City-Yuwa Partners > Tokyo, Japan > Firm Profile

City-Yuwa Partners
TOKYO 100-0005

Japan > Antitrust and competition: Independent local firms Tier 2

The experienced City-Yuwa Partners practice primarily focuses on merger, unilateral conduct, alleged violation cases under the Subcontract Act, and alleged violation cases under the Act against unjustifiable premiums and misleading representations. In addition, the firm handles leniency applications and violation declarations by clients, as well as negotiations with the JFTC or the Consumer Affairs Agency to reach a settlement/final decision without unexpected remedies, or surcharges. Teruhisa Ishii and Yoshihiro Sakano co-lead the team and both have significant experience with the JFTC; Sakano acts as defence counsel in investigation cases, and Ishii also has a background within the merger division of the JFTC.

Japan > Banking and finance: Independent local firms Tier 2

Advising on regulatory and transactional matters, City-Yuwa Partners represents Japanese trusts, regional and international banks, as well as securities firms and finance companies. The firm specialises in structured finance related to real estate, using trust schemes and securitization of various assets including receivables, trade finance and property loans and finance. Junko Hirakawa leads a strong team that includes partners with experience working in the Japanese FSA and Bank of Japan. Key names in the practice include Masamichi Sakamoto, who has particular expertise in real estate finance, asset finance, solar power project finance and regulation; and Gen Takizawa, whose expertise covers banking, ECA finance, investment, securitization, derivatives and trust transactions, including cross-border lending, investment and funding.

Practice head(s):


‘City-Yuwa Partners provide appropriate and flexible legal advices in order to understand laws from every legal aspect. Their unique and valuable legal services have significantly contributed to our bank’s effective consideration and judgement of every financing transaction from the viewpoints both of our credit control, banking/financing business promotion and our banking operation.’

‘City-Yuwa Partners is significantly and remarkably superior in terms of understanding our banking and financing business policy and background originated outside of Japan. Such unique and valuable legal services based on their team’s global sensitivity has remarkably contributed to expanding our financing business as foreign bank into Japan.’

‘City-Yuwa Partners have continuously encourage their team to study in overseas law schools and/or engage in overseas law firms, domestic government office, commercial / investment banks and etc., their team can certainly expand and deepen the areas of financing business in which the team is able to provide effective legal services.’

‘The stand-out City-Yuwa Partner, Mr. Sakamoto’s strong, efficient and gentle leadership has significantly contributed to improving capability, experience and knowledge of his  City-Yuwa Partners’ and associates’.

Japan > Dispute resolution: Independent local firms Tier 2

Traditionally known for real estate and construction disputes, City-Yuwa Partners also provides expertise in banking and finance, bankruptcy, commercial, corporate and class action litigation. The firm adds to this an experienced international arbitration and litigation practice; international commercial arbitration specialist Yoko Maeda is a key name in this area. Shigeaki Ito leads the large 34 partner team and focuses on real estate and construction related disputes, with a long track record representing real estate companies in Japan.

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‘The international arbitration team is headed by Yoko Maeda, who is extremely knowledgeable and responsive. They are a small but excellent team that understands the client’s needs and develops strategies to achieve them.’

‘Yoko Maeda is outstanding. Originally US trained, she is truly bicultural. She is smart and provides excellent legal analysis. She is also a very persuasive advocate in front of a tribunal.’

‘A full-service firm with reasonable and flexible fee arrangement. While it is not a first tire firm, it has a professional dispute resolution team capable for both domestic and cross-border disputes.’

‘Yoko Maeda is highly skilled and have deep sense of commercial. She is deeply involved in the cases and understood her clients.’

‘The City-Yuwa team are great to work with. They very much appear to work together seamlessly with the single intention of progressing your case with minimal fuss and great attention to detail. They really are a first class outfit.’

‘I have personally been working with Yoko Maeda over the course of the last few years. I have found her to be extremely easy to work with. Not only is she personable and smart but she will work late and hard and at short notice to deliver a first class work product. She is first class in terms of her responsiveness, attention to detail and willingness to work hard to achieve the desired results and outcomes.’

Key clients

Asahi Beer

Bureau Veritas Japan Co., Ltd.

Canon, Inc.

Cardinal Japan K.K.

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd

Cook Medical Inc.

Contrack Watts Inc.

Energy Products Co., Ltd.

FTI Consulting

GS Yuasa International Ltd.

Japan Tobacco Inc.

KDDI Corporation

Maetel (Maessa Telecomunicaciones Ingenieria Instalaciones y Servicios S.A.)

Midea Group

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation

Sanki Engineering

SBI Securities Co., Ltd.

SEKIWA Real Estate, Ltd. Sekisui House Real Estate Tokyo,Ltd.

Sojitz Aerospace Corporation

Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., Ltd

Taiheiyo Cement Corporation

Takizawa Ham Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)

Work highlights

  • Advised Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) in a claim for damages from an electric power company in courts throughout Japan by residents who were forced to evacuate from their places of residence due to the Fukushima nuclear power station accident that occurred on March 11, 2011.
  • Representing SBI Securities Co., Ltd. (SBI) in a case filed by over 200 shareholders of FOI, a company which committed financial window-dressing and misstatements and went bankrupt.
  • Advised FTI Consulting in a dispute over alleged fraud over JPY20billion in relation to investment by J Trust Asia Pte, Ltd to Global Lease PCL which is a subsidiary of Showa Holdings.

Japan > Labour and employment: Independent local firms Tier 2

Representing domestic and international clients across a range of industry sectors, City-Yuwa Partners provides daily advice on labour and employment issues, as well as acting in disputes. The firm primarily represents employers, handling employment contracts and work rules. A stand-out feature of the team’s service is its use of AI to assist in translation work, and more recently its handling of COVID-19 related questions in an English and Japanese newsletter. Noriko Higashizawa  handles labour and corporate matters and co-leads the practice with Akira Nagasaki, who is active in litigation. Also notable is associate Kosuke Hasegawa, who focuses on employment advice to global clients.

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Japan > Private wealth: Independent local firms Tier 2

Specialising in domestic and international inheritance matters, City-Yuwa Partners handles a range of private wealth matter for high-net-worth clients, family business owners, company founders, investors, young entrepreneurs and financial institutions. The practice is supported by immigration and litigation expertise within the firm, as well as working closely with external tax accountants to provide a full service to clients. Shigeaki Itoh co-leads the team with counsel Hitomi Saka, who focuses on international inheritance, estate planning and labour and employment law.

Practice head(s):


‘The team and particular attorney that I work with for our mutual clients are mostly international family between Japan and the US’.

‘The attorney has experience handling cross border estate planning capabilities. In addition, I thought it was great and efficient the team can take credit card payments and their upfront conflict of interest check was very quick and efficient’.

Japan > Projects and energy: Independent local firms Tier 2

City-Yuwa Partners is known for renewable energy expertise, advising Japanese renewable energy developers, power generation companies, Japanese banks, financial institutions, and offshore investment companies. The firm provides due diligence support to offshore, as well as advising on EPC contracts. Particular areas of growth for the practice are offshore wind projects and regulatory and compliance matters under the Electricity Utilities Industry Law. Masamichi Sakamoto is the go-to name in the team and has experience in the area of banking, finance, investment, real estate and energy, with a strong emphasis on cross-border transactions.

Practice head(s):


‘Mr. Sakamoto provided our bank with their superior capabilities and above uniqueness. They have significantly contributed to effectively supporting and managing our bank’s project financing transactions from every legal aspect, which have been especially for (i) renewable energy sectors such as solar power and biomass power, for (ii) Japan Operating Lease transactions and for (iii) large-scaled property investments of commercial buildings, hotels and etc.’

‘Accurate, proper and sufficient knowledge and experience not only over every letter of law, its article, past judicial precedent but also over every standard, regulations, systems especially of renewable energy sectors such as solar power and biomass power as well as Japan Operating lease. They have largely and effectively contributed to supporting our bank’s various project financing in this sectors.’

‘Put high priority on the clients’ satisfaction: They have provided appropriate and flexible legal advices in accordance with our bank’s consideration and decision from the credit and commercial aspects.’

‘Effective and timely collaboration between Mr. Sakamoto and the other partners and/or associates belonging to City-Yuwa Partners has enhanced their overall capability.’

‘Complementing to the strong supports from City-Yuwa partners with such capability, our bank’s great presence in a financial market in Japan has largely improved.’

‘Strong and efficient as well as gentle leadership: The stand-out City-Yuwa Partners, Mr. Sakamoto’s strong, efficient and gentle leadership has significantly contributed to improving capability, experience and knowledge of his / City-Yuwa Partners’ associates.’

‘Every stand-out partner and associate establish, build-up a well-organized team through the effective communication and thus, the maximized strong team generates their best performance to provide our bank with the desirable and required legal services.’

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

City-Yuwa Partners is well regarded for global governance, tender offers, reorganisations and squeeze out transactions, particularly those with a cross-border element. Yasuyuki Kuribayashi  specialises in corporate and finance matters; he co-leads the team with M&A expert Yoshikazu Suzuki.

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

Advising local real estate developers, brokerage companies, real estate asset managers, sovereign funds, investment funds and REITs, City-Yuwa Partners has a broad client base in the real estate sector. The firm is best known for handling investment in the real estate sector, notably structuring advice, regulatory advice, documentation of the transaction documents and due diligence. They also provide experience in new development projects and disputes in the area. In terms of the construction space, the practice specialises in representing Japanese government-funded agencies handling overseas construction or procurement projects in relation to official development assistance (ODA). Shigeaki Itoh leads in the real estate area, while Yoshiko Koizumi  is head of the construction team and has experience in construction and procurement projects in Japan and overseas.

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‘Very responsive, able to understand complex issues and translate them across the cultural context, e.g. structuring cross-border transactions while tailoring them for our Japanese counterparties.’

‘Sakamoto Masamichi has deep understanding across a broad range of legal matters.’

‘Ikebe Kenta is very good at distilling complex legal points into accessible concepts.’

Japan > Shipping: Independent local firms Tier 3

The shipping team at City-Yuwa Partners advises shipping operators on corporate, transactional, and dispute matters related to maritime business. New head of the practice Reiko Yoshida joined the from Astumi & Sakai, bringing with her, expertise in complicated non-recourse based overseas vessel financing transactions.

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Reiko Yoshida –  in addition to her excellent English language communication skills, she has a strong understanding of English law finance and security documentation, concepts and market practice, particularly in relation to ship finance, and she is focused on high quality and responsive service.

Japan > TMT: Independent local firms Tier 3

The City-Yuwa Partners TMT practice has a broad clientbase that includes manufacturers, telecommunication and Wi-Fi service companies, software developers, publishers, media broadcasting, digital entertainment companies and IT consulting firms. The firm has particular strength advising on IP, privacy and data protection, and industry regulations, as well as assisting in online businesses and digital entertainment matters. Arata Nomoto leads the team and provides experience in transactions involving emerging technologies, video games, online music and other digital entertainment businesses and digital designs.

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Japan > Restructuring and insolvency: Independent local firms

Koji Matsuda and Masaaki Sawano co-lead the City-Yuwa Partners practice that boasts experiences representing debtors, creditors, sponsors, investors, suppliers and other business entities in restructuring and bankruptcy cases.

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.

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