Atsumi & Sakai > Tokyo, Japan > Firm Profile
Atsumi & Sakai Offices
FUKOKU SEIMEI BUILDING
CHIYODA-KU, TOKYO 100-0011
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Atsumi & Sakai > The Legal 500 RankingsAtsumi & 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.
‘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.’
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)
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
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)
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.
Other key lawyers:
Tatsuo Yamashima; Masayuki Matsuura; Kohei Murakawa; Saori Hanada
‘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. ’
Ian Stanley Scott; Chie Kasahara.
Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (MRI)
The Japan Research Institute, Limited (JRI)
Photovolt Development Partners GmbH
Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd.
Ernst & Young
Other key lawyers:
‘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.’
Other key lawyers:
‘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.’
Japan Post Group
Takumino Holdings Co., Ltd.
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
Atsumi & Sakai > Firm Profile
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.
|Antitrust and competition|
|Arbitration, dispute resolution, litigation|
|Banking and finance, securitisation, structured finance|
|Compliance, corporate governance, risk management|
|Energy, infrastructure, project finance|
|General corporate, M&A, joint ventures|
|Investment funds, private equity and venture capital|
|International trade and regulatory|
|Labour and employment|
|Life sciences, medical and pharmaceutical|
|Technology, telecommunications, multimedia|
|Ms Sayaka Aizawa||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Osamu Fujiwara||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Hirofumi Hosoda||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Fumiaki Matsuoka||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Kohei Murakawa||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Jun Oishi||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Rikiya Okuhara||Of Counsel||View Profile|
|Ms Minako Otsuka||Of Counsel||View Profile|
|Mr Shinichiro Shimizu||Of Counsel||View Profile|
|Mr Daisuke Tsuzuki||Partner||View Profile|
|Ms Tomoko Watanabe||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Nobutaka Yamaki||Partner||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of lawyers : 160+
LanguagesJapanese English German Chinese Korean Hindi/Marathi Russian Vietnamese
OtherContacts : 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:
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.;
- 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
- 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.
Domestic language profile
渥美坂井律师事务所・外国法共同事业（Atsumi & Sakai）
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.
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.
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