TMT: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune has broad expertise in the technology, media and telecommunication sectors, a notable specialism being intellectual property. The firm’s advice covers M&A, finance, regulatory, litigation, antitrust and corporate law matters. A core practice in the area is handling the drafting and negotiation of contracts. Key names in the area include Yoshikazu Iwase , who focuses on litigation of patent infringement and revocation suits against the trial decisions of the Japanese Patent Office and Akihito Nakamachi, whose expertise covers intellectual property and technology transactions for technology-driven clients. Miki Goto handles a range of IP matters, from disputes concerning patents, licensing, trade secrets and trademarks to technology related antitrust claims. Other senior team member are Masayuki Yamanouchi, Nobuto Shirane, Yasufumi Shiroyama and Wataru Shimizu.

Key clients

Toyota Motor Corporation

Murata Machinery (Muratec)

Mochida Pharmaceutical, Co., Ltd.

DENSO CORPORATION

Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd.

JTEKT CORPORATION

ADVICS CO., LTD.

USHIO INC.

BluE Nexus Corporation

Taiyo Holdings Co., LTd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Firstface Co., Ltd. on import suspension actions against Apple Japan before Tokyo Customs.
  • Represented Firstface in patent infringement lawsuits against Buzzvil, Inc.’s distribution of application software for smart phones.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & TsunematsuComparative Guides promotional icon’s broad client base and coverage ranges from large cross-border TMT deals to assisting start-ups. The practice combines its core specialism in tech M&A with niche strengths, notably in matters relating to the space industry. Ryo Okubo  is the standout expert in the latter field. Soichiro Fujiwara leads the team and advises international and domestic clients in the areas of software, online games and telecommunications. Another key name is Keiji Tonomura, who focuses on M&A, intellectual property and information technology transactions.

Practice head(s):

Soichiro Fujiwara

Other key lawyers:

Ryo Okubo ; Keiji Tonomura

Testimonials

‘In-depth knowledge in the space industry and extensive experience of contract negotiation with customers in such industry. ’

‘Ryo Okubo has great experience and knowledge in the space industry.’

‘This Nagashima Ohno team quality is stable. When we contact their junior associate, any of their output has not dissatisfied us. ’

‘Mr. Tonomura always asks the right questions by keeping adequate patience and respect to the business team. His output, including his associates, has not disappointed us not only the quality standpoint but also the timeliness standpoint.’

Key clients

Airbnb

Broadridge Financial Solutions

Fuji Media Holdings, Inc.

Komatsu, Ltd.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

NTT Corporation

Toyota Motor Corporation

Maezawa Yusaku

ispace, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Toyota Motor Corporation in its alliance with NTT Corporation on smart city projects.
  • Advised BOOSTRY Co., Ltd., on a joint venture between Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (“NRI”) and Nomura Holdings, to develop a securities platform called “ibet,” which uses a blockchain technology. NRI issued notes, which were issued and transferred on “ibet.”
  • Represented ispace, Inc., a Japanese largest space startup which is a private lunar robotic exploration company developing micro-robotic technology to provide a low-cost and frequent transportation service to and on the Moon and conduct lunar surface exploration in many of its projects.

Nishimura & Asahi

Providing a full service to its TMT clients as well as funds active in the area, Nishimura & Asahi specialises in cross border work, M&A and corporate advice. The firm provides strengths in international trade, anti-trust, merger filings, IP and large-scale transactions for private equity funds, internet companies and motor industry clients. In terms of innovation, the practice is at the forefront of the digital transformation trend with its New Normal Project, to optimize remote working conditions, enhance communications and deal with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Corporate and M&A practice heads Asa Shinkawa and Yoshinobu Fujimoto lead the overall team that includes experienced TMT practitioners Hiroshi Uchima and Takahiko Date.

Other key lawyers:

Hiroshi Uchima; Takahiko Date

Key clients

NTT DoCoMo, Inc.

NAVER Corporation

TIS Inc.

Amazon Services International, Inc.

Rakuten, Inc.

Japan Display Inc.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Walsin Technology Corporation

Avex Inc.

Money Forward, Inc.

Beijing Bytedance Technology Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised NTT, Japan’s leading telecom services provider, who acquired the remaining 33.79% stake in NTT DoCoMo, Inc., Japan’s leading mobile carrier, via a recommended tender offer, the largest ever made for a Japanese company and one of the three largest global deals in 2020.
  • As lead counsel to NAVER, played a cross-border “hub” role in structuring, negotiating, and implementing all facets of a complex series of transactions.
  • Advised TIS, an existing investor in Grab, on Grab’s efforts to obtain USD 4.5 billion in financing and on preparations for the NASDAQ listing, in particular on the conversion of the investment shares TIS acquired in Grab in 2020 to shares of the new listed company.

Atsumi & Sakai

Atsumi & Sakai has expereince in data protection, privacy and social media laws, as well as advising on joint ventures, regulation, IP and employment matters. The firm is also active in the growing fintech and IoT/AI spaces. Key names in the area include Chie Kasahara and Takafumi Ochiai .

Other key lawyers:

Chie Kasahara; Takafumi Ochiai

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Advising a diverse range of local and global clients in the TMT arena, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto combines litigation, transactional and regulatory expertise with broad industry knowledge, notably in the increasingly active digital healthcare space. The firm’s experience covers data protection, telecoms, AI, fintech, autonomous vehicles and drones, as well as the key area of data centre projects. Hiromi Hayashi and Koichiro Iida co-lead the team with Atsushi Okada , whose broad TMT practice includes a forte in data protection, cross-border personal data transfers and related compliance issues.

TMI Associates

TMI Associates  has particular expertise in dispute resolution services related to IT and IP rights, as well as providing research services related to information protection and ICT regulations. In addition, the firm has expertise in the aerospace industries, including dealing with satellite data, data analysis by AI, and development of AI and robotics in outer space. Atsushi Igarashi leads the practice and covers a range of data protection, intellectual property, telecommunications and entertainment. IP and IT specialist Mihoko Shintani is another key name in the area.

Practice head(s):

Atsushi Igarashi

Testimonials

‘I believe the TMI team is very strong because of their vast experience in various areas of expertise. This allows us to confidently consult with them on any matter.’

‘Our company is spearheading a new global market which requires us to think outside of the box and consider new legal frameworks. Mihoko Shintani and Mai Kasuga are always quick to respond to any and all matters we raise to them in a professional and speedy manner.’

‘The strength of TMI lies in the team’s passion, flexibility and collective expertise. Based on the subject matter at hand, TMI always brings pertinent field experts to the table so I can always trust that our company is receiving the most relevant and up-to-date legal advice available. The impressive breadth of collective experience at TMI also ensures that I can consult them on any matter large or small with confidence. I also appreciate the flexibility that TMI affords our company in the areas of billing and service options since we are a quickly growing, venture organization.’

‘Mihoko Shintani serves as our company’s main source of legal counsel. Regardless of the time of day, she always makes herself available to us when needed. I believe what makes her a stand-out Partner is her passion to make the world a better place and her genuine belief in our company’s vision and service’.

‘There are experts in a wide range of topics not easy to find in Japan.’

Key clients

ARM Treasure Data Inc.

LINE Corporation

avatarin,inc.

Synspective, Inc.

GITAI, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised ANA Holdings regarding a new game project during the coronavirus crisis in collaboration with Mr. Hajime Tabata, one of the developers of the successful “Final Fantasy” games, the firm represents ANA Holdings in all business activities, such as establishing a new company, providing funding, and developing the game.
  • Advised avatarin Inc. when a “space avatar” (a remote-control robot developed by avatar-in Inc.) was placed in the ISS, the firm negotiated with stakeholders regarding conditions and analysed risks.
  • Represents LINE Corporation and responded to a report request by the Personal Information Protection Commission and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

City-Yuwa Partners

The City-Yuwa Partners TMT practice has a broad clientbase that includes manufacturers, telecommunication and Wi-Fi service companies, software developers, publishers, media broadcasting, digital entertainment companies and IT consulting firms. The firm has particular strength advising on IP, privacy and data protection, and industry regulations, as well as assisting in online businesses and digital entertainment matters. Arata Nomoto leads the team and provides experience in transactions involving emerging technologies, video games, online music and other digital entertainment businesses and digital designs.

Practice head(s):

Arata Nomoto

Other key lawyers:

Noriko Higashizawa ; Yumiko Aoi

Ushijima & Partners

As well as providing multidisciplinary support in the launch of new TMT sector businesses, Ushijima & Partners advises clients on traditional IP laws and laws concerning ICT technology, government policy and internet-related trends. The firm acts on a range of matters for a diverse client base that includes financial institutions, ICT companies, retail operators, manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and sporting events organizations. Another key strength is litigation related to big data analysis and internet based defamation. Practice head Hiroyasu Kageshima  handles IT system development, personal data, internet services, fintech, data leakage and defamation issues.

Practice head(s):

Hiroyasu Kageshima