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 advise domestic and international trusts, banks, and securities companies on regulatory issues and transactions, with strength in structured finance related to real estate. Junko Hirakawa, who has significant experience in the practice area, leads the team. Masamichi Sakamoto is particularly active in real estate finance, asset finance, and financial regulation, while Gen Takizawa covers ECA finance, securitisation, derivatives, and trust transactions. Reiko Yoshida, who joined from Atsumi & Sakai in 2021, has significant expertise on ship financing.

Practice head(s):

Junko Hirakawa


‘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

City-Yuwa Partners‘ large and well established disputes team has strengths in numerous sectors, including banking & finance, corporate & commercial, and construction & real estate, which has been a key area since the firm was established in 2003. Real estate and construction disputes specialist Shigeaki Ito leads the team, with more than 20 years’ experience in the practice area. Meanwhile, ‘international arbitration star’ Yoko Maeda represents high-profile domestic and international corporate clients, as well as government owned entities, in abritration across a wide range of sectors. Cholmin Kim, who oversees the Korea practice, is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Ito

Other key lawyers:

Yoko Maeda; Masaaki Sawano; Cholmin Kim


‘The City-Yuwa international arbitration team is highly experienced, has great advocates and is very responsive.’

‘Yoko Maeda is an international arbitration star. She is a highly talented advocate, a smart thinker, and always very responsive. Yoko works effortlessly across different jurisdictions.’

‘City-Yuwa were well positioned to provide reliable advice to our UK company operating a subsidiary in Japan. City Yuwa’s knowledge of both jurisdictions, and bi-lingual abilities allowed a thorough explanation of the peculiarities of Japanese law and how best to proceed through the various stages of a dispute.’

‘We found Yoko Maeda a pleasure to deal with. She was always positive and amenable in our private discussions, but was equally well able to articulate her points and stand her ground under intense pressure during the crunch meetings with our counterparts.’

‘City-Yuwa is a full service law firm providing professional legal advice with efficient solutions.’

‘I have worked with Yoko Maeda for years. She is an excellent litigator and sophisticated in arbitration. Most importantly, Yoko provides us with practical legal advice which makes business sense.’

‘The team is responsive, structured, and knowledgeable both on Japanese law and international commercial arbitration.Effective and efficient teamwork is absolutely possible with Maeda Sensei and her team.’

‘All members of the team are very dedicated, attentive, punctual, and enthusiastic. They strive for perfection in every detail of the work delivered and advice they provide. I was really impressed by how hard-working they are and the quality of the work. In particular, Yoko Maeda, who is the team leader is an excellent litigator, very client focused and extremely supportive.’

Key clients

Asahi Breweries, Co., Ltd.

Canon, Inc.

Cardinal Health Inc.

Cook Medical Inc.

China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd

Contrack Watts Inc.

Deutsche Bank Group

FTI Consulting

Google LLC

GS Yuasa International Ltd.

Japan Tobacco Inc.

JFE Systems 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.

Sojitz Aerospace Corporation

Taiheiyo Cement Corporation

Takizawa Ham Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)

Toshiba Lifestyle Products & Services Corporation

Ube Industries, Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of Japanese citizens and companies in over 20 consecutive class action cases seeking for damages relating the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident.
  • 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.
  • Representing FTI Consulting in a dispute over alleged fraud over JPY 20bn 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

City-Yuwa Partners assists both domestic and international clients with day-to-day labour and employment advice. The department is active across a broad range of sectors, including financial, retail, transportation and hospitality, with aptitude for both contentious and non-contentious matters. Noriko Higashizawa and Akira Nagasaki co-lead the department, and share a focus on litigation. Higashizawa has additional expertise in labour tribunal proceedings, while Nagasaki also handles compliance advice and counselling for institutional employers and smaller companies. Kosuke Hasegawa, who made partner in January 2022, focuses on matters with cross-border elements.

Practice head(s):

Noriko Higashizawa; Akira Nagasaki

Other key lawyers:

Japan > Private wealth: Independent local firms Tier 2

City-Yuwa Partners provides comprehensive wealth management services to a diverse set of high-net-worth individuals, able to offer clients support across corporate, real estate and asset management, as well as legal advice on visa issues and estate planning. The department additionally has litigation expertise, able to achieve resolution through negotiation, mediation, and civil and criminal litigation. Counsel Hitomi Sakai, who is praised for her ‘expertise in international estate law’, co-leads the practice with Shigeaki Itoh. Associate Yuki Takahashi is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Shigeaki Itoh; Hitomi Sakai

Other key lawyers:


‘The private wealth team not only specializes in Japan inheritance and estate planning, but through their close connection/collaboration with the US/UK lawyers and other major foreign countries, they are in a very unique position in Tokyo to serve the English speaking high-net-worth international family’s needs.’

‘One-stop shop with bilingual capabilities.’

‘I work with Hitomi Sakai sensei exclusively. I value her client service skills along with her bilingual English/Japanese ability and understanding of both US and Japan estate law.’

‘Ms. Hitomi Sakai is earning respect and trust from clients for her timely and quality advices. Her strength is her professional network to support clients as one stop. She also has a great understanding of cultrual diversity that is inherent in global business. She is the author of international estate books and publishing some articles in the leading industrial magazines.’

‘They are highly competent, and are able to serve international clients in English and Japanese, and are responsive to their clients needs.’

‘I have worked with Ms. Hitomi Sakai (counsel) and Ms. Yuki Takahashi (associate). Their expertise in international estate law is unique, and there are only a few lawyers to whom I can refer my clients for resolving any estate matters arising in Japan with confidence.’

Japan > Projects and energy: Independent local firms Tier 2

City-Yuwa Partners has a strong record within the renewable energy sector, and advises a range of clients on projects both domestically and across East Asia. Solar and wind power are key areas for the department, which provides support from due diligence and financing, to construction and operation. The department also provides support to power companies for regulatory and compliance matters under the Electricity Utilities Industry Law. Masamichi Sakamoto leads the team, bringing experience across banking, finance, investment, real estate and energy. Yukinori Sasaki is another key name, and specialises in real estate financing and project financing.

Practice head(s):

Masamichi Sakamoto

Other key lawyers:


‘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 and business promotion.’

‘Mr. 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 not only in legal areas but also in other related areas to support our bank’s project finance, renewable energy/Japan operating lease transactions.’

Japan > Antitrust and competition: Independent local firms Tier 3

City-Yuwa Partners is particularly active on merger cases, unilateral conduct cases, and alleged violation cases under the Subcontract Act and Unjustifiable Premiums Act. The department is co-led by Teruhisa Ishii and Yoshihiro Sakano. Sakano acts primarily as a defence counsel, and has significant experience negotiating with the JFTC, including cartel cases and unilateral cases. Ishii has a history working within the M&A division of the JFTC, and advises both international and domestic clients on this area.

Practice head(s):

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

City-Yuwa Partners represents both major domestic real estate companies and foreign investors in a broad range of real estate transactions, with additional expertise in dispute resolution. The department is also active on construction and infrastructure matters, with experience handling high value projects both within Japan and overseas. Shigeaki Itoh co-leads the department alongside Yoshiko Koizumi, who has over 40 years’ experience in construction and procurement projects. Masamichi Sakamoto and Kenta Ikebe are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiko Koizumi; Shigeaki Itoh

Other key lawyers:


‘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 and business promotion.’

‘Mr. 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.’

‘Kenta Ikebe – sharp and diligent, with good command of English and Japanese, making him a strong help when discussing financing terms with the lenders and partners.’

‘Masamichi Sakamoto – highly experienced and familiar with our requirements over the many years supporting us, which is crucial to steady execution and successful closing of transactions.’

‘The team has been detailed and focused on driving strong financing terms for us across different real estate sectors.’

Japan > Shipping: Independent local firms Tier 3

City-Yuwa Partners provides a broad range of services, including advising on general corporate matters, transactional matters, disputes, and corporate reorganisations. Department head Reiko Yoshida, who joined from Atsumi & Sakai in 2021, has more than 20 years’ experience in the practice area. Yoshida specialises in shipping finance, and has a record of leading on complex multijurisdictional transactions.

Practice head(s):

Reiko Yoshida


‘Strong English language ability. Good understanding of English law concepts. Ability to draft complex documents in English.’

‘Strong ship finance industry knowledge.’

‘Very responsive. Friendly and respectful.’

‘Reiko Yoshida is the stand-out partner.’

Japan > Capital markets: Independent local firms Tier 4

City-Yuwa Partners has expertise on regulatory matters and structured finance issues. Founding partner Yasuyuki Kuribayashi leads the team, and has broad experience in banking and finance.

Practice head(s):

Yasuyuki Kuribayashi


‘Depth of the knowledge in the relevant field i.e. securities finance.’

‘Thorough analysis in compiling and/or reviewing the legal documentation.’

‘Easy to communicate – Prompt response to the inquiries.’

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

City-Yuwa Partners fields a corporate team which works closely with the firm’s other departments to provide comprehensive service for domestic and international clients. The team is co-led by Yasuyuki Kuribayashi, who has almost 30 years’ experience in corporate and finaance, and M&A specialist Yoshikazu Suzuki. Noriko Higashizawa is a key name within the department.

Practice head(s):

Yasuyuki Kuribayashi; Yoshikazu Suzuki

Other key lawyers:


‘Highly responsive, professional and understanding of clients’ needs.’

Key clients

ROCKWOOL International A/S

Work highlights

  • Advised Rockwool Asia on its acquisition of the assets of Bansyo Holdings, a Japanese company that specialises in the supply of fire protection & thermal insulation in both the industrial & building sectors.

Japan > TMT: Independent local firms Tier 4

City-Yuwa Partners is particularly active in advising online businesses and digital entertainment clients. Arata Nomoto leads the department, and has broad exprience in digital media such as video games and online music, as well as data protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Arata Nomoto

Other key lawyers:

Noriko Higashizawa; Yumiko Aoi

Japan > Investment funds: Independent local firms

City-Yuwa Partners, co-led by Haruyuki Hirata  and Yasuyuki Kuribayashi, advises a range of offshore investment managers and trustees, as well as domestic distributors.

Japan > Restructuring and insolvency: Independent local firms

City-Yuwa Partners is co-led by Koji Matsuda and Masaaki Sawano, and represents a range of clients in insolvency 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.

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