Atsumi & Sakai > Tokyo, Japan > Firm Profile

Atsumi & Sakai
FUKOKU SEIMEI BUILDING
2-2-2 UCHISAIWAICHO
CHIYODA-KU, TOKYO 100-0011
Japan

Japan > Banking and finance: Independent local firms Tier 1

Known for expertise in financing transactions and services, Atsumi & Sakai is particularly strong in project finance, fintech, acquisition finance and real estate finance. The practice handles domestic and cross-border syndicated loans, global cash management services and vendor finance, as well as providing advice related to financial services regulation. The deep bench of banking and finance experts is co-led by Hiroo Atsumi , Hiroyuki Nezu , Yuri Suzuki , Michiaki Hosoi, Keita Imaizumi  and Naoki Kanehisa . Other key names in the area include Yutaka Sakai , who advised German developer Photovolt Development Partners GmbH on the financing of a 480 MW photovoltaic power plant in Ukujima; and Ryosuke Oue , who is noted for expertise in banking, finance, asset finance and structured finance.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Atsumi & Sakai has a good understanding of International Project Finance transactions, their comments are precise and provided in a timely manner. Several lawyers have experience in working at Banks and Development Finance Institutions and that provides to make their comment more convincing’.

‘Several lawyers have experience in working at Banks and Development Finance Institutions and thus they have a good understanding of Bank’s concerns. That makes their legal advice more accurate and helpful.’

Key clients

Photovolt Development Partners GmbH (PDPG)

Anchor Ship Partners Co., Ltd.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)

Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG)

UIG Asset Management Kabushiki Kaisha

Japan Association for Financial APIs (FAPI)

Japanese Bankers Association (JBA)

FISC (The Center for Financial Industry Information Systems)

Work highlights

  • Advised SMBC on the information bank system, preparation of a certificate of Information Bank business, and appropriate ways to use information obtained by the bank.
  • Assisted MUFG in providing legal and regulatory advice to all of the participants in the MUFG Digital Accelerator Program and provided legal and regulatory advice to each participant in a separate legal session.
  • Advised Tokyo Metropolitan Government on the Fintech support program and provided legal and regulatory advice to each participant in a separate legal session when entering into Japanese market.

Japan > Fintech - Independent local firms Tier 1

The renowned fintech practice of Atsumi & Sakai assists financial institutions, start-ups and IT vendors in technical innovations relating to banking, payment services, securities, insurance, money laundering and data privacy. The firm provides comprehensive advice and support on crypto assets exchange service providers on registration, preparation of documents required to be filed with the Financial Services Agency, and on the screening process for registration. Another key practice area is assisting foreign clients in meetings with governmental authorities to consult on the application of laws and regulations and in relation to the Regulatory Sandbox Scheme in Japan. Yuri Suzuki  leads the team and is particularly active in the online factoring group of the Fintech Association of Japan, as well as serving as legal advisor to the Japan Blockchain Association. Also notable in the area is Takafumi Ochiai , who acts for a wide range of clients in the financial and information technology sectors, including related dispute resolution and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG)

The Organization of Global Financial City Tokyo (FinCity.Tokyo)

Fintech Association of Japan (FAJ)

Japanese Bankers Association (JBA)

The Center for Financial Industry Information Systems (FISC)

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)

Cabinet Office

Japan Association of Financial Services Intermediary Business

The Japan Association of New Economy (JANE)

National Strategy Office of Information and Communication Technology, Cabinet Secretariat

Yayoi Co., Ltd.

Japan > Investment funds: Independent local firms Tier 1

Specialising in advising foreign investors, Atsumi & Sakai is top of the market in assisting offshore funds in their engagements with Japanese target companies. The firm combines this expertise with strengths in litigation, regulation and governance matters. Other work includes advising on J-REITS, silent partnerships, joint ventures, private equity and venture capital. Akio Kawamura focuses on regulatory counselling for financial institutions and fund managers, cross border investments in Japanese companies and capital markets, as well as investigations and enforcement issues. He co-leads the team with fund structure, investment and formation expert Eiichiro Hata  and Ryuichi Nozaki, whose expertise includes asset management, cross-border investments, banking and structured finance.

Japan > Antitrust and competition: Independent local firms Tier 2

Experienced in a range of domestic and international merger control cases, Atsumi & Sakai handles M&As, joint ventures, business tie-ups and corporate reorganizations. A specialism for the firm is advising and coordinating with local counsel and civil enforcement authorities in international cartel investigation cases in the auto-parts and shipping industries, but the practice is also increasingly active in antitrust compliance and risk management advice. Another key area of expertise is litigation matters related to the Anti-Monopoly Act of Japan. Setsuko Yufu leads the team and focuses on domestic and international competition matters, cartel investigations, merger controls, dominant position issues and commercial transactions. Other key names include competition law and cartel investigations expert Tatsuo Yamashima , and Masayuki Matsuura , who handles domestic and international merger control cases.

Practice head(s):

Setsuko Yufu

Other key lawyers:

Tatsuo Yamashima; Masayuki Matsuura; Kohei Murakawa; Saori Hanada

Testimonials

‘Tatsuo Yamashima has a practical understanding of our company’s business.’

‘They always understand what the goals and wishes of clients are and try to figure out best solutions for the clients. They have high professional knowledge and experience especially in Competition law. They can advise a practical approach using their knowledge and experience.’

‘Mr. Kohei Murakawa is quite outstanding. He always tries to offer best the service to the client utilizing his professional knowledge and experience. His advice is right and practical. Ms.Setsuko Yufu and Ms. Saori Hanada also stand out. Ms. Hanada always tries to offer the opportunity of meeting so as to understand the clients’ situation.’

‘Atsumi & Sakai are one of the very few truly independent local firms with a top-notch competition team. The team is fully integrated with highly competent lawyers at all levels of seniority. The team is also very much ahead of the competition as far as diversity and inclusion is concerned.’

‘Critical lawyers in the team include Setsuko Yufu and Saori Hanada. Yufu-sensei heads the team. She is very smart, thinks strategically and is usually a few steps ahead of the others. Hanada-sensei is also an excellent lawyers with wide experience in all areas of antitrust and merger control. ’

Japan > Corporate and M&A: Independent local firms Tier 2

Specialising in mid-size transactions, Atsumi & Sakai handles a range of restructurings and reorganisations, as well as business succession of small and mid-size businesses. The firm has substantial experience in cross-border deals, a forte being representing foreign funds in hostile takeovers. The team is co-led by Shintaro Hamasu , Masayuki Matsuura , Eiichiro Hata , Takasuke Mizukami  and Go Hashimoto. Another key name in the area is Akimoto Kawamura , whose experience includes M&A transactions, financial services regulation and the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

Japan > Intellectual property: Independent local firms Tier 2

Atsumi & Sakai offers a comprehensive IP and IT practice experienced in licence transactions, dispute resolution and litigation in relation to patent rights, trademarks, copyright and the Unfair Competition Prevention Law. The IP&IT practice group handles patent, trademark and other intellectual property disputes involving clients from a range of industries, both Japanese and foreign. The team is co-led by registered foreign lawyer Ian Stanley Scott  and Chie Kasahara.

Practice head(s):

Ian Stanley Scott; Chie Kasahara.

Japan > Projects and energy: Independent local firms Tier 2

Strong in the project and energy fields in Japan and overseas, Atsumi & Sakai has particular expertise in offshore wind power in Japan, being a member of the deregulation sub-division of the Japan Wind Power Association (JWPA). The firm handles all stage of investigation, documentation and negotiations, as well as dispute resolution arising from the field. Another benefit for clients is the firm’s knowledge of environmental regulations and other regulation related to project development. The practice is known for its skills in PPP, but also boast experience gained from secondments to the ECA, METI, the Cabinet Office and MLIT, and a solar power company. Key names in the team include Miho Niunoya, who has experience advising on PFI/PPP and construction projects in the infrastructure and energy sectors; and project financing expert Michiaki Hosoi .

Key clients

Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (MRI)

The Japan Research Institute, Limited (JRI)

Photovolt Development Partners GmbH

Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd.

Ernst & Young

Japan > Real estate and construction: Independent local firms Tier 2

Atsumi & Sakai's practice advises Japanese and foreign real estate developers, sponsors, asset management companies, lenders and investors in a range of real estate financing and development deals in Japan and overseas. On top of this broad practice, the firm also has experience representing J-REITs in the completion of public offerings and mergers, as well as lenders in public-private funds. The team is co-led by Russell Kawahara , Shuji Koyama , Makoto Fujii , Eiichiro Hata , Miho Niunoya and Yuko Nihonmatsu . Another key name in the area is Takafumi Uematsu , who specialises in cross-border real estate transactions.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team is very responding and client orientated. ’

‘Takafumi Uematsu is a partner (M&A) with whom you really like to work with. He is very client orientated, acts proactive and provides quick and solid advice. ’

‘Vert strong and highly professional practice.’

‘Takafumi Uematsu is a bright, helpful and knowledgable attorney.’

Japan > Risk management and investigations: Independent local firms Tier 2

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:

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.

Japan > Shipping: Independent local firms Tier 2

Atsumi & Sakai‘s clients range from domestic institutions and ship-owners to international banks and general trading companies for shipping related structured finance transactions. The practice is co-led by Bonnie Dixon, David Deyo Deck , Takeshi Takahashi , and Ryosuke Oue .

Japan > TMT: Independent local firms Tier 2

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" data-parent-type="account" data-parent-id="30192" data-disabled-flag="FALSE" data-office-id="76773" data-contact-id="501468">Chie Kasahara; Takafumi Ochiai" data-parent-type="account" data-parent-id="30192" data-disabled-flag="FALSE" data-office-id="76773" data-contact-id="501465">Takafumi Ochiai

Japan > Capital markets: Independent local firms Tier 3

Atsumi & Sakai practice head, Fumiko Oikawa focuses on capital markets and securitisations. The firm also handles a range of securitisation and structured finance matters acting for clients including arrangers, investors, trust banks, international activist funds and hedge funds.  

Practice head(s):

Japan > Dispute resolution: Independent local firms Tier 3

Atsumi & Sakai’s litigation practice group combines expertise in lawsuits, arbitration and dispute resolution, with international experience across a range of jurisdictions. The firm is known for handling disputes related to business, finance and corporate law, as well as employment, IP and anti-trust. Another area of increasing activity is litigation and arbitration in the innovative areas of fintech, IoT/AI and renewable energy. The deep bench of expertise is co-led by Toyoki Emoto , Hiroki Mori , Teruhisa Toyama , Bonnie Dixon, Hisashi Miyatsuka , Kumpei Ohashi , Norio Suzuki , Takafumi Ochiai , Yusuke Miura  and Kohei Murakawa .

Japan > Restructuring and insolvency: Independent local firms Tier 3

Atsumi & Sakai provides expertise in insolvency, corporate turnaround and bankruptcy administration, as well as  advising on the negotiation of corporate reorganisations, civil rehabilitations and special liquidations. Key names in the area include insolvency and restructuring specialists Toyoki Emoto and Norio Suzuki.

Other key lawyers:

Japan > Tax: Independent local firms Tier 3

Atsumi & Sakai’s tax team offers expertise on contentious and non-contentious issues, including disputes, compliance, and cross-border matters. The team is led by Teruhisa Tomoya who has experience in litigation, risk management, due diligence, and M&A within a tax context.

Practice head(s):

Teruhisa Toyama

The firm: Atsumi & Sakai is a multi-award-winning, independent Tokyo law firm, and one of the ten largest independent full-service law firms in Japan. The firm was the first Japanese law firm to create a foreign law joint venture, which enables it to admit foreign partners and so offer its clients the quality of service that the modern international business community demands. Expanding from its highly regarded finance practice, the firm now acts for a wide range of international and domestic companies, banks, financial institutions and other businesses, offering a comprehensive range of legal expertise.

International practice: Atsumi & Sakai has an outward-looking approach to its international practice, and has a number of foreign partners, consultants and attorneys with extensive experience at leading international law firms, so offering its clients the benefit of a combination of Japanese law expertise and real international experience. As the only independent Japanese law firm with offices in London and New York, and an affiliated office in Frankfurt, we can also provide real-time advice on Japanese law to clients in Europe and America.

In addition to lawyers admitted in Japan (including Japanese lawyers who are admitted and maintaining qualification to practice in California, New York and England and Wales), the firm includes foreign lawyers registered in Japan to advise on the laws of the US States of New York and California, the People’s Republic of China, India, England and Wales, the State of Queensland, Australia, United States and Australian Federal laws, and the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany (also in collaboration with Janssen Foreign Law Office).

Innovation and diversity: The firm constantly seeks to anticipate its clients’ needs for new legal services, most recently those arising from rapid technological developments in the financial services industry, and strives to provide high-quality and cost-effective services and solutions to support start-up companies. The firm also offers a flexible alternative fee arrangement tailored to meet the specific needs and goals of each client company.

Atsumi & Sakai takes a proactive approach to diversity, with nearly 30% of all lawyers being women and 10% non-Japanese, and encourages its lawyers to maintain a good work/life balance, all of which contributed to the firm being recognised as Japan’s leading law firm for employee satisfaction.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Antitrust and competition
Arbitration, dispute resolution, litigation
Asset finance
Banking and finance, securitisation, structured finance
Capital markets
Compliance, corporate governance, risk management
Construction
Energy, infrastructure, project finance
General corporate, M&A, joint ventures
Insolvency, restructuring
Insurance
Investment funds, private equity and venture capital
Intellectual property
International trade and regulatory
Labour and employment
Life sciences, medical and pharmaceutical
Real estate
Sports, entertainment
Tax
Technology, telecommunications, multimedia
Number of lawyers : 160+
Japanese
English
German
Chinese
Korean
Hindi/Marathi
Russian
Vietnamese
Contacts : Hiroo Atsumi
Contacts : Hiroyuki Nezu
Contacts : Ryuichi Nozaki
Contacts : Bonnie L Dixon
Contacts : Daniel C Hounslow
Contacts :

Atsumi & Sakai was the first independent Japanese law firm to create a foreign law joint venture.

Our Firm is committed to three core values, “Respect diversity, be rich in creativity, and have a flexible attitude.”  Consistent with these values, the Firm has established a variety of systems that emphasize equitable evaluation and work-life balance, and we are pursuing a comfortable workplace environment where diverse human resources with different backgrounds, such as nationality, gender and career, can optimize their skills and abilities.

As a result, the Firm continues to maintain a high ratio of female attorneys, as well as non-Japanese attorneys, as described below.

  • Out of more than 120 attorneys, around 30% are women
  • Out of more than 60 partners, nearly 30% are women (more than 70% of whom have children)
  • Out of 15 Management Committee members, nearly 30% are women
  • We have Registered Foreign Lawyers licensed in Japan to advise on the laws of the US States of New York and California, the People’ s Republic of China, England and Wales, India, the States of Queensland and Victoria (Australia), United States and Australian Federal law, and the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany (in collaboration with Janssen Foreign Law Office)

In particular, the firm has earned high evaluation from Japanese and international organizations for equal treatment of men and women, etc. and initiatives for work-life balance, including in the following areas:

  1. The ratio of female partners at Atsumi & Sakai who are members of the firm’s Management Committee is very high. (The Atsumi & Sakai Management Committee is responsible for management and HR related decision making, and this high ratio of female attorneys on the committee reflects a family friendly office culture on the firm’s management decisions.)
  2. Atsumi & Sakai has systems in place for maternity leave and child-care leave that also apply to attorneys, and the rules relating to these systems are published internally on the firm’s intranet.
  3. The activities of the firm are team based and built up around divisions and practice groups, which allows for flexibility in handling each individual’s circumstances and support for child-care needs, etc.
  4. Atsumi & Sakai has a solid IT environment that utilizes cloud computing and virtual private networks, etc., enabling attorneys to handle work outside the office and work from home while caring for children, etc.;
  5. Atsumi & Sakai has an internal system for reporting of sexual harassment and power harassment, with multiple reporting options, in addition to which there are also annual training seminars regarding such harassment for attorneys; and
  6. Atsumi & Sakai has an occupational health physician visiting the office once a month offering free consultations for attorneys and staff alike.

While cooperating with highly talented human resources, the firm will continue to improve its diversity in order to provide an environment in which each individual can maximize his or her abilities.


Japanese 日本語

渥美坂井法律事務所・外国法共同事業について

国内系法律事務所として初めて、完全に独立した形で外国法共同事業を立ち上げた総合法律事務所です。

クライアント価値創造を目指して、国内外における豊富な実務経験やノウハウを持つ弁護士・外国法事務弁護士が、クライアントの抱えるさまざまな課題の解決に挑んでおり、複数の専門誌のランキング・アワードを継続的に獲得しています。

よりクライアントのニーズにフィットする創造的なソリューションの提供に向けて、所内の連携体制を整え、取扱分野を拡大しています。さらに、海外特有のニーズにつきましても、海外拠点(英ロンドン及び独フランクフルト*)や弁護士の海外派遣(米国・英国、及びベトナム等のアジア地域)などを通して、現地から直接サポートができる利便性の高いサービスの追求に努めており、また、世界各国の法律事務所等のネットワークを活用してグローバルな課題にも対応できる体制を構築しています。

【取扱分野】

設立当初から定評を得てきた金融分野に加え、M&A・投資案件、独禁法、各種ファンド、労働法、IP、IT/TMT、国際通商、訴訟・仲裁・倒産・事業再生、ライフサイエンス、エネルギー、スポーツ/エンタテインメント、さらには危機管理やFintech・IoT/AIを含むイノベーション分野に至るまで、幅広い分野を取り扱っています。

*ヤンセン外国法事務弁護士事務所と共同で開設

Mandarin中国

渥美坂井律师事务所・外国法共同事业(Atsumi & Sakai)

本事务所是日本国内律师事务所中首家以完全独立的形式建立了外国法共同事业的综合性律师事务所。

本事务所以为客户创造价值为目标,在国内外有着丰富实务经验和专门知识的律师和外国法事务律师不断专注于解决客户所面临的各种问题,持续荣登多个专业杂志的榜单和荣获多种奖项。

为了提供更符合客户需求的创造性解决方案,本事务所不断完善所内的合作机制,扩大业务领域。对于海外特有的需求,本事务所也通过海外事务所(英国伦敦及德国法兰克福*)和向海外(美国、英国以及越南等亚洲地区)派驻的律师等,致力于提供能在当地直接服务客户的更便利性服务,同时,灵活运用世界各国律师事务所之间的网络联盟,构筑了能够应对全球课题的体制。

[业务领域]

本事务所从事的业务领域十分广泛,除设立之初起就获得了高度评价的金融领域以外,在并购和投资案件、反垄断法、各类基金、劳动法、知识产权、信息技术、技术/媒体/电信、国际贸易、诉讼和仲裁、破产和企业重整、生命科学、能源、体育和娱乐等领域也拥有丰富的实践经验,并积极开拓危机管理、金融科技(Fintech)、物联网和人工智能(IoT/AI)等创新领域。

*与詹森外国法事务律师事务所共同开设

Hiroo Atsumi, Managing Partner

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Atsumi & Sakai from your competitors?

Firstly, our international capabilities.

We created a “foreign law joint venture” in Japan when Japanese law first allowed this kind of law partnership in 2005, and we are recognised as a pioneer in this field. This was successful to the extent that we have attracted several foreign attorneys who served as partners or were otherwise highly recommended lawyers in foreign countries. In addition to lawyers admitted in Japan (including Japanese lawyers also admitted in England and Wales and the Republic of the Marshall Islands), our firm includes foreign lawyers registered in Japan to advise on the laws of the US States of New York and California, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, India, and the State of Queensland, Australia. Foreign lawyers registered in Japan to advise on state laws are also qualified to advise on federal laws of their respective countries. This clearly differentiates us from other Japanese law firms since we are in a very unique position to easily combine the expertise of Japanese lawyers with that of attorneys from the foreign jurisdictions described above.

Also, we are the only independent Japanese law firm which currently has a branch office in London, and we have an affiliate office in Frankfurt. We are a member of multiple leading global networks of law firms, and have formed partnerships with APAC-International in Vietnam, and Janssen Foreign Law Office, a law office that provides German law advice in Tokyo. Our international network sets us apart from our competitors, and enables us to easily meet the needs of foreign clients as well as Japanese clients.

Secondly, our global diversity and multiplicity of talent.

As mentioned above, Atsumi & Sakai has attracted a number of foreign and multilingual attorneys, irrespective of their nationalities, speaking Japanese, English, German, Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian, Hindi and Marathi, etc.

Atsumi & Sakai also includes attorneys with a wide range of expertise, having experience in diverse practice areas and industries, such as former public prosecutors, attorneys also qualified as Certified Public Accountants, attorneys with expertise in tax/accounting or IT, and a pharmacist. Having different skills and talents enables the firm to flexibly build a multi-talented team which is tailored to each client’s specific needs.

Thirdly, our innovative approaches and new structures.

To remain competitive in the global market, our firm has always tried to adopt innovative approaches and new structures. Especially, we thought it important to meet the needs of not only clients dealing in out-bound transactions but also the needs of foreign clients pursuing in-bound transactions.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

  • Innovation in information systems and technology including IoT, big data and artificial intelligence, FinTech, InsTech, MedTech and RegTech

Deep understanding and extensive experience of laws and regulations related to data protection, finance, insurance, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, etc. are the fundamental requirements of these practice areas, on top of which keen knowledge of the latest trends in the technology industry and experience in providing advice in the relevant area is needed. Our firm fulfills all of these conditions. Meanwhile, both working from home and purchasing online services from home have exploded into the mainstream in Japan as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, triggering a period of upheaval in Japanese business culture. We provide services that meet the needs of foreign technology companies looking to capitalize on the opportunities the situation has created.

  • Risk management and white collar crime
  • Labour and employment

Companies affected by the Coronavirus pandemic will continue to rationalize their workforce allocation for some time. We have experience in advising foreign corporations in this areas, and it is one of our strengths.

  • Investments and funds

As soon as it came into effect this year, our firm immediately began accumulating experience in advising foreign funds regarding the amended Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, which introduced changes designed to ensure national security. Investments into Japanese companies by foreign investors must comply with the complex requirements of the amended Foreign Exchange Act, and we expect the demand for advice in this field to grow in the future.

  • Data protection and privacy, cybersecurity

Although the peak caused by GDPR and the amendment of the Japanese Act on the Protection of Personal Information has passed, data privacy remains a crucial element of compliance in the technology industry and demand for related advice continues to grow.

  • Life sciences

The life sciences field is one where the demand for extensive understanding of pharmaceutical clients’ business and the practical application of regulations is particularly high for lawyers. Our firm includes lawyers with experience as in-house counsel in major Japanese pharmaceuticals companies, and we expect to see growth in this area as well.

  • Sports, media and entertainment

We are one of the only law firms based in Japan with the capacity to provide our international clients with unapparelled expertise in the areas of sport and entertainment. Our sports & entertainment legal practice group started almost 8 years ago and has a primary focus on major international sporting events working with the international rights holders, ensuring the delivery of these events at an international standard. For over 5 years we have worked for World Rugby to assist them on all legal aspects related to the Rugby World Cup 2019 being the third largest sporting event in the World. We continue to be in the forefront, advising our clients surrounding other major international sporting events in Japan.

  • Others

Interest in national security matters, such as export controls and cyber security, is growing in countries around the world. Our firm is one of the few in Japan that took the step of establishing a national security team at an early stage.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Our firm takes a proactive approach to working with our clients to provide value for money, and we are very open to adopting international-style fee structures other than traditional hourly rates.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Yes, information technology has been a driving force for our service innovation. It has changed significantly the way we interact with our clients, especially with our foreign clients. We are also encouraged by the technological developments and innovations in reducing administrative work and boosting productivity further.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

For example, we were in close contact with the competent authorities regarding prior reporting under the Foreign Exchange Act which was amended this year, and proposed a practical approach to navigating the requirements to our client, a foreign investor. We also advised the client in revising transactions following the emergence of the Coronavirus, and supported the client in managing risk of loss by providing analysis and interpretation on agreements and proposing practical response measures.

Also, as mentioned in 2) above, our firm has worked for World Rugby for over 5 years to assist them on all legal aspects related to the Rugby World Cup 2019, being the third largest sporting event in the World.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

In 2019, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of the firm. We anticipate that the next three years will bring a significant turning point not only for us but also for Japan in the 21st century.

We will continue to diversify the backgrounds, experience, fields of expertise and future aims of our lawyers. It is the diversity of knowledge and experience of the lawyers at our firm, including the opportunity to interact with our foreign legal team, that allows us to find solutions to new problems our clients face. Our ability to continuously respond to the needs of clients is what enables the firm to be sustainable in the long term. Another factor for long-term sustainability from a firm management perspective is to consider multiple opinions and points of view to continuously make better decisions. We believe that in three years, we will remain a firm capable of providing advice to allow clients to choose the policy they wish to follow.