City-Yuwa Partners > Tokyo, Japan > Firm Profile

City-Yuwa Partners
TOKYO 100-0005

Japan > Banking and finance: Independent local firms Tier 2

City-Yuwa Partners’ team is headed up by Junko Hirakawa and is proficient in advising clients on banking and finance matters including regulatory issues, cross-border transactions, and structured finance matters relating to real estate. Clients rate Reiko Yoshida for being a ‘joy to work with‘, with a ‘truly outstanding‘ level of knowledge on ship finance work. The ‘experiencedMasamichi Sakamoto is a key contact for asset finance and real estate finance mandates, while Kenta Ikebe is proficient in project financings. For securitisation matters, trusts, derivatives, and ECA finance, Gen Takizawa is the name to note.

Practice head(s):

Junko Hirakawa


‘City-Yuwa Partners has displayed an outstanding level of expertise in the Banking and Financing sectors, which has proven to be remarkably beneficial to us.’

‘Their profound understanding of these sectors, coupled with their insights into our banking business policy and background, originating from outside Japan, has proven to be remarkably beneficial.’

‘Reiko Yoshida’s knowledge on ship financing, Japanese and English, is truly outstanding.’

‘The team has good credentials in banking and finance (particularly in shipping finance) and we like dealing and collaborating together with Reiko Yoshida and her team.’

‘Reiko Yoshida is a joy to work with and is very proactive and professional in all of her dealings with me and my team.’

‘A reliable and stable firm, whilst progressive.’

‘Masamichi Sakamoto is experienced and has deep knowledge, while Kenta Ikebe is sharp and communicates well.’

‘Their unique and valuable legal services have significantly contributed to our bank’s effective consideration and judgment of every financing transaction.’

Japan > Dispute resolution: Independent local firms Tier 2

Led by Shigeaki Ito, the dispute resolution practice at City-Yuwa Partners is lauded by clients as ‘hard-working‘ and ‘highly sophisticated‘. Alongside the team’s expertise in real estate and construction disputes, the practice offers assistance in banking and financial litigation, class action litigation, as well as alternative dispute resolution for financial clients. The ‘exceptional’ Yoko Maeda is well-versed in international arbitration. Other key team members include Masaaki Sawano, Cholmin Kim, and Yuji Kondo.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Ito


‘The team is highly sophisticated and offers great client service.’

‘They are practical and sharp.’

‘Excellent negotiation skills, with professional and timely responses.’

‘Hard-working and diligent. The CY lawyers are always willing to learn and share information.’

‘Yoko Maeda is a rising star on the international arbitration scene. She is a great advocate, very smart, and has a lot of experience. I have found her very impressive and exceptional.’

‘I have had good experiences with Yoko Maeda, she is a great lawyer, who is responsive, client-focused, and does good work.’

‘City-Yuwa Partners has an excellent dispute resolution team, including up-and-coming young partners who are building strong international arbitration practices. Their litigators are also knowledgeable and are good to work with.’

Key clients

Asahi Breweries, Co.

Cardinal Health Inc.

Cook Medical Inc.

China Merchants Bank Co.

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co.

Contrack Watts Inc.

Deutsche Bank Group

FTI Consulting

Google LLC

GS Yuasa International Ltd.

Japan Tobacco Inc.

JFE Systems Inc


Midea Group

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation

Sanki Engineering

Taiheiyo Cement Corporation

Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Toshiba Lifestyle Products & Services Corporation

Ube Industries

Japan > Labour and employment: Independent local firms Tier 2

A feature of City-Yuwa Partners‘ practice is its sector breadth, acting for a variety of corporate clients across the banking, retail, transportation and hospitality industries. Forming part of a group fielding ‘lawyers with diverse backgrounds and a wide range of expertise‘, litigator Noriko Higashizawa runs the team alongside Akira Nagasaki, who is praised for giving ‘balanced advice while clarifying the potential risks of each case’. Kosuke Hasegawa is also a key name to note in the team, especially for mergers and acquisitions with labour law elements.

Practice head(s):

Noriko Higashizawa; Akira Nagasaki

Other key lawyers:


‘City-Yuwa Partners has lawyers with diverse backgrounds and a wide range of expertise. As a client, they serve as one-stop firm for various business matters. The quality of the lawyers is also very high in our experience. The speed of response is also remarkable. The best multilingual law firm in my 30 years in business.’

‘Akira Nagasaki is a very trustworthy person with a warm and sincere personality, not to mention his wealth of experience in labour matters. His ability to handle cases in English is also valuable to HR professionals in foreign companies. He gives us balanced advice while clarifying the potential risks of each case and providing important suggestions for our decision-making as a company.’

‘Our legal partners provide solid guidance and support on legal consultations and they try to respond and provide guidance as soon as possible after conducting research. The team ensures they deliver their response within the timeline they committed.’

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

The team at City-Yuwa Partners offers a comprehensive service in the field of risk management and investigations, providing counsel on compliance issues, crisis management, whistleblowing, and criminal cases. Leading the practice is Michio Masaki, who has a wealth of experience from his background as a prosecutor in the Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District. Assisting the team, Miya Miyama specialises in conducting international and external investigations related to corporate scandals, while Kentaro Sadahiro, a legal consultant with expertise in investigations and negotiations, offers support, with a specific focus on medical malpractice and industrial accidents.

Practice head(s):

Michio Masaki

Other key lawyers:

Japan > Antitrust and competition: Independent local firms Tier 3

City-Yuwa Partners' practice is particularly skilled in advising on mergers and violations of the Subcontract Act and Unjustifiable Premiums Act, with practice c0-head Yoshihiro Sakano regularly representing clients before the Japan Fair Trade Commission. Fellow co-head Teruhisa Ishii is adept at advising both domestic and international clients on the competition and antitrust aspects of M&A.

Practice head(s):

Teruhisa Ishii; Yoshihiro Sakano


‘There are many attorneys in this firm who are friendly and willing to give advice. We were able to receive helpful advice on antitrust law and corporate law issues relating to business consolidation. Even if you are not familiar with the law, they will explain it in easy-to-understand terms. Also, you can get an answer immediately.’

Key clients

Riken Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Riken Corporation on a share transfer with NIPPON PISTON RING CO., LTD.

Japan > Private wealth: Independent local firms Tier 3

City-Yuwa Partners‘ private wealth team, jointly led by Shigeaki Itoh and Hitomi Sakai, advises a diverse and international client base, including high-net-worth individuals, family business owners, company founders and investors. The group works closely with tax accountants and financial institutions to handle a full range of matters across wealth management and estate planning which Yuki Takahashi focuses on. The team also has a strong litigation practice, handling matters from negotiation and mediation to civil and criminal litigation, and disputes between family members, and business partners. Ayaka Itoh, who focuses on domestic estate planning and business succession, was promoted to counsel in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Itoh; Hitomi Sakai

Other key lawyers:

Shotaro Aok; Yuki Takahashi, Ayaka Itoh


‘Great cross-border teaming with a US estate lawyer. Bi-lingual capabilities.’

‘Hitomi Sakai has and continues to provide great services to my English and Japanese clients with US and Japan gift/estate tax planning needs.’

‘People in City Yuwa are always very responsive for all the issues that clients raises. They attach importance to collaboration with other professional firms, working together.’

‘Hitomi Sakai is a great attorney who I work with for cross-border estate tax issues. Her knowledge in dealing with Japanese nationals who have global families is very wide and deep.’

Work highlights

Japan > Projects and energy: Independent local firms Tier 3

Offshore wind projects have been a particular recent growth area for the energy and projects team at City-Yuwa Partners  which the team advises developers and financial institutions on the financing, development, construction and operation of wind power plants. The team also advises power companies on regulatory and compliance matters. Practice head Masamichi Sakamoto has extensive experience in the energy sector, acting for foreign investors and developers. Sakamoto is supported by Yukinori Sasaki, who advises Japanese renewable energy developers and power generation companies on developing solar and wind power plants.

Practice head(s):

Masamichi Sakamoto

Other key lawyers:


City-Yuwa Partners’ wide range knowledge and experience over and into the detailed standards, regulations and governmental policies of renewable energy sectors such as solar power and biomass power business and of Japan Operating Lease have been greatly supportive during their legal advice and services.’

‘City-Yuwa Partners has displayed an outstanding level of expertise in the renewable energy sectors, particularly concerning legal aspects. Their profound understanding of these sectors, coupled with their insights into client’s business policy and background, originating from outside Japan, has proven to be remarkably beneficial.’

‘Their services in the renewable energy sector have played a crucial role in expanding our financing business as a foreign bank in Japan. Their contributions have paved the way for successful ventures and facilitated our bank’s experience to navigate this industry with confidence and efficiency.’

‘Extensive legal services based on aggressive and positive encouragement for developing the team’s capability and knowledge in project financing for renewable energy sectors.’

‘City-Yuwa Partners has proactively encouraged their team members to engage in ongoing learning opportunities, including studying in domestic government offices, commercial banks, investment banks, and other relevant institutions. This strategic approach has enabled their team to broaden and deepen their expertise in project financing, with a particular focus on renewable energy sectors such as solar power and biomass power projects. As a result of this continuous learning and professional development, the team at City-Yuwa has been able to provide highly effective legal services in the field of renewable energy project financing. Their in-depth understanding of the intricacies and nuances of these sectors allows them to offer tailored and valuable legal advice to clients involved in solar and biomass power projects.’

Work highlights

Japan > Real estate and construction: Independent local firms Tier 3

City-Yuwa Partners has 'specialists in every field' that offer 'unique and invaluable' advice across the real estate and construction sectors. The team, co-led by Shigeaki Itoh and Junko Hirakawa, represents both Japanese companies and foreign clients. ‘Standout‘ partner Masamichi Sakamoto counts foreign investment funds, international hotel brands, real estate asset managers and banks among his clients. Hirosato Nabika advises on numerous construction and procurement projects both in Japan and overseas, in addition to assisting clients with matters that arise post-transaction. Practice co-head Yoshiko Koizumi specialises in dispute prevention and resolution, and in recall and product liability on an international level, and Hiroaki Matsunaga has experience in disputes concerning domestic construction matters. ODA projects are another area of focus for the team, with Yoshitada Ogiso handling financing issues, and Koji Matsuda handling infrastructure matters.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Itoh; Junko Hirakawa; Yoshiko Koizumi


‘City-Yuwa Partners has provided us with effective legal assistance, particularly for cross-border projects involving investors from Singapore and Thailand.’

‘Their expertise in offering suitable and adaptable legal advice has enabled us to navigate laws from all angles. Their unique and invaluable legal services have significantly contributed to our decision-making process for each financing transaction.’

‘Highly valued capability for effective negotiation and communication: City-Yuwa Partners could directly and effectively support our bank’s negotiation and communication with our customers. They also have direct and effective negotiations with the legal advisors on behalf of our borrowers, especially with respect to the significant legal issues.’

‘Accurate, proper and sufficient knowledge and experience in every letter of law, which has largely and effectively contributed to supporting our bank’s various transactions.’

‘Sakamoto, as the stand-out partner of City-Yuwa Partners, has established and maintained strong and effective personal connections over the domestic market and overseas countries. He has been effectively cooperating and working together with specialists.’

‘I think they are differentiated from other law firms by forming a team of people with different expertise and experience and approaching cases from many angles. Each lawyer has specialised knowledge and experience, so they can handle many tasks with high quality.’

‘Yoshiko Koizumi; In addition to her excellence of professional legal skills and experiences, she has outstanding view as a businessperson and gives us great advice from big picture based on her various experiences and practice. She also has rich connections and networks globally, and can provide us with wonderful resolutions from a wide point of broader insight.’

Work highlights

Japan > Shipping: Independent local firms Tier 3

The maritime department at City-Yuwa Partners regularly advises on shipping finance transactions, as well as disputes, corporate restructurings and reorganisations. Reiko Yoshida heads up the practice and is experienced in advising both domestic and international shipping owners and financial entities on shipping finance mandates.

Practice head(s):

Reiko Yoshida


‘In working with Reiko Yoshida on ship financing, I have found her knowledge of Japanese and English law (maritime and financial), her knowledge and understanding of the shipping and shipbuilding industry, her quick response and her personality to be truly outstanding.’

‘Their partner, Reiko Yoshida is extremely knowledgeable and has many years of experience in ship finance transactions. She offers practical, detailed and well-structured legal advice to her shipping clients.’

‘The team has good credentials in shipping and we like dealing and collaborating together with Reiko Yoshida and her team.’

‘I work with Reiko Yoshida, a partner at City-Yuwa Partners. Reiko is a joy to work with and is very proactive and professional in all of her dealings with me and my team.’

Japan > Capital markets: Independent local firms Tier 4

Japan > Corporate and M&A: Independent local firms Tier 4

The corporate team at City-Yuwa Partners, which clients compliment for its ‘valuable advice‘, is jointly headed up by Yukihiro Fujimoto and Akira Nagasaki, with the team advising clients on acquisitions and alliance agreements, as well as drafting and negotiating share purchase agreements. Noriko Higashizawa, described as ‘extremely responsive‘, is another key name alongside Hiroyasu Horimoto and Hirosato Nabika.

Practice head(s):

Yukihiro Fujimoto; Akira Nagasaki


‘They were very organized and developed a system to track and prioritize work activities that needed to be completed. They utilized skills and experience of different lawyers to complete the work efficiently and provide all deliverables done well, on time and within budget.’

‘The lead partner with whom I worked was Noriko Higashizawa. She was extremely responsive and working with her and her team was an enjoyable and collaborative experience.’

‘The team maintained a solid grip of the case throughout and gave us valuable advice, recognizing that we as a European company with no foothold in Japan were quite ignorant of Japanese laws.’

‘Hiroyasu Horimoto and Hirosato Nabika were our trusted advisers leading the team in an efficient and cost-effective manner.’

Key clients

Usen-Next Holdings


PharmaLex AG

Japan > TMT: Independent local firms Tier 4

The practice at City-Yuwa Partners is jointly led by Arata Nomoto and Yumiko Aoi. Nomoto primarily assists digital entertainment clients on IP transactions and advertising, while Aoi maintains a tech focused practice, having deep knowledge of corporate matters and employment disputes. The team is particularly experienced with representing game developers and publishers in matters concerning copyright infringement, e-commerce, online events, and licensing.

Practice head(s):

Arata Nomoto; Yumiko Aoi

Work highlights

The firm: City-Yuwa Partners was formed on 1 February 2003, upon the merger of Yuwa Partners and the law department of Tokyo City Law & Tax Partners, resulting in one of Japan’s leading law firms. With the merger of one of Japan’s top patent litigation firms in September 2005, and following the addition of new partners with various legal backgrounds, City-Yuwa has grown into one of Japan’s preeminent law firms capable of providing a full range of diversified legal services. The firm has grown in size from 49 in 2003 to 153 in 2017.

Areas of practice: City-Yuwa Partners routinely counsels its clients in areas ranging from general corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, international transactions, and financial transactions, including asset securitisation and the formation and ongoing operations of investment funds, to intellectual property, civil and commercial litigation, and bankruptcy.

Lawyers at the firm are knowledgeable in a wide range of legal areas, with particular expertise in corporate law, international banking and finance, securities, mergers and acquisitions, investments, real estate, intellectual property, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, insolvency, environment, new energy, economic crime and virtually all aspects of international and domestic business transactions. The firm has built an experienced team of professionals with diverse backgrounds, including former judges, public prosecutors, high-ranking governmental officials and in-house counsels for various business corporations, in addition to lawyers with additional qualifications such as license in other jurisdictions and license as patent lawyer, CPA and maritime counsellor.

Department Name Email Telephone
Securities and derivatives
Real estate investment
Investment funds
Renewable energy
Intellectual property
Patent litigation
Creditors rights
Commercial litigation
Number of lawyers : 153
World Law Group