Event Report

July 20th 2023 marked a milestone for corporate counsel in Japan, as the first-ever Legal 500 GC Powerlist: Japan launched in the Peninsula Hotel Tokyo’s stunning Ginza Ballroom. Business development manager Ben Lovell and GC Powerlist editor-in-chief Joe Boswell, The Legal 500’s on-the-ground event hosts, were humbled and delighted in equal measure to invite over 130 guests to the reception, including some of the most respected, influential, and successful general counsel in Japan. 

Given that it is by far the largest country in the world which has not previously hosted a GC Powerlist publication, it has been the main goal of our GC Powerlist research team to see this event come to fruition. In the event, the GC Powerlist publication and the launch reception itself exceeded our  already high – expectations, for the quality of the interviews we were able to do, the high calibre of the GCs we spoke to during the research, and the huge turnout we had at the launch event.  

The event began with opening remarks from The Legal 500’s GC Powerlist chief editor Joe Boswell, who congratulated everyone in the room on the remarkable careers which had led to their award before explaining the research process and selection methodology.  

Our first keynote speaker: Fumika Ito, general counsel of SAP in Japan, then took to the stage to address the room. As one of the most well-known, charismatic and successful GCs in Japan, she spoke on behalf of many of those in attendance about some of the challenges faced by all in-house lawyers, as well as the opportunities that a revitalised business sector in the wake of the opening up of the country can bring.  

EY’s Japan’s Law Leader Junzaburo Kiuchi, one of only eight bengoshi in Japan listed as a leading individual for Corporate and M&A work on The Legal 500 directory, then took to the stage to further congratulate the audience, talk through some key themes from the business world over the past year, and propose a toast to all in attendance for their achievements. 

We then invited our successful GC Powerlist awardees on stage to collect their accolades. Minae Ikari of EY invited the successful candidates up to the podium while Junzaburo Kiuchi was on stage to hand the award certificates out and pose for a photo or two, some of which you can view below. 

Our final keynote speaker, director Eri Maeda of EY, then gave a rousing closing speech to the audience before Joe Boswell invited all in attendance to the final round of networking drinks and food.  

Many thanks to everyone who spoke to us for the research, and our entire research team hopes you are pleased with the recognition. Huge thanks must also go to our research partners EY for making this gargantuan endeavour possible. We look forward to our next GC Powerlist: Japan edition in 2024, and if you would like to nominate anyone for this, or any other GC Powerlist edition around the world, you can contact joe.boswell@legal500.com to organise making a submission.  

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