‘Hiroshi Maeda is a true trusted advisor’

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

Work highlights

  • Supporting Photovolt Development Partners GmbH in the 480 MW photovoltaic power plant project on the island of Ukujima Sasebo, Japan, since its initiation, and providing legal advice on all legal aspects of the mega solar project, including documentation (material agreements related to the project) and preparation of a legal opinion.
  • Advising Mitsubishi Research Institute (MRI) and Fukuoka City on a PFI project 1 to design, build and operate MICE (meeting, incentive, conference, exhibition) in Fukuoka City, Japan).
  • Advising Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd. (MURC) and Nagoya City on a PFI project to design, build and operate MICE in Nagoya City, Japan.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto combines advisory, litigation, and M&A specialisms to cover a range of projects and energy law advice. The firm is known for its international presence and has notable experience in PFI/PPP transactions, international project financing, and representing sponsors, lenders, and other stakeholders in the energy sector. The team is co-led by Masanori Sato, who has particular expertise in infrastructure projects; Takahiro Kobayashi, who advises on a broad range of energy-related transactions; Takeshi Mukawa, who specialises in international matters related to infrastructure and public-private partnership, energy, environment, and climate change; energy and cross-border expert Naoki Ishikawa; and Shigeki Okatani, who has experience in the offshore wind market in Japan. Also notable in the area are Yusuke Suehiro and Yusuke Murakami.

Practice head(s):

Masanori Sato; Takahiro Kobayashi; Takeshi Mukawa; Naoki Ishikawa; Shigeki Okatani

Other key lawyers:

Yusuke Suehiro; Yusuke Murakami

Key clients

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Development Bank of Japan

SB Energy Corp.

Aquila Capital Investment GmbH

JERA Co., Inc.

Kyudenko Corporation

Resona Bank, Limited

Shinsei Bank, Limited

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited

Thai Solar Energy Public Company Limited

Banpu Power Public Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Mizuho and the other MLA’s in a coal power plants construction and project financing transaction in Kobe-city, adjacent to existing steel plant and coal power plants sponsored by Kobe Steel, Ltd.
  • Acted as legal counsel to the issuer Enex Infrastructure Investment Corporation, and Enex Asset Management Co., Ltd. in the initial Public Offering of Enex Infrastructure Investment Corporation.
  • Acted for Hokkaido Hokubu Furyoku Souden Kabushiki Kaisha (a company established by, among others, Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation and Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc.) in the financing of the Northeast Hokkaido power grid construction project.
  • Acted for Banpu Power Public Company Limited as sponsor of an 18 MW solar power plant development project.
  • Acted as JAG Investment Management Co., Ltd. (Japan Asia Group Limited) legal counsel in a series of project finance transactions involving nine solar projects.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Specialising in cross-border energy and infrastructure transactions, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu has experience in renewables, mega-solar, and offshore wind projects, as well as replacement and harbour-related work. In addition, the practice provides expertise in electric and gas sales regulation, advising a range of power utility companies, trading companies, and investors. M&A and real estate specialist Shunpei Tanaka co-leads the practice with Jiro Mikami, who is known for project finance matters, particularly in relation to energy and natural resources projects. Also notable in the team are Takao Higuchi, who has particular experience in energy and infrastructure, including PFI and PPP; Kiyoshi Honda, who focuses on infrastructure and natural resource projects, especially renewable energy; and Yoshifumi Shimoda, who was promoted to partner in 2019 and is experienced in project finance.

Practice head(s):

Shunpei Tanaka; Jiro Mikami

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 Mistui Trust Bank, Limited.

Work highlights

  • Advised the Development Bank of Japan Inc. and Mizuho Bank, Ltd. in relation to Fukouka International Airport K.K. which acquires the concession to operate Fukuoka Airport for 30 years. Senior lenders provide $1.5bn loan to the Fukuoka Airport operator and we represent the senior lenders.
  • Assisted TEPCO HD and its 100% subsidary TEG in the transaction where Toyota Tsusho Corporation made a minority capital investment into TEG.
  • Assisted TEPCO Power Grid in its formation of a joint venture company in Sinagpore with Chubu Electric and ICMG, which JV will make an investment into overseas power transmission  and distribution business.
  • Drafting various agreements (including PPAs, EPC Agreements) and advice on related matters (including financing) in connection with multiple power plants which are owned or to be owned by JERA. JERA conducts fuel business as well as power generation business and will be one of the biggest players in the Japanese energy sector.
  • Advising on various matters with regard to the alliance between Tokyo Electric Power Company Group and Chubu Electric Power Co., Ltd in the fuel and power business (incl. establishment of a joint venture company, JERA)

Nishimura & Asahi

Focused on international transactions, Nishimura & Asahi has particular experience in liquefied natural gas projects, renewable energy, and advising on US and EU sanctions issues. The practice also advises on mining, refinery, IPP, and infrastructure projects for sponsors and lenders. The international team works from multiple locations, including Bangkok, Dubai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Singapore, and Yangon, to provide advice to Japanese clients investing overseas. Maya Ito acts on energy, natural resources, and infrastructure projects, for Japanese and international banks and trading houses, as well as specialising in Indian infrastructure projects. Also notable in the team is renewable energy projects expert Norio Maeda, who has extensive experience in inbound cross-border financing transactions for the Japanese operations of multinational corporations. In 2019 the firm promoted to partner Sadayuki Matsudaira, Jun Katsube, and Nathan Schmidt. Hiroshi Maeda left the firm for Atsumi & Sakai in 2018. Former practice head Mark Tudor has moved to BW Offshore.

Key clients

Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Company Limited

JX Mining & Metals Corporation

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Grasshopper Solar Corporation

Showa Denko K.K.

Tohoku Electric Power Co., Ltd.

Sermsang Power Corp PLC

Nippon Steel Sumikin Metal Corporation (NSSMC)

BW Offshore Ltd.

Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC)

Work highlights

  • Advised MUL on their participation in the Moray East Offshore windfarm project, located in Moray Bay off the northeast coast of Scotland.
  • Advised JX Mining & Metals Corporation, a unit of JXTG Holdings, Inc., on its transfer of shares in the Collahuasi mine and the Los Pelambres mine, two major copper assets in Chile.
  • Acted as lender counsel to Mizuho Bank, Ltd. In a project financing for a 31.75MW solar power plant near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.
  • Represented Grasshopper Solar in connection with its $80m acquisition and subsequent development of a 21.6MW ground mount solar power project in Fukuoka, Japan.
  • Advised Showa Denko on the restructuring of PT. Indonesia Chemical Alumina and the divestiture of its shares to PT Antam Tbk. ICA prepaid the loans from Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Mizuho Bank, Ltd., and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, which were guaranteed by Showa Denko.

City-Yuwa Partners

The ‘remarkably supportiveCity-Yuwa Partners is known for expertise in the renewable energy arena, acting for developers and power generation companies, as well as Japanese banks, financial institutions, and offshore investment companies. Providing ‘extensive knowledge in project financing for renewable energy sectors,’ the practice particularly stands out for advice in relation to solar power and wind power plants. In addition, the practice provides regulatory and compliance support to Japanese electric power companies, as well as representing EPC contractors. The ‘effective and timelyMasamichi Sakamoto leads the team and specialises in the areas of banking, finance, investment fund, real estate, and energy, with an emphasis on cross-border transactions.

Practice head(s):

Masamichi Sakamoto

Testimonials

‘Effective and appropriate legal advices for project financing, especially for renewable energy sectors such as solar power and biomass power investments and for Japan Operating Lease transactions’

‘Appropriate and flexible, in order to understand laws from every legal aspect’

‘Unique and valuable legal services’

‘Superiority of international understanding across domestic business culture and overseas business culture’

‘City-Yuwa Partners is significantly and remarkably superior in terms of understanding the renewable energy sectors especially from the legal aspects’

‘Excellent teamwork based on unique educational system from the firm’s partners to associates’

‘Highly-qualified administrative supports based on excellent total capacity of the legal firm’

‘Masamichi Sakamoto is a stand out’

Yusuke Sugihara, Kenta Ikebe, Masumi Watanabe and Mikiya Yuasa are appropriate and prompt consideration as well as effective in policy determination’

‘Solid teamwork and organization’

‘Masamichi Sakamoto has established and maintained strong and effective personal connections over the domestic market and overseas countries. He has been effectively cooperating and working together with specialists not only in legal areas but also in other related areas’

TMI Associates

TMI Associates provides a range of services in financial matters, including corporate finance, structured finance, project finance, securitisation, REIT, and derivative transactions. The practice is also experienced in advising domestic and foreign companies on power plant projects, notably photovoltaic, wind, biomass, hydro and geothermal power; renewable energy is a particular specialty. Banking, finance and capital markets expert Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi leads the team that advises PPP and PFI projects, as well as assisting with urban redevelopment structuring projects.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi

Key clients

Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN)

Work highlights

  • Acts as Japan counsel to JOIN, one of the partner investors of the concession company to operate the Palau International AirPort in the Project.

Kaynex Law Offices

The project and energy practice team at Kaynex Law Offices has particular experience with renewable energy projects, including representing international and Japanese investors in the acquisition and development of solar projects, representing financial institutions in the financing of solar projects, as well as providing regulatory advice to developers and EPC contractors. The firm also brings expertise in real estate and corporate to the area. Kota Kikuchi leads the team and has experience in a range matters, notably in the renewables field.

Practice head(s):

Kota Kikuchi

Work highlights

  • Represented major international investors on their disposition of a 21.5 MW DC solar project located in Japan to a major Japanese trust bank.
  • Represented major international investors on their disposition of a 98 MW DC solar project located in Japan to a major Japanese investor.
  • Represented major international investors on their disposition of a portfolio of 65 MW DC solar projects located in Japan to a major Japanese energy company.
  • Represented major international investors on their development of a portfolio of solar projects across Japan with the aggregate size of 227 MW DC.
  • Represented a major international investor on its potential acquisition of biomass projects.