Next Generation Partners: Bengoshi

Shipping: Independent local firms in Japan

Hiratsuka & Co

Fabulous‘ boutique law firm Hiratsuka & Co is especially well-known for its work in international shipping and insurance, with experience handling arbitration, litigation and cargo claims. The team is headed up by Makoto Hiratsuka, who is described by clients as the ‘doyen of Japanese shipping law‘ and commended for his ‘unparalleled‘ experience. The practice also offers clients assistance in cases arising from fires and collisions, with many claims involving multiple jurisdictions around the world. Other key names within the practice include Shinichiro Yamashita and Yuji Miyazaki, who make up the ‘very responsive‘ team.

Practice head(s):

Makoto Hiratsuka

Other key lawyers:

Shinichiro Yamashita; Yuji Miyazaki


‘Fabulous influence and scope to deal with every facet of marine claims and risks.’

‘Makoto Hiratsuka is the doyen of Japanese shipping law. His experience is unparalleled and I would not hesitate to choose this firm for advice on Japanese shipping law.’

‘An excellent firm – very responsive and reliable.’

‘Great pedigree from the legendary Makoto Hiratsuka.’

‘Very clear and practical advice.’

‘Makoto Hiratsuka is the leading Japanese shipping lawyer with a huge amount of experience and influence.’

‘Most established and influential maritime boutique law firm.’

‘Makoto Hiratsuka is a living legend. Leading lawyer in Japanese maritime law. Sound knowledge and experience both in Japanese law and English law. Well connected with the lawyers abroad, as well as P&I clubs. Shinichiro Yamashita – known for skillful work. Advice is precise and practical. Yuji Miyazaki – has a deep knowledge of the law, his English language skills are the best of any lawyer in Japan.’

Max Law Office

Boutique shipping firm Max Law Office is led by the ‘invaluableTakayuki Matsui, who is especially experienced in cross-border shipping litigation and whose recent work includes representing a client in the Supreme Court in a shipping insolvency case. Rie Akiba, who is described by clients as ‘a joy to work with‘ and ‘very proactive and professional‘ is recommended for her expertise in shipping finance, while Captain Shigeru Akachi is the key contact for casualty investigations.

Practice head(s):

Takayuki Matsui

Other key lawyers:

Rie Akiba; Shigeru Akachi; Kei Kondo


‘They are innovative and always quick to provide legal advice and action on the changes in market affecting ship finance.’

‘Takayuki Matsui’s vast years of experience and wealth of legal knowledge make him invaluable in the world of international ship finance. Kei Kondo is very diligent and has a good grasp of the legal requirements for ship finance.’

‘Taka Matsui has no parallels. He is seemingly able to deliver results where others can’t. Rie Akiba has a very good reputation for care and attention on finance matters; she is calm and gets the job done with minimal fuss.’

Key clients

Schutzverein Deutscher Rheder


Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi‘s asset finance team is headed by of counsel Katsu Sengoku and offers clients assistance with cross-border asset finance transactions, ship sales and purchases, ship leasings, and advice on Japanese Operating Lease Transactions with Call Options (JOLCOs). Kosuke Shibukawa is the name to note for finance and investment issues, while Adrian Joyce is the team’s key contact for complex cross-border work and the financing of maritime projects.

Practice head(s):

Katsu Sengoku

Other key lawyers:

Kosuke Shibukawa; Adrian Joyce

Key clients

Financial Products Group Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised a number of clients on numerous JOLCO/JOL transactions involving  approximately 40 vessels and 20 groups of marine containers.

TMI Associates

The ‘very strong‘ shipping team at TMI Associates is described by clients as ‘a delight to work with‘. The practice is adept at assisting clients with a range of both wet and dry shipping matters, including casualty claims, issues relating to carriage of goods by sea, representing shipbuilders and hull insurers in arbitration proceedings, and shipbuilding contracts. ‘Rising starJumpei Osada leads the team, which also includes Masaaki Sasaki and ‘very experienced‘ associate Shinya Hasegawa.

Practice head(s):

Jumpei Osada

Other key lawyers:

Masaaki Sasaki; Shinya Hasegawa


‘Lead partner Jumpei Osada has built a strong team in the transport and shipping sector. That shows in the quality of the work done on shipping related transactions but also on litigation and work outs.’

‘Jumpei Osada is a rising star in the shipping sector and increasingly ranks alongside the elder statesmen of that world. Nothing is overlooked and one always feels in very safe hands.’

‘Very responsive and commercial.’

‘Jumpei Osada and Shinya Hasegawa are very experienced and very strong technically.’

‘In working with Jumpei Osada on ship finance, I have found his knowledge of Japanese and English law (maritime and financial), his knowledge and understanding of the shipping and shipbuilding industry, his quick response and his personality, to be truly outstanding.’

‘The individuals are highly professional, responsible and knowledgeable in their field of practice. It is a delight to work with them.’

Atsumi & Sakai

Atsumi & Sakai‘s shipping practice is particularly experienced in assisting with ship finance transactions, with Keita Imaizumi and Ryosuke Oue jointly leading the team. Yutaka Sakai is also a key member of the practice, and regularly assists with finance work.

Practice head(s):

Keita Imaizumi; Ryosuke Oue

Other key lawyers:

Yutaka Sakai

City-Yuwa Partners

The maritime department at City-Yuwa Partners regularly advises on shipping finance transactions, as well as disputes, corporate restructurings and reorganisations. Reiko Yoshida heads up the practice and is experienced in advising both domestic and international shipping owners and financial entities on shipping finance mandates.

Practice head(s):

Reiko Yoshida


‘In working with Reiko Yoshida on ship financing, I have found her knowledge of Japanese and English law (maritime and financial), her knowledge and understanding of the shipping and shipbuilding industry, her quick response and her personality to be truly outstanding.’

‘Their partner, Reiko Yoshida is extremely knowledgeable and has many years of experience in ship finance transactions. She offers practical, detailed and well-structured legal advice to her shipping clients.’

‘The team has good credentials in shipping and we like dealing and collaborating together with Reiko Yoshida and her team.’

‘I work with Reiko Yoshida, a partner at City-Yuwa Partners. Reiko is a joy to work with and is very proactive and professional in all of her dealings with me and my team.’