Risk management and investigations: Independent local firms in Japan

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu's compliance and crisis management team acts in high-profile corporate regulatory and compliance cases, related to the Japanese market and Japanese corporations. The firm is known for handling matters with a cross-border element, as well as cases arising from the pharmaceutical and environment sectors. The practice is co-led by Hideaki Kobayashi, who focuses on white-collar defence, third party investigations and media strategy; Takayoshi Tao, who has particular expertise in financial and securities regulations, accounting fraud and third party investigations; and Akihisa Shiozaki, who specialises in cross border disputes, regulatory investigations and media strategy. Also notable is Yoshihiko Matake, who advises domestic and multi-national clients on corporate crisis management and regulatory matters. He was promoted to partner in 2019 along with Daisuke Fukamizu, who specialises in white-collar crime, regulatory compliance, antitrust and corporate crisis management.

Practice head(s):

Hideaki Kobayashi; Takayoshi Tao; Akihisa Shiozaki

Other key lawyers:

Yoshihiko Matake; Daisuke Fukamizu

Key clients

Takata Corporation (Long term client)

Novartis Pharma (Long term client)

SUBARU (Long term client)


Kubota Corporation

Kobe Steel, Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Represented Nissan Motors Co., Ltd. (“Nissan”) in its administrative appeal against the Consumer Affairs Agency (“CAA”) in a high profile fuel efficiency mislabeling allegation, and on December 26, 2018, was awarded a historic repeal of the CAA’s earlier fine order against Nissan following a decision by the Administrative Appeal Board.
  • Representing Novartis in its “Diovan Scandal”, which is widely recognised as one of the largest corporate scandals in recent industry history, leading to the introduction of the new Clinical Research Act effected April 1, 2018.
  • Conducted an independent investigation regarding  SUBARU’s alleged illegal and inappropriate handling of its final inspection procedures.
  • Represented Kobe Steel, Ltd., one of Japan’s leading steelmakers, as well as a major supplier of aluminium and copper products, since September 2017, advising on the company’s global strategy for handling the various legal/regulatory issues arising from the series of data falsification and/or fabrication of inspection result by which products that did not meet public standards or customer specifications were shipped or provided to both domestic and foreign customers as if they had met these requirements.
  • Represented Kubota Corporation, one of Japan’s leading manufacturers of agricultural machines, etc., since August 2018, advising on the company’s strategy for handling the various legal/regulatory issues arising from the data falsification and/or fabrication of inspection result of rolling mill rolls, etc., by which products that did not meet customer specifications were shipped or provided to both domestic and foreign customers as if they had met these requirements.

Nishimura & Asahi

The crisis management practice at Nishimura & Asahi has particular experience in domestic and international antitrust and cartel related matters. The firm also has expertise in bribery and civil cases, as well as cross-border issues. Hiroshi Kimeda is known for corporate crisis management and litigation, notably in corporate scandal cases. He leads a team that includes Kaku Hirao, who is experienced in foreign investigations and regulatory authorities cases; and Kei Umebayashi, who formerly worked at the Special Investigative Section of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and provides expertise in criminal investigations.

Practice head(s):

Hiroshi Kimeda

Other key lawyers:

Kaku Hirao; Kei Umebayashi

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Specialising in cross-border crisis management, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune advises on a range of critical incidents and corporate misconduct, including internal investigation, third party committee and outside investigations, improper accounting, breaches of anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, white collar crimes, and leakage of personal information or commercial secrets. The team is co-led by Yoshihito Shibata, Keiko Kaneko and Atsushi Nishitani, who has expertise in handling domestic and cross-border M&A, crisis management and insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Yoshihito Shibata; Keiko Kaneko; Atsushi Nishitani

Key clients

Suruga Bank Ltd.

Maruzen Petrochemical Co, Ltd.

Japan Pulp & Paper Co., Ltd.

Calgon Carbon Japan

OSJB Holdings

JustSystems Corporation

Niikawa Shinkin Bank

Nittetsu Mining Co., Ltd.


Ciel K.K.

Work highlights

  • Advised Suruga Bank Ltd.(“Suruga”), based in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, who extended 203.5 billion yen ($1.85 billion) in loans for share house investments by the end of March 2018 by means of falsifying documents and other improprieties in the investments in order to meet the internal lending standards.
  • Advised Maruzen Petrochemical Co., Ltd., (“Maruzen”), a subsidiary of Cosmo Energy Holdings, who found inappropriate actions in respect of quality inspections of its chemical products (the “Inappropriate Actions”) in December 2017.
  • Advised Japan Pulp & Paper Co., Ltd. (“JP”) who found an accounting fraud in its non-consolidated subsidiary named JP System Solution Co., Ltd. (“JPSS”) in late 2017.
  • Advised The Japan Fair Trade Commission, the JFTC, who started its investigation in February 2017 against Calgon Carbon Japan, CCJ, with several other manufacturers and distributors that participate in the activated carbon market in Japan over concerns of anti-competitive conduct.
  • Advised OSJB who established an internal investigation committee on October 12, 2017, as OSJB was informed that some employees of its 100% subsidiary, Oriental Shiraishi Corporation (“ORSC”), were suspected by the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau of committing the Misconducts, and the investigation committee conducted an investigation into the facts and the cause of the Misconducts, and discussed preventative steps.

Atsumi & Sakai

Atsumi & Sakai’s risk management practice group includes five former public prosecutors, qualified CPAs and attorneys, providing experience in criminal defense and advice to foreign clients. The team is co-led by Masataka Hayakawa, whose expertise includes corporate regulatory compliance and investigations, corporate risk, white-collar criminal defense, data protection and litigation; Hiroyuki Nezu, who focuses on crisis management, advising Japanese and non-Japanese companies; certified public accountant Teruhisa Toyama, who advises on risk management and compliance; Kumpei Ohashi, who is known for fraud, corporate crime investigations and litigation work; and Tadashi Yuzawa, who specialises in corporate scandals, criminal cases and securities litigation. Also notable is Kohei Murakawa, who has experience in out-bound and in-bound litigation and arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Masataka Hayakawa; Hiroyuki Nezu; Teruhisa Toyama; Kumpei Ohashi; Tadashi Yuzawa

Other key lawyers:

Kohei Murakawa

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto acts as counsel to companies and directors, as well as investigator of internal or independent investigations, domestically and internationally. The firm’s expertise includes unfair competition, insider trading, accounting irregularity, bribery and corruption cases. Co-leading the team are Yoichi Okuda, who focuses on corporate governance and dispute resolution, particularly white collar crimes issues; Yasuhiko Fujitsu, who specialises in capital markets related matters; and Hideaki Umetsu, who has notable experience in cross-border risk management and investigation for overseas subsidiaries of Japanese companies.

Practice head(s):

Yoichi Okuda; Yasuhiko Fujitsu; Hideaki Umetsu

Work highlights

  • Internal investigation committee of Hoshizaki.
  • Special Investigation Committee of Komatsu Wall.
  • External investigation committee of KTB.
  • Third-party investigation committee of Japan Sumo Association.
  • Third-party investigation committee of St. Marianna University School of Medicine.