Clifford Chance > Tokyo, Japan > Firm Profile

Clifford Chance
GAIKOKUHO KYODO JIGYO, PALACE BUILDING, 3RD FLOOR
1-1, MARUNOUCHI 1-CHROME, CHIYODA-KU
TOKYO 100-0005
Japan

Japan > Banking and finance: International firms and joint ventures Tier 1

Yusuke Abe leads Clifford Chance’s Tokyo banking and finance offering and specialises in cross-border and domestic project finance, export finance, and M&A finance. Under his leadership, the practice is regularly instructed by both Japanese and international financial institutions on inbound and outbound acquisition and asset finance transactions, and regulatory matters related to derivatives. The team also has a market-leading aviation and energy practice which is supported by Hans Menski who is regularly instructed on first-of-a-kind project developments with complex, multi-source financings. The team is adept at work for blue-chip clients, offering international and Japanese law capabilities. Also of note is counsel Akihiko Takamatsu, who is well regarded by clients for his banking and regulatory expertise.

Practice head(s):

Yusuke Abe

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team is expert at advising on, preparing and filing large shareholding and Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law reports in Japan.’

‘Partner Yusuke Abe is a high skilled and experienced partner who always thinks of his clients first and always give his feedback within 24 hours.

‘Small numbers with exceptional talent and perfect team collaboration.’

‘Mr. Akihiko Takamatsu shows passion towards our work and has a lot of commercial and legal knowledge of the industry/sector. We are feeling very satisfied with his work.’

Key clients

CVC Capital Partners

Permira Advisors Limited

Goldman Sachs

Japan Bank for International Cooperation

BOC Aviation Limited

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (“SMBC”)

Nippon Export and Investment Insurance

Development Bank of Japan Inc.

MUFG Bank

Mizuho Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

Shinsei Bank, Limited

NEC Capital Solutions Limited

Citibank, N.A. (including the Tokyo branch)

VINCI Airports

LIXIL Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised JBIC on the guarantee in respect of the financing by commercial financial institutions to ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.
  • Advised JBIC in connection with a facility agreement with Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior, S.N.C., Institución de Banca de Desarrollo.
  • Advised JBIC in connection with a facility agreement with Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation and PT Mitsubishi Motors Krama Yudha Indonesia.

Japan > Capital markets: International firms and joint ventures Tier 1

The capital markets practice at Clifford Chance features a pre-eminent team of Tokyo based partners and associates and covers the range of capital markets products and is known for its Samurai, Uridashi, and Tokyo Pro-Bond expertise. Led by Leng-Fong Lai, the team also has particular strength in advising on equity offerings and investments and equities, hybrid securities, and liability management. Lai’s focus is on on- and off-balance sheet structured financial products and other structured finance transactions. Also of note within the team is Reiko Sakimura, who is an expert in public convertible bonds and structured MTNs. At a non-partner level, counsels Yasuko Moriwaki and Chihiro Ashizawa are core team members, with Moriwaki offering expertise in convertible and straight bonds, MTNs, and equity offerings by Japanese issuers, and Ashizaawa focuses on debt market issues in the Japanese market.

Practice head(s):

Leng-Fong Lai

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Clifford Chance Tokyo Capital Market team has already established its brand led by Reiko Sakimura. Her team is capable enough to handle multiple transactions efficiently.’

‘While respecting technicality and client handling skills, Reiko Sakimura is a diversity champion and from this perspective, she is a leader in the industry and role model.’

Key clients

Nomura

SMBC Nikko

Daiwa

Mizuho

Bank of America

Morgan Stanley

MUFG

Citigroup

Lloyds Banking Group plc/Lloyds Bank plc

Barclays PLC/Barclays Bank PLC

Standards Chartered PLC

HSBC Holdings plc/HSBC Bank plc

Nordea Bank Abp

ING Group N.V./ING Bank N.V.

Banco Santander-Chile

Credit Suisse International

First Abu Dhabi Bank P.J.S.C.

Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Company

Lifenet Insurance Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Morgan Stanley and MUFG Securities as Joint Lead Managers on structuring, marketing and execution of an offering (including the disclosure, TLAC and the sustainability bond aspects) by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) of the first COVID-response bond out of Japan.
  • Advised Nomura, SBI Securities and Daiwa as Joint Lead Managers on the issue by SBI Holdings of JPY70 billion of zero coupon convertible bonds.
  • Advised SMBC Nikko and UBS as Joint Lead Managers on the issue by euglena Co., Ltd. as Issuer of new shares of common stock in the RegS international market, which was part of the acquisition financing by the Issuer of its acquisition of Q’sai from Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan.

Japan > Fintech - International firms and joint ventures Tier 1

Clifford Chance‘s Tokyo FinTech group sits within the wider firm's global tech group and clients therefore benefit from a global offering. The team advises on many transformational FinTech-related projects, involving blockchain technology, digital assets, and AI and so provides cross-practice transactional, advisory, and regulatory expertise. The team is co-led by banking and finance head Yusuke Abe and regulatory head Eiichi Kanda. Abe regularly advises domestic and international financial institutions in FinTech matters as does Kanda from a regulatory stand point. Also of note within the team are Reiko Sakimura and Leng-Fong Lai who are often involved in FinTech-related capital market products technology development. The team also works closely with industry and governmental bodies, participating in FinTech related working groups. At a non-partner level, key contacts are Chihiro Ashizawa and Hajime Saito.

Practice head(s):

Yusuke Abe; Eiichi Kanda

Other key lawyers:

Satoshi Nomura; Leng-Fong Lai; Michihiro Nishi; Hans Menski

Key clients

Lifenet Insurance Company

SMBC Nikko

Nomura

SBI Securities

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lifenet Insurance Company, an Internet-based life insurer, on its first equity offering since its IPO, and its debut international offering.
  • Advised the Joint Lead Managers on the issue by CHANGE Inc., a Japanese corporation listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, of new shares of common stock in the RegS international market, as well as an offering of existing shares by shareholders.

Japan > Real estate and construction: International firms and joint ventures Tier 1

Clifford Chance’s real estate and construction practice advises on significant asset acquisitions and divestments, developments, and M&A transactions in the real estate space. The team works in tandem with the finance and disputes practices to offer domestic and foreign clients advice on the full range of real estate issues. Eiichi Kanda heads up the team, and specialises in a broad range of matters relating to real estate. Leng-Fong Lai is also a key contact within the team, with extensive experience advising sponsors and financiers on Japanese and cross-border financing matters. Yusuke Abe supports the real estate practice with his expertise in banking and finance work, and Hans Menski advises on cross-border power and energy development projects with multi-source financing elements. Counsel Yoshiaki Shimizu is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Understand the commercial, industries practicalities and provide the necessary advice.’

‘Ability to bridge the challenges faced by international clients and provide necessary support.’

‘Eiichi Kanda has good subject matter expertise, is responsive, and is also keenly tuned to commercial considerations and able to offer creative solutions to issues faced.’

‘The Clifford Chance team that I worked with was very knowledgeable about the real estate finance market and easy to work with.’

‘The team always provided quick responses and prioritised clients.’

Key clients

Westmont Hospitality Group

CBRE Global Investors Japan KK

Berjaya Land Berhad

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers

Tokyu Livable Inc.

NISEKO VILLAGE KK

Odakyu Electric Railways Co., Ltd.

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

Mitsubishi Corporation

Allianz Real Estate

Partners Group

Work highlights

  • Advised AXA Investment Managers on the acquisition of the ESR Kuki Distribution Centre in Japan for approximately $368m.
  • Advised Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, on its acquisition of a Grade A office property 25km west of central Tokyo, Japan in Tama New Town, on behalf of its clients. Deal value reported by Nikkei is approximately ¥20bn.
  • Advised Allianz Real Estate on its investment in prime multi-family residential assets in Tokyo with an aggregate acquisition price of €110m.

Japan > Corporate and M&A: International firms and joint ventures Tier 2

The corporate and M&A team at Clifford Chance offers Japanese clients and clients with business in Japan a sound understanding of both Japanese and overseas business practices. Covering all aspects of inbound and outbound corporate transactions, the practice offers negotiation, merger filing, and regulatory expertise. The team is led by Natsuko Sugihara who is an expert on infrastructure and projects M&A particularly in the renewables, chemicals, industrial and healthcare sector. Michihiro Nishi is also a key member of the group, advising on corporate governance, stock exchange matters, and private equity funds. Masafumi Shikakura is another name of note, particularly in the energy sector, as well as antitrust and competition law issues. Tatsuhiko Kamiyama departed the firm for an in-house role.

Practice head(s):

Natsuko Sugihara; Michihiro Nishi

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘We have been working with CC team upon underwriting W&I insurance used for M&A transactions. We tend to appoint them to assist us in underwriting larger complex Japan out-in or in-in type of transactions with multiple target locations/jurisdictions. We see their strengths match with our needs in such transactions.’

‘Timothy Merchant – we think he is a very diligent and sound corporate M&A advisor to insurers. We like his macroscopic style by highlighting key/prioritized risk areas upfront which should be further scrutinized during our underwriting exercise.’

‘The Japan team liaised with the US team very closely to provide advised in a timely manner.’

‘Clifford Chance has a long history in Japan and experience across many practice areas.’

‘Michihiro Nishi has excellent English and is able to apply the law to difficult concepts quickly. Shunsuke Nagae is a hard worker and a true corporate lawyer able to practice across multiple practice areas’

Key clients

Iberdrola

Shell International Limited

Omni Bridgeway

PLAY inc.

Yamatoku Corporation

Kenedix Inc.

Descente Ltd.

AXA Investment Managers

Marubeni Corporation

Mizuho Leasing Company, Limited

CVC Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised global energy company Iberdrola on its acquisition of Acacia Renewables K.K., a Japanese offshore wind firm developer, and a joint venture with Macquarie’s Green Investment Group to develop its 3.3 GW offshore wind portfolio
  • Advised Shell International Limited on the acquisition of 100 percent of the shares in Shell Lubricants Japan K.K. through a share purchase agreement signed by Shell Overseas Holdings Limited and Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. We also advised antitrust aspects of the matter.
  • Advised global dispute financier Omni Bridgeway on its investment in a new Japanese enterprise, Japan Legal Network Co. Ltd. (Japan Legal Network).

Japan > Projects and energy: International firms and joint ventures Tier 2

Clifford Chance’s projects and energy practice has extensive expertise in Japanese domestic projects, and has a solid record in advising on inbound investments into Japanese infrastructure and renewable sectors.  The team also has expertise in the oil and gas, LNG, mining, and metals industries, and offers a cross-office service with the firm’s Singapore practice. The team is co-led by Yusuke Abe and Hans Menski, both are cross-border and domestic finance experts, as is counsel Akihiko Takamatsu.

Practice head(s):

Yusuke Abe; Hans Menski

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘I have worked off and on with Clifford Chance for many years. In some cases, CC acted as opposing counsel or co-counsel. The firm has a strong reputation, especially in English law finance matters and in many cases they are one of the natural choices.’

‘Yusuke Abe is a trusted advisor, and the firm overall is strong.’

‘Mr Abe provides very good service. He gives us a practical reading of the situation.’

‘Mr Abe is very knowledgeable and explains things in a way that make it easier for us to explain the situation to our top management. We think very highly of Mr Abe. In Sour opinion, Mr Abe is the best bengoshi partner at the Magic Circle firms in Tokyo.’

Key clients

Japan Bank for International Cooperation

Nippon Export and Investment Insurance

The Export-Import Bank of Korea

Asian Development Bank

Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Mitsubishi Corporation

Marubeni Corporation

Iberdrola

Work highlights

  • Advising Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, Asian Development Bank and private financial institutions, including Mizuho Bank, Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, Ltd. and Société Générale S.A. on the development and financing of a 718-megawatt natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant in Bangladesh, developed by JERA Co., Inc. and Reliance Power Limited.
  • Advising a consortium of lenders on all aspects of the implementation of the Nghi Son 2 thermal power project in Vietnam, developed by Marubeni Corporation and Korea Electric Power Corporation.
  • Advising Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and major Japanese and Moroccan commercial banks on the development and financing of an onshore wind farm project in Morocco, developed by Japanese and European sponsors.

Japan > Antitrust and competition: International firms and joint ventures Tier 3

Clifford Chance’s antitrust and competition practice is led by Masafumi Shikakura and is part of the firm's fully integrated global antitrust practice. The team handles both transactional and regulatory matters - both contentious and non-contentious work and supports the firm's global offering. Issues handled by the Tokyo office include competition issues relating to group reorganisations, M&A, and joint ventures.

Practice head(s):

Masafumi Shikakura

Testimonials

‘Attorney Masafumi Shikakura (Counsel, Head of Japan Antitrust) always not only supports our antitrust and competition matters but also help us on buildup of our internal legal system.’

‘They have a diligent team in Tokyo, and the quality of their English language work products stands out among other similar firms.’

‘While being a large global law firm, the team is always available and flexible in providing legal services.’

Key clients

Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Marubeni Corporation

Mizuho Leasing Company, Limited

Shell International Limited

China Baowu Steel Group Corporation Limited

NSK Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Shell International Limited on the acquisition of 100 percent of the shares in Shell Lubricants Japan K.K. from Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
  • Advised NSK Ltd. on its acquisition of Brüel & Kjær Vibro, the global condition monitoring system (CMS) business, from Spectris Plc.
  • Advised China Baowu Steel Group Corporation Limited for its acquisition of a 51% stake in Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group) Co. Ltd.

Japan > Dispute resolution: International firms and joint ventures Tier 4

Peter Coney leads the Clifford Chance disputes team following his establishment of the practice for the firm in 2018. The Tokyo-based team assists Japanese and foreign companies in commercial and investor disputes, bribery, corruption, and corporate malfeasance investigations. The team works across the firm’s international network to offer a cross-border service. Peter Harris and Tess Forge are also key members.

Practice head(s):

Peter Coney

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

The Clifford Chance international arbitration team is highly professional, smart and on point. They work on some of the largest and most complex cases in the world and have a great reputation.’

Peter Harris leaves no stone unturned in his in depth analysis of important issues. He is a highly effective communicator and ensures each part of the litigation team is fully engaged and understands the task at hand. He is a great lawyer and highly recommended for anyone involved in complex high value litigation disputes.’

Peter Coney is my key contact. A great balance of detailed focus on the small issues that can trip us up while at the same time able to discuss the ‘helicopter view’ and so also deal with my impatience to cut to the heart of a matter.’

Vietnam > Foreign desks

Clifford Chance's involvement in the Vietnamese market dates back more than 30 years. It draws upon the experience of partners and associates based in Singapore and Tokyo to advise on banking and finance, corporate and M&A, as well as projects and energy mandates. In Singapore, Fergus Evans focuses on syndicated loans and project finance transactions, as well as aircraft and asset finance matters. Another key individual is Ross Howard, who is experienced in the financing aspects of energy, natural resources and infrastructure projects. Elsewhere, Hans Menski in Tokyo is another key individual with finance expertise, including in ECA-backed and multi-source financings. The corporate and M&A side of the practice is largely led by Valerie Kong. The firm regularly works with the leading independent firm VILAF.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Expertise in project finance and market knowledge/application in Vietnam; commercially-sensible approach; great on management of local counsel and local law issues; positive fun approach to work and clients.’

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

AIA

Work highlights

  • Advised Asian Development Bank on the financing of a 257MW solar power plant.
  • Advised AIA Group Limited’s amendment, restatement and extension of its $100m equivalent multicurrency revolving umbrella credit facility agreement.

The firm: Clifford Chance is one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms, with significant depth and range of resources across five continents. As a single, fully integrated, global partnership, it prides itself on its approachable, collegial and team-based way of working. The firm always strives to exceed the expectations of its clients, which include corporates from all the commercial and industrial sectors, governments, regulators, trade bodies and not-for-profit organisations. It provides them with the highest quality advice and legal insight, which combines the firm’s global standards with in-depth local expertise.

Types of work undertaken
Capital markets: the capital markets practice concentrates on securities transactions and other products sold into the capital markets. The practice is founded on a full-service US and UK securities law capability, complemented by local securities law expertise in each of the key financial centres. It provides practical, integrated legal advice covering the full spectrum of global capital raising activities including public and private domestic and international offerings of traditional debt and equity securities as well as convertible and other derivative and structured securities.

Corporate: the corporate practice handles some of the world’s largest and most complex M&A transactions. It combines global transaction capability with a full service of English, US and civil law expertise in the key financial centres across Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. In addition to mainstream M&A, the firm also encompasses leading specialist practices in: commercial contracts, competition and antitrust, communications, energy, healthcare, financial institutions, funds, investment banking, insurance, media and technology, and private equity.

Finance: Clifford Chance’s finance practice is the leading international finance practice of any law firm. The practice provides highly commercial and practical advice across the full spectrum of financial products including syndicated lending and leveraged and acquisition finance, asset finance, derivative products, project finance, financial regulatory, insolvency, restructuring and structured finance.

Litigation, dispute resolution and risk management: the firm has experience in virtually all segments of the business and financial markets across multiple jurisdictions. The lawyers work with clients to resolve disputes efficiently and effectively – whether through arbitration, litigation or other techniques.

Real estate: Clifford Chance’s leading real estate practice offers UK, European, Asian and US real estate capability. The practice advises the real estate industry’s leading players on the entire property ‘life-cycle’ from the initial acquisition, development, leasing, joint venturing and financing through to the final exit, as well as tax structuring, PFI/PPP, corporate outsourcing, planning, environment and litigation.

Tax, pensions, employment and incentives: Clifford Chance has one of the world’s largest international tax groups within a single law firm. The firm is uniquely placed to provide leading edge advice to clients, and the practice is structured on an integrated global basis. Local tax groups within the practice work closely with areas such as securitisation, securities, M&A, corporate restructuring, private equity, real estate and funds.

The pan-European VAT group advises on all areas of VAT and has particular strength advising on novel and complex issues in the structured finance, financial services, corporate finance and real estate sectors.

The team of experienced employment, employee benefits, ERISA, immigration and pensions specialists work with clients from a wide range of sectors to address local and cross-border issues.

International offices: Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Casablanca, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta*, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Munich, New York, Paris, Perth, Prague, Rome, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Warsaw, Washington, D.C., Riyadh**

*Linda Widyati & Partners in association with Clifford Chance

**Clifford Chance has a co-operation agreement with Abuhimed Alsheikh Alhagbani Law Firm in Riyadh

Number of partners : 550
Number of other fee-earners : 3,300

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Advice To My Younger Self: Reflections of Successful Women Lawyers is published by The Legal 500‘s GC Magazine in collaboration with Clifford Chance. Now in its second release, the book is a practical resource for anyone interested in charting a successful career path at a law firm or by moving in-house. It features interviews with 20 women partners, alumnae and in-house counsel, with additional contributions from members of Clifford Chance’s senior management and US-based recruiting team. Visit our website to learn more about practical tips for building your career.

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http://www.legal500.com/clifford-chance/their-voices