Risk management and investigations: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune provides expertise in a range of bribery, and accounting fraud issues, as well as government investigations, and internal investigations. The broad practice covers healthcare and pharma regulations, domestically and internationally, drawing from the firm’s expertise in offices around the world and a well-established network with audit firms. Innovation is another key selling point for the practice, an example being its legal research platform LION BOLT, which assists legal research via cloud services. The team combines experts in crisis management, corporate compliance and litigation and is co-led by Kazuhilo Kikawa, Yoshihiro Kai, Hidetaka Miyake and Atsushi Nishitani.

Testimonials

‘This law firm is overwhelmingly superior in its brand power. I think it is due to the quality of the lawyers. We can ask for work with confidence.’

‘The level of each associate as well as the partners is the highest quality. Takaharu Matsumura, in particular, we rely on him because he is familiar with appropriate responses. We can trust his advice and explanations because they are easy to understand.’

Key clients

HyAS & Co.Inc

Daiho Corporation

Riso Kyoiku Co. Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acting for HyAS & Co. Inc., the firm assisted in the Third Party Investigation Committee (“Committee”) conduct an investigation on an alleged overstatement of revenues and a failure to report such allegation to the Japan Self-Regulation during the process to promote HyAS shares from the “Mothers” section to the 1st Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
  • Assisting Daiho establish the independent investigation committee after Daiho was informed that the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau suspected that some of Daiho’s employees had engaged in the issuance of padded or fictitious orders to subcontractors and the application of the amount equivalent to the padded or fictitious orders to payment for other services by those subcontractors.
  • Assisted Riso Kyoiku Co., Ltd. establish an Internal Investigation Committee and an External Investigation Committee to investigate the illegal dividend allegations in the 3rd quarter of the fiscal year ending in February 2019 and in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters of the fiscal year ending in February 2020.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Known for ‘significant expertise and experience in the areas of crisis management and investigationMori Hamada & Matsumoto is ‘particularly strong in the crisis response and fraud fields that occurred in capital markets’. The firm acts as counsel to companies and directors and as investigator of internal and independent investigations, domestically and internationally, for cases related to unfair competition, insider trading, accounting irregularities, bribery and corruption. Yasuhiko Fujitsu is a ‘top-leading lawyer with an excellent reputation in the crisis management area’. He co-leads the practice with Hideaki Umetsu, who focuses on cross-border risk management and investigations for overseas subsidiaries of Japanese companies, including bribery, corruption and human rights abuses in developing countries; and Hiroshi Yamauchi, who specialises in external and internal investigations and criminal matter.

Other key lawyers:

Suguru Miyata; Jiro Kiyama

Testimonials

‘MHM is a large law firm but when working with them, everything has a personal touch, like a small law firm. Their lawyers are very nice and we have always had a good experience with them. We’ve worked with them on large and small cases; internal investigations, litigations and government regulatory responses, etc. and they handle everything very professionally. For innovations; what I have experienced with them is virtual meetings technology, and webinars for education and information dissemination. ’

‘MHM lawyers are always nice and easy to work with. That is the highest praise I can give a lawyer. I have had a very good experience working with Hiroshi Yamauchi, a partner in MHM’s Tokyo office and Jiro Kiyama. ’

‘I retained them as corporate counsel for compliance investigation matters. The team consists of the leading partner together with other partners who have expertise in the various aspects required for individual cases, including the government relationship, criminal procedure and public relations. All lawyers are practical. It is always apparent that the lawyers consider what we ultimately need.’

‘Hiroshi Yamauchi is wonderful. We are very grateful for giving accurate advice with his abundant knowledge and experience.’

‘Mori Hamada & Matsumoto Law Office (MHM) is a leading law firm in Japan, and is particularly strong in the crisis response and fraud fields that occurred in capital markets.’

‘Mr. Yasushiko Fujitsu is a top-leading lawyer with excellent reputation in the crisis management area, and has earned tremendous trust from many of leading companies in Japan. In particular, in the field of accounting fraud and crisis in capital markets, such as investigation of world-famous fraud accounting cases, his credentials are outstanding based on his excellent expertise in Japanese Companies Act and Financial Instruments and Exchange Act (FIEA). He also has gained strong trustworthy relationship with financial regulators with feasible solutions. His personality is well-balanced, careful and discreet, and friendly.’

‘Hiroshi Yamauchi is a leading lawyer with an excellent reputation in the crisis management area, and has earned trustworthy relationships with many of leading companies in Japan. In particular, in the field of quality issue/fraud and ABAC matters, he successfully lead the cases such as major corporate scandals. He also provides useful articles in crisis management areas covering quality issue, ABAC, harassments, etc. His personality is open-minded, friendly, relatively conservative.’

‘Suguru Miyata is a leading lawyer with very good reputation in the crisis management area, and has earned trustworthy relationships with many of leading companies in Japan. In particular, in the field of accounting fraud, he always offers feasible solutions based on his background in experience as secondee to Securities Exchange and Surveillance Commission in Japan. His personality is well-balanced, discreet and friendly.’

‘Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (MHM) has had significant expertise and experience in the areas of crisis management and investigation for a long time. They have traditionally focused on these areas since their establishment in the 1970s. Actually they have many lawyers (partners and associates) who are engaged in this area and we often feel that their expertise in this area is better that of other big firms. What I should emphasize is that they know how business work and bring practical solutions.’

Key clients

Japan Display Inc.

Toshiba Corporation

RIKEN VITAMIN CO., LTD.

KYB Corporation

Work highlights

  • Upon an ex-employee’s confession on accounting fraud, advised Japan Display Inc. (“JDI”) to establish the Special Investigation Committee. Following the initial investigation conducted by the committee, a third-party investigation committee was established to succeed investigative role on the fraud.
  • Assisted Toshiba IT-Services Corporation, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation (“Toshiba”), was involved in fictitious transactions over multiple years. As a result of Toshiba’s investigation, Toshiba wrote-down net sales of 21.5 billion yen and operating profit of 1.8 billion yen from its consolidated financial statements.
  • Advised Riken Vitamin Co., Ltd. when, during an accounting audit, Riken’s auditor found suspicious trades of shrimp, the amount of which significantly increased during the recent quarter. Riken established a first special investigation committee in July 2020 to investigate potential accounting fraud at its subsidiary in China.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Advising on corporate regulatory and compliance cases related to the Japanese market, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu is well regarded for ‘excellent service levels, response times, attitude and team work’. A particular strength for the firm is regulatory and compliance cases with a cross-border element, leveraging its multi-jurisdictional expertise. Innovation is another key selling point for the practice that utilizes technology in internal investigations, such as AI-supported forensic data collection and document review. Takayoshi Tao advises on high profile corporate crisis cases in Japan, notably those involving financial and securities regulations, accounting fraud, and third party investigations. He co-leads the team with Akihisa Shiozaki , who specialises in the fields of corporate governance and crisis management. Also active in the area are Daisuke Fukamizu , who has experience in international investigations; Tomohiro Hen, who handles domestic and cross-border governmental and regulatory investigations, white-collar crime and internal investigations; and senior counsel Hideaki Kobayashi, who focuses on corporate crisis cases in Japan.

Testimonials

‘Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (“NOT”) is one of the biggest law firms in Japan. They  provide excellent service levels, response times, attitude and team work. Especially, I am grateful for their cordial and dedicated attitude for us.’

‘I realize that their attitude is always client-oriented and their results are more than I expect. I worked with many lawyers in NOT and am satisfied with them. Specifically, I recommend Mr. HEN Tomohiro and KOBAYASHI Hideaki in the field of risk management and investigations, whose character and work are marvellous. In addition, Mr. HEN Tomohiro always devotes himself sincerely to resolve our problems with his full passion and energy.’

‘Daisuke Fukamizu is a smart, focused, hard-working lawyer who is rapidly developing strong skills and experience in large-scale international investigations.’

‘Most important thing may be to understand the clients business, industries and business practices and then provide clients with advices and/or recommendation, based upon related legal aspects as well as common sense as a human being. Always  fair and reasonable. NO&T always stand up for such justices.’

Key clients

Takata Corporation

Novartis Pharma

SUBARU

Kobe Steel, Ltd.

Bayer

Kubota Corporation

Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

The Institute of Applied Energy (IAE)

Hiramatsu, Inc.

The Independent Investigation Commission on the Japanese Government’s Response to COVID-19

ALBERT Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Hitachi Metals, Ltd. in its global investigation on misrepresentation of test results in inspection reports.
  • Advised The Independent Investigation Commission on the Japanese Government’s Response to COVID-19.
  • Advised Novartis Pharma K.K. in its criminal defense against a data manipulation probe in Japan.

Nishimura & Asahi

Combining former prosecutors, high-tech crime specialists and government, private and foreign attorneys, Nishimura & Asahi’s corporate crises practice assists clients investigated by government authorities for securities and financial fraud, foreign corrupt practices, white-collar crime and other form of misconduct. The firm specialises in advising on responses to investigations by and inquiries from authorities, dealing with stock exchanges and responses to the media, as well as providing experience in a range of international cases. Hiroshi Kimeda leads the practice and focuses on corporate crisis management and litigation. Key names in the team include foreign investigations and regulatory authorities expert Kaku Hirao, Kei Umebayashi, who previously worked for the Special Investigative Section of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, and Tomoyuki Numata, whose forte is managing corporate crises and responding to Japan’s Fair Trade Commission.

Practice head(s):

Hiroshi Kimeda

Atsumi & Sakai

With ten former public prosecutors, qualified CPAs and attorneys with experience in criminal defence, Atsumi & Sakai’s practice has a ‘variety of talented of lawyers with various backgrounds’ and the firm provides ‘deep knowledge about the business and has wide relationships in the sector’. Masataka Hayakawa is ‘one of the most renowned lawyers in the risk management and investigation fields’ and co-leads the team with experienced practitioners Hiroyuki NezuTeruhisa Toyama , and Tadashi Yuzawa . Another key name in the area is Kohei Murakawa , who focuses on domestic and international dispute resolution.

Other key lawyers:

Kohei Murakawa

Testimonials

‘Atsumi & Sakai has a variety of talented of lawyers with various backgrounds before they join this firm (e.g Prosecutor, security company, audit firm, global law firm ). These different back grounds with diversity characterize this firm like a mosaic art and it is very helpful for client so that they can provide legal advice from multiple aspects.’

‘Masataka Hayakawa has 15 years experience as prosecutor and is one of the most renowned lawyers in risk management and investigation field. He really work hard and spent a lot of time for client. His expertise is very unique and exceptional, which earns clients’ trust. ’

‘Atsumi & Sakai Law Firm Attorneys in Law are very experienced, hard working and real professional people against corporate fraud activities.’

‘Mr. Hayakawa is an extremely hardworking attorney who is very experienced in corporate fraud matters. He has strong leadership and instructs his team members exactly what should be done in a timely manner.’

‘Deep knowledge about the business and has wide relationships in the sector.’

‘Atsumi & Sakai has several excellent layers, especially former prosecutors. They provide suitable advices utilizing their knowledge and experiences, particularly in whistleblowing matters.’

‘Masataka Hayakawa provides highly effective and practical advice in risk and crisis management areas based on experiences of being a former prosecutor and handling high-profile cases.’

Key clients

Japan Post Group

Takumino Holdings Co., Ltd.

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

The Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners practice is best known for expertise in investigations of accounting scandals and data falsification, as well as investigations of corporate scandals involving offshore operations. The team is co-led by Ko Matsui who focuses on foreign direct investments and resolving cross-border disputes; corporate governance and disputes specialist Norihiro Sekiguchi and Shingo Yamada, who handles corporate, M&A, international transactions and dispute resolution.

Key clients

Japan Display Inc.

Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd.

Toyo Tire Corporation

Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised the Japan Display Inc. (“JDI”), who commissioned a third-party committee (the “Committee”) to investigate the possibility of an improper accounting treatment in its previous fiscal year.
  • As part of a special investigation committee, the firm conducted an investigation of overcharging by Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd., who has been manufacturing and delivering landing gear control systems for airplanes directly or indirectly to the Ministry of Defense for many years.
  • On behalf of Toyo Tire, the firm negotiated with the general contractors who bought company’s bearings, the developers who built and sold those buildings that installed such bearings, and the residents who own and are occupying those buildings that installed such bearings.