Firm Profile > City-Yuwa Partners > Tokyo, Japan

City-Yuwa Partners
TOKYO 100-0005

Banking and finance: Independent local firms Tier 2

City-Yuwa Partners represents banks, securities firms, and finance companies, advising on regulatory issues and transactions. The practice is particularly strong in structured finance related to real estate and trust schemes, as well as in securitisation of assets. In addition, the firm acts as counsel to foreign banks, funds, and exchange dealers in a range of cross-border matters. Junko Hirakawa leads the team and has expertise in banking, securities, investment, and corporate matters, specialising in international practice and investment. Also notable is Masamichi Sakamoto, who focuses on the areas of banking, investment fund, real estate, and energy, with an emphasis on cross-border transactions.

Practice head(s):

Junko Hirakawa

Other key lawyers:


‘Effective and appropriate legal advice’

‘Unique and valuable legal services’

‘Superiority of international understanding across domestic business culture and overseas business culture’

‘City-Yuwa Partners is significantly and remarkably superior in terms of understanding banking and financing business policy and background originated outside of Japan’

‘Highly-valued capability for effective negotiation and communication’

‘City-Yuwa Partners’ legal service and advice covers every area over Corporate Finance, Project Finance, Structured Finance, DIP Finance, Debt restructuring procedures, Procedures for non-performing loans as well as overall banking operation’

‘Masamichi Sakamoto has great presence in a financial market in Japan’

Dispute resolution: Independent local firms Tier 2

City-Yuwa Partners acts in a broad range of other disputes, including international arbitration and litigation, bankruptcy litigation, large-scale class actions, and patent litigation. Shigeaki Ito leads the practice and specialises in real estate and construction-related disputes. Also of note is Yoko Maeda, who acts in international and domestic dispute resolution, notably international commercial arbitration. The team was strengthened in 2018 by the arrival of former assistant Judge Nobuyuki Sakuraba, who joined from Nishimura & Asahi.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Ito

Other key lawyers:


‘Due to a flexible view on work/life balance, City Yuwa has been successful in gathering lateral talent from most of Japan’s other top law firms. City Yuwa attorneys are smart, talented, hard-working, and more often than not, fun to be around. They are flexible thinkers, and can often offer big-4 level work at a more-so reasonable price.’

‘Masaaki Sawano – A leader of the Japanese bar. Very international minded, and a top-notch attorney.’

‘Yoko Maeda- An absolute pleasure to work with. Smart, charming and engaging. She asks the right questions, and is good at both high-level strategy and key tactical decision in international disputes.’

Key clients

Asahi Beer

Canon Inc.

Cardinal Health

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd

Cook Medical Inc.

FTI consulting

GS Yuasa International Ltd.

Japan Tobacco Inc.

KDDI Corporation

Midea Group

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation

Investment funds: Independent local firms Tier 2

Acting primarily for offshore investment managers, trustees, administrators, and domestic distributors, City-Yuwa Partners is experienced in the filing of securities registration statements and reports, and investment management reports with the Financial Services Agency of Japan, as well as drafting related agreements in connection with public offerings of offshore investment trusts. The firm also has expertise in serving as supervisory director of JREIT and advising on regulatory matters for investment managers, trustees, administrators and distributors. In addition, the practice is increasingly active in the establishment and distribution of fintech-related funds. The team is co-led by Haruyuki Hirata, who specialises in the establishment of a range of offshore and domestic funds; and Yasuyuki Kuribayashi, who is notable in the areas of banking, finance and investment funds.

Practice head(s):

Haruyuki Hirata; Yasuyuki Kuribayashi

Key clients

Epoch Partners Limited

Evolution Capital Management LLC

Asset Management One

Renaissance Technologies

Mittleman Brothers

Government Pension Investment Fund

Labour and employment: Independent local firms Tier 2

City-Yuwa Partners specialises in acting on management side matters. The firm provides legal advice regarding labour and employment issues to domestic and international clients across litigation, mediation, labour tribunal, and collective bargaining. Noriko Higashizawa leads the practice and has experience representing global companies on a range of labour and employment matters, including dispute resolution issues. She also provides legal advice on general corporate matters and acts as local counsel for international clients.

Private wealth: Independent local firms Tier 2

City-Yuwa Partners has particular expertise in acting for high-net-worth individuals, providing private and international wealth management services to clients in Japan and abroad. As well as individuals, the firm has experience representing financial institutions and real estate companies, combining expertise in international matters with tax, M&A, corporate, real estate, and litigation. The team is led by Shigeaki Itoh, Kazunori Furukawa, and associate Hitomi Sakai, who specialises in real estate trusts.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Itoh; Kazunori Furukawa; Hitomi Sakai

Projects and energy: Independent local firms Tier 2

The ‘remarkably supportiveCity-Yuwa Partners is known for expertise in the renewable energy arena, acting for developers and power generation companies, as well as Japanese banks, financial institutions, and offshore investment companies. Providing ‘extensive knowledge in project financing for renewable energy sectors,’ the practice particularly stands out for advice in relation to solar power and wind power plants. In addition, the practice provides regulatory and compliance support to Japanese electric power companies, as well as representing EPC contractors. The ‘effective and timelyMasamichi Sakamoto leads the team and specialises in the areas of banking, finance, investment fund, real estate, and energy, with an emphasis on cross-border transactions.

Practice head(s):

Masamichi Sakamoto


‘Effective and appropriate legal advices for project financing, especially for renewable energy sectors such as solar power and biomass power investments and for Japan Operating Lease transactions’

‘Appropriate and flexible, in order to understand laws from every legal aspect’

‘Unique and valuable legal services’

‘Superiority of international understanding across domestic business culture and overseas business culture’

‘City-Yuwa Partners is significantly and remarkably superior in terms of understanding the renewable energy sectors especially from the legal aspects’

‘Excellent teamwork based on unique educational system from the firm’s partners to associates’

‘Highly-qualified administrative supports based on excellent total capacity of the legal firm’

‘Masamichi Sakamoto is a stand out’

Yusuke Sugihara, Kenta Ikebe, Masumi Watanabe and Mikiya Yuasa are appropriate and prompt consideration as well as effective in policy determination’

‘Solid teamwork and organization’

‘Masamichi Sakamoto 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 not only in legal areas but also in other related areas’

Antitrust and competition: Independent local firms Tier 3

City-Yuwa Partners has experience in a range of matters including merger cases, unilateral conduct cases, as well as violations under the Subcontract Act and under the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations. The firm also assists leniency applications and violation declarations by clients. Teruhisa Ishii leads the practice with Yoshihiro Sakano, who is the director of the Japan Competition Law Forum and a non-governmental advisor for the JFTC.

Practice head(s):

Yoshihiro Sakano; Teruhisa Ishii

Corporate and M&A: Independent local firms Tier 3

Yasuyuki Kuribayashi and Yoshikazu Suzuki lead the team at City-Yuwa Partners, which has expertise in insolvency, transactional and finance mandate, as well as providing experience in corporate and M&A instructions Notable in the practice is labour, data privacy, and diversity law expert Noriko Higashizawa, who is experienced in providing legal advice on general corporate matters and acts as local counsel for international clients.

Practice head(s):

Yasuyuki Kuribayashi; Yoshikazu Suzuki

Other key lawyers:

Real estate and construction: Independent local firms Tier 3

City-Yuwa Partners has particular experience acting for local real estate companies and foreign investors, as well as assisting local, brokerage companies, real estate asset managers, sovereign fund, investment fund, and REIT. The practice advises on a range of issues, including structuring advice, regulatory advice, documentation of the transaction documents, and legal due diligence. In addition, the practice has expertise in dispute resolution and is known for advising on investment in warehouse and hotel properties. The team is co-led by Shigeaki Itoh, Junko Hirakawa, and Yoshiko Koizumi, who has notable experience in construction and procurement projects in Japan and overseas, including ODA projects.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Itoh; Junko Hirakawa; Yoshiko Koizumi


‘Comprehensive advise and coordinated in timely and in controlled manner’

‘Arata Nomoto provides the interpretations from the different angles, resulting in solving issues’

The firm: City-Yuwa Partners was formed on February 1 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