Rising Stars: Bengoshi

Real estate and construction: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

At Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise), the real estate and construction group sits within the firm’s broader projects practice. Housing both foreign and Japanese law qualified practitioners, the team is well versed in both inbound and outbound matters, especially large-scale project development in the energy and infrastructure industries. Offering strategic advice on real estate acquisitions, disposals, financing, leasebacks and portfolio restructurings, the group is prominent in a wide range of sectors, including leisure, logistics, and hospitality. Ean Mac Pherson, who is especially sought after to assist contractors and project developers with renewable energy projects, leads the team alongside Seishi Ikeda. Ikeda alongside Akiko Hosokawa and Taijiro Suzuki has extensive experience advising on cross-border real estate acquisitions, disposals and financing. Also noted are M&A expert Chris Hodgens and Maki Mawamura, who often handles matters involving office, residential, commercial and retail projects.

Practice head(s):

Ean Mac Pherson; Seishi Ikeda

Other key lawyers:

Chris Hodgens; Akiko Hosokawa; Taijiro Suzuki; Maki Mawamura

Key clients

Nomura Real Estate


Vena Energy

Pacifico Energy KK

Total Solar International and SB Energy Corp

Forest Energy

Wyndham Vacation Clubs Asia Pacific

Pacific Century Group


China Merchants Commercial REIT

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)

Work highlights

  • Advised Air Trunk on its development of +300 MW data centre campus in Inzai, Japan through TMK structure.
  • Acted for Pacifico Energy on the development, construction and financing of a 121 MW solar power generation plant in Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture.
  • Assisted Nomura Real Estate with the redevelopment of a complex consisting of residential, office, commercial, and hotel buildings and three temples and shrines.

Clifford Chance

At Clifford Chance, the real estate practice works alongside the firm’s dispute resolution and finance team to assist domestic and international investors, developers, banks and funds with the full gamut of real estate matters. Of particular note is the practice’s broad expertise, which spans asset acquisitions and divestments, developments, M&A, joint ventures and equity capital raisings. Real estate specialist Eiichi Kanda heads up the group, which include Leng-Fong Lai, who often acts for sponsors and financiers on real estate investment and financing, and banking and finance expert Yusuke Abe. Another key names is counsel Yoshiaki Shimizu, whose practice spans real estate development, structured finance and fund regulations.

Practice head(s):

Eiichi Kanda

Other key lawyers:

Leng-Fong Lai; Yusuke Abe: Yoshiaki Shimizu

Key clients


CBRE Investment Management

Allianz Real Estate


Westmont Hospitality Group

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers

Tokyu Livable Inc

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

Mitsubishi Corporation

Partners Group

Work highlights

  • Advised CBRE Investment Management on its acquisition of a portfolio of 13 residential properties from Invincible Investment Corporation.
  • Acted for a group of banks, including JBIC, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Mizuho Bank, Ltd, on the development and financing of a 718-megawatt natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Bangladesh, developed by JERA Co., Inc and Reliance Power Limited.
  • Assisted Allianz Real Estate with its investment in prime multi-family residential assets in Tokyo using the platform of Allianz Real Estate Asia-Pacific Japan Multi-Family Fund, a closed-end fund newly formed in partnership with Ivanhoé Cambridge.

Herbert Smith Freehills

With both contentious and non-contentious capabilities, the real estate group at Herbert Smith Freehills is geared to handle the full lifecycle of construction and infrastructure projects for contractors, investors and project owners. The team is prominent in the energy, transportation and natural resources industries and is frequently sought after to advise on complex construction disputes, including international arbitration, litigation and mediation cases. Elaine Wong heads up the practice and is recommended for complex cross-border disputes and international arbitration and investigation. David Gilmore often handles complex arbitration cases, anti-corruption compliance and internal investigations, with a focus on the manufacturing, TMT and energy sectors. Other key names include James Allsop and Yosuke Homma. Craig Shepherd has reallocated to the Kuala Lumpur office to set up a new construction and infrastructure practice.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Wong

Other key lawyers:

David Gilmore; James Allsop; Yosuke Homma; Craig Shepherd

Key clients

First Gen Corporation

Mitsui & Co., Ltd

Sumitomo Metal Mining

Hitachi Construction Machinery

Work highlights

  • Represented TTCL Public Co. Ltd against a Vietnamese state-owned entity in claims before the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre arising in relation to a processing plant in Southeast Asia.
  • Advised a major Japanese company in connection with an international arbitration under the rules of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre concerning delays and disruption to the completion of an urban rail project in Southeast Asia.
  • Acting for a Japanese conglomerate on issues of non-payment arising out of a long-term off-take agreement for a plant in Sri Lanka.

Morrison Foerster

Morrison Foerster‘s real estate practice is equipped to assist clients with a broad range of real estate asset types and the full lifecycle of real estate investment, from fund formation, acquisitions and real estate financing to dispositions and public offerings. The team is jointly led by managing partner Masahiro Shiga, whose expertise spans private equity, project finance for renewable energy transactions and real estate investment trusts, and Theodore Seltzer. Seltzer focuses on representing domestic and international investors in real estate finance transactions and distressed loan portfolio acquisitions. Joshua Isenberg is recommended for office, industrial, hotel, retail and mixed-use projects. Narutake Takasu is especially sought after to handle general corporate matters as well as sales, acquisitions and leasing transactions for corporates. Junichi Kurokoshi regularly acts for banks and private funds on asset management matters for commercial and residential properties.

Practice head(s):

Theodore Seltzer: Masahiro Shiga

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Isenberg; Narutake Takasu; Junichi Kurokoshi

Key clients

Asia Pacific Land (Japan) Limited

Angelo, Gordon & Co

Credit Suisse

Farallon Capital

Bentall GreenOak Investment Management

Savills Investment Management


Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation



GLP Pte. Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Macquarie’s real estate division in connection with its initial significant minority investment in UI Holding Ltd., a real estate investment and development platform with a focus in the industrial and logistics sector in Japan and China.
  • Represented Sekisui House, Ltd, Japan’s largest homebuilder and leading diversified developer, in its acquisition of US homebuilder Holt Group Inc, one of the largest private homebuilders and land developers in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Advised GLP Pte Ltd on the establishment of the largest ever Japan-focused private real estate fund,  the GLP Japan Development Partners IV, which will have $9.1bn in assets under management when fully deployed.

White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association)

The real estate group at White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) advises developers, institutional investors, investment funds, banks and corporates on both outbound and inbound real estate matters. Led by Mizuho Yamada, Matthew Secomb and David Robertson, the team is geared to handle all stages of the real estate investment cycle, including acquisitions, dispositions, financings, project development and construction disputes. From Singapore, Secomb represents leading Japanese clients in arbitration cases under the ICC and UNCITRAL rules. Yamada is especially sought after to advise on data centre projects and Robertson is a key contact for international arbitration matters involving energy and infrastructure projects across EMEA and Asia. Another name to note is Ayako Kawano, who has extensive experience handling real estate fund formation, acquisitions and dispositions.

Practice head(s):

Mizuho Yamada; Matthew Secomb; David Robertson

Other key lawyers:

Ayako Kawano

Key clients

Canadian Solar



Starwood Capital Group

Yamauchi No.10 Family Office

Work highlights

  • Advised Starwood Capital Group on its tender offer for Invesco Office J-REIT, Inc, a listed J- REIT in Japan, for  ¥22,500 per investment unit, with an enterprise value of approximately$2.3bn.
  • Acted for ESR on its acquisition of an Osaka data centre asset, as part of a planned $2.15bn project.
  • Assisted ESR Singapore with the disposal of interests in ESR Yatomi Distribution Centre, to M&G Asia Property Fund, valued at $200m.

DLA Piper Tokyo Partnership Gaikokuho Kyodojigyo Horitsu Jimusho

Led by Mitsuharu Kataoka, the real estate practice at DLA Piper Tokyo Partnership Gaikokuho Kyodojigyo Horitsu Jimusho handles the full range of real estate matters, including acquisitions and dispositions, financings, commercial lease agreements and regulatory issues. The team leverages the firm’s global network to assist domestic and international clients with both inbound and outbound transactions. Often collaborating with the firm’s finance, projects and restructuring group, Kataoka advises on securitisation transactions, leases, acquisitions and concessions of office, residence, retail and data centre projects.

Practice head(s):

Mitsuharu Kataoka

Key clients

Hyatt Regency Osaka (HRO)

Marriott International

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers

Dentsu Group


Nippon Steel Kowa Real Estate

American Eagle Outfitters

Bristol Myers Squibb


Gaw Capital Partners




Merlin Attractions Operations


Marriott Vacations Worldwide

The Bank of New York Mellon


Aston Martin Legonda

Arthur J. Gallagher

Work highlights

  • Advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the relocation of its Tokyo office and its new lease agreement with an institutional landlord.
  • Acted for LEGOLAND Japan on its agreement with Japanese and foreign contractors to manufacture and install attractions in an amusement park in Japan.
  • Assisted Nippon Steel Kowa Real Estate with its acquisition of US residential properties through its US subsidiary.

Greenberg Traurig Tokyo Law Offices

With both Japanese and international qualified practitioners, Greenberg Traurig Tokyo Law Offices‘ real estate group is often sought out by private equity houses, asset managers, investors and developers to advise on both inbound and outbound real estate investment transactions. In addition to its strong expertise in real estate fund formation matters, the practice is noted for its track record in hospitality, data centre and digital infrastructure projects. Joel Rothstein, who is a key contact for cross-border joint ventures and property acquisitions and dispositions, leads the team alongside Mori Inada, who is a popular choice among private equity firms and financial institutions. Real estate fund formation and management, licensing, and regulatory matters are the area of expertise of Makoto Koinuma. Yuko Ino and Koh Ueda joined from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in June 2023.

Practice head(s):

Joel Rothstein; Mori Inada

Other key lawyers:

Makoto Koinuma; Yuko Ino

Key clients

abrdn Japan Limited


Allianz Real Estate

Aman Hotels and Resorts




Fortress Investment Group

GI Capital Management Limited



Grand Harbour Investment Management

Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos

IGIS Asset Management

Japan Post Bank

Keeyls Inc.

Kensho Capital

Kokyo Asset Management Co., Ltd


Las Vegas Sands

LaSalle Investment Advisors


M&G Real Estate

MEC Global Partners Asia

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

Nomura Capital

Norinchukin Bank


OAKTON Holdings KK

Oshidori International

RTek Inc

Savills Investment Management

Shinsei Bank No

SMBC Trust Bank

Starwood Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised leading international private equity funds, including AEW, Starwood Capital and Savills Investment Management, on the structing, acquisition and financing of portfolios of multifamily housing projects across Japan’s Key markets.
  • Acted for international fund sponsors and Japanese institutional fund investors ranging from MetLife, Europa Capital and Rialto on the marketing, subscription and strategic investment in more than a dozen real-estate funds.
  • Assisted resort and hotel developers and investors from Hard Rock Japan, Las Vegas Sands and Oshidori International with resorts, hospitality and entertainment ventures across Japan.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP‘s real estate team advises asset managers, investment firms, private equity funds and insurance companies on cross-border acquisitions, financings and joint ventures.  Yuko Ino and Koh Ueda left for Greenberg Traurig in June 2023.

Key clients

Fortress Investment Group Japan

Manulife Life Insurance Company

Loadstar Capital

Westbrook Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Fortress Investment Group Japan on the acquisition of 29 Kanpo-no-Yado hotels by special purpose companies formed by Fortress’s affiliate with the transfer of approximately 3,000 employees from Japan Post Holdings Co. to Fortress’s affiliate, MyStays Hotel Management Co.
  • Acted for Manulife Life Insurance Company on the ¥19.8bn joint venture with Kenedix Inc, a global real estate investment business, and the acquisition of 9 assets located in major cities in Japan by the joint venture.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

At Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, the real estate practice sits within the firm’s broader construction, energy and infrastructure group. The team is prominent in the power, petrochemicals, infrastructure and oil and gas industries, where it acts for major trading houses, contractors and financial institutions on construction disputes, project development and finance transactions. Simon Barrett heads up the team advises on the acquisition and disposal of project assets, trade sanctions and compliance matters. Barret works alongside Olivia Matsushita.

Practice head(s):

Simon Barrett

Other key lawyers:

Olivia Matsushita

Key clients

Osaka Gas Co., Ltd

Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd

JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation

GS Energy Corporation

Sojitz Corporation

Kawasaki Heavy Industries

Mitsui & Co., Ltd and MOECO

First Solar

Chiyoda Corporation

IHI Corporation

Metal One Corporation

Forte Energy NL

MNG Gold Jersey Limited

Kajima Corporation

JGC Corporation

Kirin Corporation

Hikari Miso

Korean West Power Company

Work highlights

  • Advised METI on the hydrogen regulatory framework in the US and the UK and the Japanese Government’s implementation of a strategic regulatory framework for future hydrogen business in Japan.

Withers Japan, Zeirishi Houjin

Established in 2018, the real estate practice at Withers Japan, Zeirishi Houjin handles the full spectrum of real estate financing work across the residential, commercial and industrial property sectors. The group attracts a roster of leading investment and asset management firms seeking assistance with a wide range of matters, most notably real estate acquisitions and dispositions, financings, leasing matters and property M&A. Structured and acquisition finance expert Gerald Fujii shares the practice’s leadership with Naoki Ueyama, Steven Wheeler and Toshihiko Tsuchiya, who is qualified in both Japan and New York. Ueyama is specialised in real estate finance while Wheeler focuses on licensing matters, onshore and offshore ventures and bank lending.

Practice head(s):

Gerald Fujii; Naoki Ueyama; Steven Wheeler; Toshihiko Tsuchiya

Key clients

Alyssa Partners Japan


CLSA Capital

Deutsche Bank

Fortress Real Estate Asia

JP Morgan

LaSalle Investment Management

Maiora Asset Management Pte Ltd

Mapletree Investments

Morgan Stanley


PAG Investment Management Ltd

Shinsei Bank

Starwood Capital Asia Limited

Jones Day

Led by Katsumi Shirai, the real estate team at Jones Day advises global financial institutions, investment funds and multinational companies on real estate investment transactions, financings and energy project acquisitions across Asia, especially Japan.

Other key lawyers:

Katsumi Shirai

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown GJBJ is particularly known for its strong track record in assisting clients with high-value projects, construction disputes ad EPC matters across the infrastructure, energy, chemicals and transportation sectors. Rupert Burrows heads up the team and advises trading houses, utility companies, banks and EPC contractors on complex project development. Burrows works alongside counsel Brett Thornton.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Burrows

Other key lawyers:

Brett Thornton

Key clients

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd

IHI Corporation

Sumitomo Corporation

Hitachi, Ltd

Toshiba Corporation

Central Japan Railway Company

Work highlights

  • Advised a consortium, including Central Japan Railway Company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Hitachi, Toshiba, and NEC, on the Texas Central High Speed Rail Project, a fast-train system between Dallas and Houston.
  • Acted for Sumitomo Corporation on the EPC for the Tauhara Geothermal Power Plant in New Zealand.
  • Assisted Sumitomo Corporation in resolving force majeure issues in relation to the EPC contract for the Matarbari Project in Bangladesh due to the Covid-19 pandemic and severe weather outages.