Ushijima & Partners > Tokyo, Japan > Firm Profile

Ushijima & Partners
TOKYO 100-6114

Japan > Dispute resolution: Independent local firms Tier 2

Experienced in a range of international litigation and arbitration, Ushijima & Partners has particular strengths in corporate disputes, corporate control issues, real estate, securities and software development litigation. Another area of increasing activity is on line infringement cases, in which Hiroyasu Kageshima  is the key name. Osamu Inoue  is known for real estate and construction-related cases and transactions, including representing foreign companies; he co-leads the team with Shin Ushijima , who focuses on litigation and arbitration arising from international transactions, M&A, system development, anti-monopoly, labour and tax law.

Practice head(s):


‘They are good at and has exceptional passion for litigation matters in Japan’.

‘Ushijima is more interested in litigation matters in Japan than bigger law firms such as Big 4, and since they are smaller than them, they can take even small but interesting legal cases. They can work for domestic and foreign clients in Japanese litigations’.

‘We worked with Ushijima very often on complicated cases where there are not clear evidence to support to either of plaintiff or defense side. If the cases are complicated, and delicate handling are very important, Ushijima is clearly the best option to the client.’

‘Since Ushijima is often retained for complicated disputes, they tend to be very experianced in litigation arguments. I have worked with the following members for difficult litigations Osamu Inoue, Hiroshi Watanabe, Rikisuke Yamanaka, Hiroyasu Kageshima and Hiroyuki Yamauchi.’

Key clients

Oasis Management Company Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Oasis Management Company Ltd. about potential legal proceedings it could pursue regarding an unfair M&A (share exchange).

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

Ushijima & Partners is ‘well known in the real estate investment industry for expertise in real estate securitization’, as well as providing expertise in a range of transactions in the area. The firm represents real estate companies, developers, asset management companies, banks, trust banks, insurance companies, J-REITs and investment companies. Kohtaro Tamura is a leading expert in real estate transactions and securitization and leads the strong team that includes Hiroki Awahara , who focuses on investment, finance transactions and regulations; Inoue Osamu, whose specialisms are real estate transactions, investment, securitization, finance and urban redevelopment projects; and Masahiro Shiotani , who handles real estate securitization and financing transactions.

Practice head(s):


‘They are well known in the real estate investment industry for their expertise in real estate securitization. They are also well versed in the practice of filing applications with the regulatory authorities, which is helpful not only in terms of advice but also regulated procedures.’

‘Many of my clients are foreign companies, and in many cases, the structures involve foreign entities. Especially since many cases involve the use of US and Hong Kong entities, which require understanding of the laws and systems of those countries. U&P is familiar with these as well, so there is no need to use a foreign law firm just for this purpose. Despite these high capabilities, costs are kept low compared to other major law firms.’

‘I have been advised by Attorney Awahara. He is well familiar with real estate related business. He is familiar not only with the relevant laws, regulations and precedents, but also with the application procedures to the government, so he can give me practical advice.’

‘While there are many lawyers who give unpractical advice because they do not understand the actual practice, Mr. Awahara is familiar with the practice, which gives me an advantage over my opponents. On top of that, Mr. Awahara is not only an attorney at law in Japan, but also in California and New York in the U.S., which allows him to handle foreign-based structuring and English-language contracts, eliminating the need to use multiple lawyers. They are also using AI to streamline their operations and reduce costs.’

‘Mr. Naoki Hieda has been outstanding in terms of his quality and timeliness of legal advice. He is highly responsive and helps to provide concise solutions. A great legal business partner to have.’

Key clients

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers Japan K.K.

Work highlights

  • Assisted Value Management Institute, Inc in preparing “Model Clauses for Contracts Involving Changes to the Subject Real Estate in Specified Joint Real Estate Ventures” as a legal expert.
  • Advised AXA Real Estate Investment Managers Japan K.K. on approximately JPY 20 billion acquisition of residential tower in Nagoya, Japan, using a special purpose company to which AXA Real Estate Investment Managers Japan K.K. provides asset management services.

Japan > Corporate and M&A: Independent local firms Tier 3

Providing a range of services from preventative advisory to dispute resolution, Ushijima & Partners advises Japanese entities doing business within and outside of Japan including foreign corporations and financial institutions investing into Japan. Specialisms for the firm include establishing companies and associations, corporate reorganizations, litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Managing partner Shin Ushijima  co-leads the team with Hiroshi Watanabe  whose experience covers M&A transactions and related dispute resolutions.


‘They are really good at and have exceptional passion on litigation matters. They often work on difficult and complicated litigation and dispute matters. They can work for domestic clients and foreign clients. Ushijima is clearly the top choice for difficult litigation matters in Japan. They are very happy to work very hard to support the client.’

‘Hiroshi Watanabe is clearly the leading law practitioner as to difficult M&A related disputes in Japan. In particular, he can handle the cases where the valuation of stock or complicated derivatibles are the critical issue of the cases. He knows how to handle the litigation very well, and is very careful in preparing the documents and the way of arguments.’

‘Rikisuke Yamanaka is also very talented and well experienced on the matters of difficult litigations. We worked with him on a matter in Japan, and he led the case very well and won a favourable decision for his client.’

‘Osamu Inoue, Tetsuya Araseki, Hiroyuki Yamauchi have experience of M&A litigations for foreign clients as to the valuation issues. ’

‘The firm has a variety of clients with different business/legal needs, and has good relationship with the clients it serves.’

‘The particular lawyer we worked with, Naoki Hieda, has been very responsive and attentive to the client’s instructions/requirements.’

‘We have never been disappointed by the work delivered by Ushijima & Partners. They provide solid legal advice. This comment applies regardless of the field of law. Every lawyer whom we have worked with at Ushijima & Partners share this common value.’

‘Naoki Hieda is very responsive, diligent, and has always a solution to provide whenever it seems that the matter that we are working on is facing a dead end. I have been also working with Mr. Hieda for clients having cross-border transactions, legal implication, between Laos and Japan. Laos is a very particular market, and it is often that lawyers coming from jurisdictions with a more developed legal system would only rely on the Lao advisors and simply relay the advice to their client. On the contrary, Mr. Hieda tries to understand the local market and proposes solutions to represent his client’s interests to the best of his ability. ’

Key clients

Oasis Management Company Ltd.

Special Committee established by Invesco Office J-REIT, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Oasis Management Company Ltd. about potential legal proceedings it could pursue regarding the unfair M&A and, on behalf of the client, filed a petition for determination of share price following the exercise of appraisal right, and a lawsuit seeking invalidation of the share exchange and damages associated.

Japan > Labour and employment: Independent local firms Tier 3

Ushijima & Partners specialises in handling employment litigation, negotiations and investigations, a particular strength being acting for foreign clients in issues arising from cross-cultural communication. The 'amazingly practical and trusted advisorRikisuke Yamanaka  leads the team and has broad experience in contentious and non-contentious labour and employment matters for local and international clients.

Practice head(s):


‘Great team with an ability to understand the client very pragmatically.’

‘Riki-sensei is amazingly practical and trusted advisor.’

‘It’s a niche firm but very commercial. Rikisuke Yamanaka is very responsive.’

Japan > TMT: Independent local firms Tier 3

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):

Japan > Legal market overview

The firm: Ushijima & Partners is a full-service law firm representing domestic and international clients in Japan and providing overseas legal services to Japanese clients both directly and through its international alliances, such as Multilaw, ELA and LAW. The firm was founded in 1985 by Shin Ushijima and currently numbers 52 attorneys.

The firm represents clients across a broad range of industries, including financial institutions, trading companies, manufacturers, system integration vendors, IT service providers, construction companies, real estate companies, broadcasters, telecommunications, entertainment, distributors, professional associations and public or quasi-public agencies. The firm also represents high-net-worth individuals in the areas of family business planning and trusts and estates.

The founding partner is a leading practitioner in general corporate matters, including compliance and corporate governance, and is often interviewed on TV and in the media. The firm has significant experience in M&A, representing corporations in both international and domestic M&A for either acquirers or targets and in the hostile takeover defence area. In fact, the firm was awarded ‘Corporate M&A Law Firm of the Year – Japan’ by DealMakers Global Awards 2015 and ‘Best International Transactions Law – Japan’ by Acquisition International in its 2015 M&A Awards. The firm has long experience representing major domestic insurers and its founding and managing partner is an outside director of a major domestic insurer. The firm has an elite reputation for its deep knowledge and high level of practice in real estate and securitisation. The senior real estate partner is well known as a major pioneer and eminent practitioner in the securitisation of real property with wide knowledge of the relevant laws. The firm has expertise in intellectual property and technology including major disputes involving system development and integration. The firm has expertise in labour matters and has won precedent-setting victories in corporate restructuring for a major well known multinational company, and in injunctive relief to prevent the former president of a major well known multinational company from competing. The firm also has significant victories in soil contamination and construction litigation.

Some of the firm’s attorneys have served as high level prosecutors in the Ministry of Justice and the Public Security Intelligence Agency, as well as in-house general counsel, in international organisations, and as chairmen or advisors of numerous committees relating to REIT and real estate investment, including MLIT and the Ministry of Construction and the Japan Real Estate and Japan Economic Research Institute. Associate attorneys are regularly seconded to government agencies.

All of the firm’s Japanese attorneys are bilingual in Japanese and English, and its clients comprise roughly 50% domestic and 50% international. The firm has native English-speaking, US-admitted attorneys assisting in presentation and communication to clients.

Although a very large part of the firm’s practice is corporate, the firm has a strong reputation as top litigators in litigation and dispute resolution, including acting for major multinational companies with subsidiaries in Japan, and is often sought by clients aware of its reputation by word of mouth as the go-to litigation counsel in Japan.

Areas of practice: The firm is a full-service firm providing strategy, advice, negotiation, transactional work and dispute resolution for multinational and domestic companies under Japanese law (and through its relationships internationally) in the following areas, namely: corporate, including general corporate practice (both domestic and international); compliance/corporate governance; M&A; hostile takeover; labour/employment; tax; real estate; environmental law; financial regulations; finance/securitisation; insurance; restructuring/insolvency and corporate rehabilitation; risk management; antitrust; litigation (including international commercial litigation)/alternative dispute resolution (including arbitration); international transactions; international investment; antitrust; intellectual property (including patent, trade mark and copyright); entertainment; internet, media and technology; customs/trade; contracts; Asia practice; and international inheritance/international divorce.

Compliance/corporate governance
Hostile takeover
Real estate
Financial regulations
Risk management
International transactions
International investment
Internet, media and technology
Intellectual property
System development
Personal information/utilization of personal data
Information management/cyber security
Asia practice
International inheritance/international divorce
Steven A. Scheiner photoMr Steven A. ScheinerForeign Legal Advisor
Aiko Arai photoMs Aiko AraiAssociate
Tetsuya Araseki photoMr Tetsuya ArasekiOf Counsel
Hiroki Awahara photoMr Hiroki AwaharaPartner
Masaki Fujii photoMr Masaki FujiiPartner
Naoki Hieda photoMr Naoki HiedaPartner
Toshitake Higashiyama photoMr Toshitake HigashiyamaPartner
Ayako Hishida photoMs Ayako HishidaAssociate
Masanori Inoue photoMr Masanori InouePartner
Osamu Inoue photoMr Osamu InouePartner
Tetsuya Ishida photoMr Tetsuya IshidaAssociate
Takuya Ishikawa photoMr Takuya IshikawaPartner
Yuya Ito photoMr Yuya ItoAssociate
Hiroyasu Kageshima photoMr Hiroyasu KageshimaPartner
Yoshimoto Kawamura photoMr Yoshimoto KawamuraPartner
Shigeo Kifuji photoMr Shigeo KifujiGuest Counsel
Mitsuya Kosaka photoMr Mitsuya KosakaAssociate
Yuta Koyama photoMr Yuta KoyamaAssociate
Motohiro Kuroki photoMr Motohiro KurokiPartner
Nao Makita photoMs Nao MakitaPartner
Kazuki Mitake photoMr Kazuki MitakeAssociate
Sohei Mitamura photoMr Sohei MitamuraAssociate
Hirotaro Momota photoMr Hirotaro MomotaAssociate
Hiroshi Nagase photoMr Hiroshi NagaseOf Counsel
Shota Ojima photoMr Shota OjimaAssociate
Takashi Osawa photoMr Takashi OsawaAssociate
Gregory R.Kinaga photoMr Gregory R.KinagaForeign Legal Advisor
Keiko Saito photoMs Keiko SaitoAssociate
Kenji Sarukura photoMr Kenji SarukuraPartner
Naoshi Sato photoMr Naoshi SatoSpecial Counsel
Kyohei Sekiguchi photoMr Kyohei SekiguchiAssociate
Akito Sekine photoMr Akito SekineAssociate
Masahiro Shiotani photoMr Masahiro ShiotaniPartner
Kohtaro Tamura photoMr Kohtaro TamuraPartner
Masahiko Todo photoMr Masahiko TodoPartner
Chihiro Tominaga photoMs Chihiro TominagaAssociate
Kohei Tsuji photoMr Kohei TsujiAssociate
Shin Ushijima photoMr Shin UshijimaPartner
Miki Watanabe photoMs Miki WatanabeAssociate
Hiroshi Watanabe photoMr Hiroshi WatanabePartner
Makiko Yageta photoMs Makiko YagetaAssociate
Satoshi Yakushiji photoMr Satoshi YakushijiAssociate
Rikisuke Yamanaka photoMr Rikisuke YamanakaPartner
Hiroyuki Yamauchi photoMr Hiroyuki YamauchiPartner
Shinobu Yanagita photoMs Shinobu YanagitaSpecial Counsel
Number of lawyers : 52
Employment Law Alliance
Lawyers' Associated Worldwide (LAW)
Contacts : Shin Ushijima (founding partner)

Urban Renaissance Agency/Muza Kawasaki Litigation
Successfully represented the lead defendant, Urban Renaissance Agency, in a case brought by a local government as the owner of a world-renowned symphony hall (Muza Kawasaki) for JPY 2 billion in damages against our client as the seller of the hall and seven of its designers and contractors when the ceiling of the symphony hall collapsed during the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The case involved highly technical construction defect claims for special construction of the elaborate 2,000 seat hall. On May 31, 2018, the Yokohama District Court rendered judgment entirely in favor of our client and the other defendants, and this victory was affirmed by the appeals court on November 7, 2019.