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Real estate and construction: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune is known for expertise in cross-border real estate transactions, particularly inbound real estate investments by foreign investors, as well as capital markets transactions. The firm also provides significant J-REIT experience. Key names in the team include Minoru Kobayashi, who is strong in real estate finance, real estate funds, J-REIT transactions and global offerings of J-REITs; Tetsuya Itoh, who primarily advises on structured finance, real estate, finance and commercial and corporate transactions; and Harume Nakano, who represents J-REIT issuers and handles domestic and international banking, securities, asset management, general corporate and capital markets transactions.

Testimonials

‘Minoru Kobayashi and Harume Nakano’s performances are always consistent regardless of the difficulties or complexity of the transactions’

‘Minoru Kobayashi has a tremendous experience and challenging mind to adopt new knowledge into their legal support’

Key clients

Nomura Securities

Japan Retail Fund Investment Corporation

Nippon Prologis REIT, Inc.

Hoshino Resorts REIT, Inc.

Nippon REIT Investment Corporation

Kenedix Office Investment Corporation

Frontier Real Estate Investment Corporation

Japan Logistics Fund, Inc.

Hankyu REIT, Inc.

Renewable Japan Energy Infrastructure Fund, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised JHR, one of the largest J-REITs investing mainly in hotel assets, in acquiring Hilton Tokyo Odaiba, a highly exclusive and a large-scale hotel in the center of Tokyo.
  • Advised Sekisui House Reit, Inc. in acquiring an office facility (Akasaka Garden City) with a total price of JPY 28.7 billion.
  • Advised MCUBS MidCity Investment Corporation in acquiring a hotel property (Vista Premio Hotel Tokyo) with total price of JPY 11.2 billion.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Experienced in the acquisition, development and refinancing of property, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s clients include investors and fund/asset management companies. The firm has a strong J-REIT practice, which it combines with increasing expertise in advising Japanese fund managers who are establishing funds to invest in overseas properties. Eriko Ozawa leads the team and has a particular focus on private real estate funds and investments, as well as real estate financing. Also notable are Satoru Hasumoto, who handles real estate transactions, financing and financial regulation; finance expert Masanori Sato; Naoki Ishikawa, who advises on inward and outward investments in real estate and energy projects; and J-REIT and real estate specialist Masahito Saeki.

Practice head(s):

Eriko Ozawa

Testimonials

‘The MHM team have a great sense of business, so they can tell the difference between legal matters and business judgement’

‘Eriko Ozawa and Satoru Hasumoto stand out’

‘Availability and the ability to apply knowledge and experiences from other cases to tackle changing rules and trends’

‘The team provided practical solution’

‘The team communicated in a timely manner, not only with clients but with the authorities whenever we needed guidance’

‘The team was able to engage firm members with other practices whenever other knowledge was needed to proceed’

Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited

Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. and Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Diamond Realty Management Inc., and Mitsubishi Corporation

Aozora Bank Limited

Goldman Sachs Asset Management Co., Ltd.

PGIM Real Estate Finance

Google Inc.

Government Pension Investment Fund

UBS Asset Management

Baring Private Equity Asia

Work highlights

  • Assisted Diamond Realty Management Inc. in launching the first open-end real estate core fund to be managed by a Japanese fund manager to invest exclusively in U.S. properties.
  • Assisted MBK Real Estate LLC, a wholly-owned US-based subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. in launching the first US fund for Japan-based investors to invest in senior living properties.
  • Advised Daiwa House REIT Investment Corporation, a J-REIT, on a public offering and an acquisition of properties, with the deal value of JPY 70.8 billion.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Specialising in J-REIT work, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu brings expertise in finance, corporate, regulatory and tax law to its real estate practice. The firm is also frequently involved in legislative drafting, as well as having a close relationship with the Association for Real Estate Securitization and being a member of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association. Real estate transaction specialist Shunpei Tanaka leads the team that includes Mami Ikebukuro, who focuses on real estate finance and funds; Hiroto Inoue, who is known for real estate funds, financing and securitization, as well as J-REIT formation; Shinichiro Horaguchi, who advises on domestic real estate transactions; Kenji Utsumi, who represents a number of listed J-REITs and private REITs; Junji Yamanaka, who has expertise in J-REIT and regulatory matters; and Makoto Saito, who specialises in hotels and healthcare properties.

Practice head(s):

Shunpei Tanaka

Testimonials

‘They have strong team work as a firm, and we are comfortable with working with lawyers we have not worked before’

‘All services received have been with high and competitive quality, and the speed is also good’

‘Kenji Utsumi, Masatsura Kadota and Naoki Mochizuki consistently provided excellent services’

Key clients

Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.

Tokyu Land Corporation

Nomura Real Estate Development Co., Ltd.

Hulic Co., Ltd.

ORIX CORPORATION

AEON Co., Ltd.

NTT Urban Development

SHIMIZU CORPORATION

SUMITOMO CORPORATION

ESR Cayman Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Allianz Real Estate GmbH on its first real estate investment in Japan, amounting to €1.1 billion.
  • Advised ESR, a Hong Kong based logistics property development fund, on its listing and initial public offering on November 1, 2019, which was one of the largest deals in the Hong Kong market in 2019 ($1.45 billion).
  • Assisted the merger of two listed J-REITs, Japan Rental Housing Investment Inc. and Nippon Healthcare Investment Corporation.

Nishimura & Asahi

Specialising in cross-border investments, Nishimura & Asahi focuses on real estate finance, as well as providing experience in real estate development. The firm advises on sale, purchase, investment, leasing and management matters in Japan and abroad. On the construction side the practice handles a range of projects and disputes. Japanese real estate finance expert Yoshihiko Kawakami leads the team, that includes Norio Maeda, who advises foreign investors in Japanese real estate through structured transactions; Shintaro Uno, who is known for international construction and infrastructure projects in Asia; and England and Wales qualified associate Natalie Yap, who has particular expertise in contentious proceedings involving construction issues.

Practice head(s):

Yoshihiko Kawakami

Other key lawyers:

Shintaro Uno; Norio Maeda; Natalie Yap

Key clients

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., Ltd.

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Tokyu Land Corporation

Kajima Corporation

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

ORIX Corporation

Mitsui & Co. Asset Management Holdings Ltd.

Mori Trust Co., Ltd.

Tokyo Tatemono Investment Advisors Co., Ltd.

Kajima Real Estate Investment Advisors Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised KIA on all aspects of the deal structure in connection with a large scale urban redevelopment project in the Toranomon 2-chome area in central Tokyo, invested by a consortium of major Japanese companies.
  • Advised East Japan Railway Company in connection with the first transaction for JR East group’s new real estate fund business, which will serve as the foundational design for the client’s future real estate funds and investments.
  • Advised SMBC on the debt financing for the development of five logistics properties in the largest logistics parks, “GLP Alphalink” in Kanagawa, Japan.

Atsumi & Sakai

The ‘very strong team’ of Atsumi & Sakai has ‘deep legal and business understanding', combined with experience in a range of real estate transactions, particularly overseas matters. Structured finance and securitisation are specialities for the firm, who advises on acquisition, development, construction, build-to-suit leases and property management. The practice also represents clients in connection with public offerings and mergers of J-REITs. The practice is co-led by Russell Kawahara, who advises corporate, financial institution and investment fund clients in cross-border real estate transactions; Shuji Koyama, who handles transactions and M&A finance; real estate and finance specialist Makoto Fujii; Eiichiro Hata, whose expertise includes documentation, due diligence and regulatory issues; Miho Niunoya, who focuses on PFI/PPP and construction projects in the infrastructure and energy sectors; and PPP/PFI expert Yuko Nihonmatsu. Also notable is Takafumi Uematsu, who is known for cross-border real estate transactions.

Other key lawyers:

Takafumi Uematsu

Testimonials

‘Takafumi Uematsu is a great choice’

Key clients

CBRE Global Investors Japan KK

Ushijima & Partners

The ‘quick and reliableUshijima & Partners specialises in real estate transactions and real estate securitisation, as well as providing expertise in litigation regarding leases, land pollution and construction. Kohtaro Tamura leads the team and focuses on general real estate and real estate securitisation. Key names for the firm in the area include Osamu Inoue, whose strength lies in real estate matters and construction related transactions; Hiroki Awahara, who is experienced in real estate investment, finance transactions and regulations; and Masahiro Shiotani, who handles real estate transactions, particularly real estate securitisation and real estate financing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Kohtaro Tamura

Testimonials

‘Their response is very quick and supportive for matters we are not familiar with’

‘Hiroki Awahara is professional and very supportive’

‘Ushijima and Partners gave us the best advice and high technical knowledge’

‘The firm is one of the most reliable law offices which many eminent big companies in Japan trust’

‘The strengths of the firm’s practice is that the firm have excellent lawyers who have a lot of lawsuits knowledge and experiences about the real estate transaction in Japan and the fault of the real estate’

‘They offered good services to a client by a system which is very flexible and stable’

‘Inoue Osamu is an expert about the land pollution, the fault of the real estate and the law about the real estate transaction in Japan. He gave very accurate advice and has great experiences and knowledges about the real estate transaction in Japan’

Key clients

Urban Renaissance Agency

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented the lead defendant, Urban Renaissance Agency, in a case brought by a local government as the owner of a world-renowned symphony hall for JPY 2 billion in damages against our client as the seller of the hall and seven of its designers and contractors when the ceiling of the symphony hall collapsed during the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners advises local real estate developers, brokerage companies, real estate asset managers, sovereign fund, investment fund and REITs in a range of matters. The firm focuses on investment in real estate, disputes and advising on the development of new properties. The practice also has experience in warehouse and hotel properties, as well as in shopping malls and residentials. Construction specialist Yoshiko Koizumi co-leads the team with real estate experts Shigeaki Itoh and Junko Hirakawa.

Other key lawyers:

Arata Nomoto; Masamichi Sakamoto

TMI Associates

Active in a range of domestic and international real property and real estate matters, TMI Associates also provides expertise in securitisation, projects, construction and structured financing. The firm advises transaction arrangers, sponsors, originators, trustees and lenders. Structured finance and securitisation expert Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi leads the team that includes Haruo Narimoto, who specialises in capital markets and real estate matters.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi

Key clients

Bit Realty, Inc.

Mullion Co., Ltd.

Nomura Securities Co., Ltd.

Tosei Corporation

LaSalle Investment Management

Aozora Bank Ltd.

Hotel Management Japan International

Roxy-Pacific Holdings

Mizuho Trust & Banking Co,Ltd.

Unizo Holdings

Work highlights

  • TMI provided advice to Hudson Japan K.K. on the exit strategy for a large-scale investment in bulk of wooden apartment buildings, not typical and hard to be subjects of investment by REITs or other funds.
  • Advised Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation on structuring the sale to high-net-worth individuals of securitized instruments for real estate investment.
  • Advised Mitsui & Co. Digital Asset Management Ltd. on issuing security tokens investing in real estate and utilizing blockchain technology.

Kaynex Law Offices

Kaynex Law Offices advises on a broad spread of financing and investment issues related to real estate. The firm specialises in banking financing, as well as being active in the J-REIT market. Practice head Eiichi Nagai handles real estate acquisitions, TK-GK structures, TMK structures, J-REIT and real estate securitisation.

Practice head(s):

Eiichi Nagai