Japan

IFLR1000 Reviews

Banking and finance
Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners is a full-service law firm with over 150 attorneys established in Osaka in 1981. The firm now has offices in Osaka and Tokyo, it was also the first Japanese law firm to open an office in China.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm advises Japanese and foreign financial institutions on a variety of investment funds and is active in domestic and cross-border acquisitions.

 

Key clients 

Notable clients of the firm include Masuki Corporations, J-STAR, Japan Growth Investments Alliance, and Owari Precise Products.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

During the research period, the firm has been active in M&A, private equity, and Investment funds work.

The corporate team was preoccupied with handling acquisitions, takeovers, and IBO transactions primarily for sellers and buyers. 

In the investment funds area, the team was involved in mandates relating to fund formation and fund structuring.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

Rising Japan Equity ¥3.3 billion acquisitions of Owari Precise Products

World Co ¥7.1 billion acquisition of over 26% of shares in Narumiya International

Financial and corporate
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune is one of Japan’s Big Four independent firms with a history traced back to 1952 as O'Gorman, Nattier & Anderson before taking its current name following the merger with Tomotsune & Kimura in 2005. The firm has close to 450 attorneys and offices in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Jakarta.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm is a leading full services firm and strong across the board in financial and corporate transactional matters. It excels in capital markets work where it has a strong reputation in the primary offerings of Samurai bonds, Uridashi offerings, J-Reits, equity offerings, and international offerings of convertible bonds by Japanese issuers.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Apollo Global Management, Bain Capital, MCP Partners, MUFG Bank, Mizuho Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ, Morgan Stanley, Nomura Securities, SMBC Capital Partners, and Tokyo International Air Terminal Corporation.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

The firm has been active in banking, capital markets, M&A, private equity, project finance, and project development work during the research period.   

In the capital markets area, the team was active last year handling covered bonds, convertible bonds, equity offerings, IPOs, property leasing, and aviation work.  

The banking team kept busy with a series of work relating to conventional lending and acquisition financing for lenders, borrowers, and mandated lead arrangers. The corporate team was active advising on acquisitions, mergers, takeovers, and disposal of shares for both buy and sell sides. 

In the project development area, the firm provided legal services to gas-fired power projects, biomass power plants, solar projects, conventional onshore gas projects, renewable energy projects, and related project finance mandates for developers, sponsors, borrowers, and arrangers.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

ANA Holdings ¥150 billion zero Coupon convertible bonds issue

West Japan Railway Company ¥240 billion global share offerings

Bain Capital¥800 billion acquisition of Hitachi Metals

Simplex Holdings TSE IPO

Arctic LNG 2 Project

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

Asset finance

"Even if the deal has some irregular points in order to execute, Anderson provided alternative ideas and structures."

"One of the best Japanese law firms in finance."

"The firm always consult kindly and quickly."

 

Capital markets: Equity

"User-friendly. Good value for money."

 

Capital markets: Derivatives

"Timely and practical."

 

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

"Client-friendly. Good value for money. Familiarity with how a non-US bank typically approaches an issue."

"The firm's lawyers have a lot of experience in the financial sector and therefore their advice is always timely and practical."

"Thorough checking of likely impacts on various aspects of the transaction."

 

Financial services regulatory

"Broad range of coverage of Japanese law/regulatory advice."

 

Investment funds

"The firm advised very properly about likely impacts on our company's business from shareholder changes."

 

M&A

"Quick response, large quantity and good quality answer. "

"Having a high level of expertise and knowledge, they made a great contribution to completing difficult projects."

"Their helpful advice encouraged us to make the right business judgment in serious negotiations. They always lead us in the right direction."

"Very careful and precise work."

"We do not have much experience of overseas business, thus they have given us a lot of advice regarding how to negotiate and how to write agreements. "

"Very courteous and client-oriented."

 

Private equity

"Professional and effective advice on our private equity investment deals"

 

Project finance

"Sufficient knowledge and excellent cost performance."

"The firm has exceptional skills in structured project finance and helps us in documentation, negotiation and execution of the deals."

"The firm in Japan is fast and polite. It points out problems that we are not aware of and advises us on how to do better."

 

Project development

"Detailed but efficient due diligence and valuable recommendation on the negotiation of SPA with seller."

"Providing quality, prompt, practical legal services based on a track record of a few decades of project financing in Japan."  

 

Atsutoshi Maeda

"He works very hard to understand and achieve what we really want to."

 

Daisuke Tanimoto

"Timely and practical."

"Timely response and practical advice."

 

Hiroki Kodate

"Very careful and precise work."

"When we consult with him, he gives us qualified advice based on our business. Customer-oriented, dependable, and has extensive knowledge."

 

Masatsugu Nakajima

"He led our client and us to negotiate advantageously. His creative solutions break through the situation."

 

Norifumi Takeuchi

"Most experienced and talented lawyer in project finance and his knowledge and skills help us in efficient and successful deal execution."

 

Noritaka Niwano

"He is familiar with our past project, so communication with him is very smooth."

 

Nobuyuki Taji

"Articulate, logical and accurate and he has an ability to understand how we approach issues internally and our risk appetite. He is an incredibly capable Japanese lawyer!"

 

Naoyuki Kabata

"In dealing with irregular points, he often advice how to modify the documentations, to communicate with the counterparties and to negotiate with them."

"The best lawyer in finance and banking."

 

Raku Raku

"Active communication with clients."

 

Ryo Kohdate

"Client-friendly. Quick to understand our needs."

 

Reiji Takahashi

"Deep knowledge and rapid response."

"Delivering excellent legal service based on lots of experience with many years in the project financing field."

"He is polite and quick to recognize problems that we don't recognize and to suggest solutions. He has a wealth of knowledge and is constantly absorbing new knowledge."

 

Takehisa Sato

"Extremely knowledgeable about real estate fund related regulations and practices"

"Extremely knowledgeable in related regulations and practices. Extremely reliable advice."

 

Takaharu Totsuka

"Responsive; well-balanced judgement."

 

Teruma Naito

"Professional and efficient advice on our private equity investment deals"

Atsumi & Sakai

Atsumi & Sakai was formed in 1994 as Atsumi & Usui before adopting its current name in 2010 following the acquisition of a practice group from TMI Associates. The firm has close to 150 lawyers and offices in Tokyo, London and Frankfurt. It was the first Japanese law firm to register as a joint venture between Japanese and foreign lawyers in 2005, and in 2013, it formed a joint venture with the German law practice of Markus Janssen.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm is best known for its structured finance and securitisation work, but also has a strong project development and finance practice.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Mitsubishi Research Institute, The Japan Research Institute, Photovolt Development Partners, Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting, and EY Strategy and Consulting.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

During the research cycle, the firm was active in banking, capital markets, M&A, and project development.

The banking team was active in asset finance in industry sectors including logistics. 

In the project development area, the firm kept busy handling transactions in social infrastructure, energy, industrials and manufacturing projects, and was involved in PFI and PPP work. 

Last year, the firm hired banking partner Madoka Hashimoto from King & Wood Mallesons and Tomohiro Kita from K&L Gates and strengthened the M&A practice by hiring partner Hideki Akiyama from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

Banking partner Mihoko Shima left the firm in 2021. 

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

Anchor Ship Partners $562 million asset financing

International MICE PFI project in Nagoya

PDPG 480MW photovoltaic power plant in Ukujima

City-Yuwa Partners

City-Yuwa Partners was formed in 2003 as a result of a merger between Yuwa Partners and the law department of Tokyo City Law & Tax Partners. The firm is based in Tokyo with the composition of 123 lawyers.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm specialised in litigation, insolvency, and real estate law but has since grown further to offer transactional services across capital markets, banking, investment funds, and project development.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)      

The firm has been active in banking, capital markets, project finance, and project development work during the research cycle. 

The banking team was advising Japanese and international banks, securities firms, and financial institutions on regulatory issues and transactions. The team is also involved in structured finance related to real estate, asset finance, and joint ventures.

The firm was particularly active in the project finance area, where it has been advising lenders and borrowers on renewable energy projects such as mega solar power projects, geothermal power projects, biomass power projects, and wind power projects.  

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

"Quick turnaround and response. Thorough research and analysis. Advice is to the point. Fee charged is transparent."

 

Project development

"The firm provides effective and advanced legal services with appropriateness and flexibility. It also has international perception and sufficient experience for cross-border transactions with exceptional services based on highly skilled self-development in the firm. It provides advanced communication skills with any parties including our bank’s customers, with provision of distinctly convenient and detailed legal services. "

 

Project finance

"City-Yuwa provides effective and advanced legal services with appropriateness and flexibility. The firm also has an international outlook and sufficient experience for cross-border transactions, offering exceptional service based on highly skilled self-development within the firm. The firm provides advanced communication skills with any parties including our bank’s customers, providing distinctly convenient and detailed legal services.

We were able to effectively communicate directly in both Japanese and English languages and were provided with professional legal support and services for non-recourse loans and project financings with various structures, including TK-GK as well as the TMK structure."

 

Yasuyuki Kuribayashi

"Quick turnaround and response. Thorough research and analysis. Advice is to the point. Fee charged is transparent."

 

Masamichi Sakamoto

"His involvement is mainly related to our bank’s financing transactions, from which we have been significantly impressed by him from the following perspectives. He provides appropriate decision-making in the direction of legal services for our bank with accurate legal knowledge and insight. With his extensive legal support experience, he is able to effectively support clients with innovative, advanced and flexible legal support. Even with the difficulties of converging existing structures and contractual clauses to be in line with our bank’s requirements together with transactions’ requirements, he has been able to convey this into the loan and/or financial documents.

Not only supporting his clients, he has extensively contributed to his organization through excellent leadership and teamwork by effectively coordinating and collaborating internally among his office by providing gentle and effective guidance directly to associate lawyers in the firm. Mr. Sakamoto has a wide network of connections in both Japan and overseas which he has been able to introduce appropriate collaboration offices and/or lawyers appropriately in according to the situation case-by-case basis. He has a rigorous and quite punctual time-management ability that promptly responds to our bank’s requirements even in a limited timeline and completes the tasks to be in time for the required schedule before the financial closing regardless of any obstacles and problems with him. "

"Mr Sakamoto's involvement is mainly related to our bank’s financing transactions, in which we have been significantly impressed by him from the following perspectives. He provides appropriate decision making on the direction of legal services for our bank with accurate legal knowledge and insight. With Mr Sakamoto’s extensive legal support experience, he is able to effectively support clients with innovative, advanced and flexible legal advice. Even with the difficulties around converging existing structures and contractual clauses to be in line with our bank’s requirements and the transactions’ requirements, he has been able to convey them into the loan and/or financial documents.

As well as supporting his clients he has also extensively contributed to his organization through excellent leadership and teamwork by providing gentle and effective guidance directly to associate lawyers in the firm. Mr Sakamoto has a wide network of connections in both Japan and overseas, which he has been able to use, collaborating with offices and/or lawyers appropriately according to the situation. He has a rigorous and punctual time-management ability, responding promptly to our requirements even in a limited timeframe and completing the tasks within the required schedule before the financial closing despite various obstacles and problems."

Kaynex Law Offices

Established in 2006, Kaynex Law Offices is a Tokyo-based boutique firm comprised of seven lawyers.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is traditionally active in the real estate industry and specialised in project development and project finance. It is also active in the banking practice. The firm’s project team primarily focuses on financing, acquisition, development and related regulatory matters in renewable energy, commercial real estate and infrastructure.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Kiraboshi Bank, Orix Bank, and Starts Trust.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown is a large international law firm with offices in 27 cities across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The firm’s office in Tokyo is relatively new having been set up in March 2018.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm’s core focus is on project finance and project development where it acts for Japanese clients in international infrastructure projects in the energy, natural resources, chemical and transport sectors.

Its corporate team advises on outbound M&A and disposals of overseas business for its Japanese clients. It also does capital markets work in investment funds, where it advises sponsors in fund investments.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Sumitomo, Itochu, JBIC, Mitsubishi Corporations, Central Japan Railway, Hitachi, Chubu Electric Power, MISC, Mitsui, MODEC, and NEXI. 

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

During the research cycle, the firm’s banking team and project team were particularly active in advising project finance and development work in social infrastructure, coal-fired power, oil and gas, renewable energy such as wind farm projects, and electric power mostly for lenders, investors, and bidders. 

The corporate team was active advising on outbound M&A and disposals of overseas business for Japanese clients.  

The firm strengthened its banking and finance team by adding partner Myles Mantle from Haynes and Boone.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

Pengerang Refining Company $16 billion financing of the RAPID Project in Malaysia provided by NEXI  

MISC’s $1.6 billion bid to Petrobras for the charter of Mero 3 in Brazil

Texas Central High Speed Rail Project

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

Investment funds

"Deep understanding in relation to legal knowledge and market practice in private equity area. Responsible and communicative both in English and Japanese."

 

M&A

"Gordon Palmquist and his team work quite efficiently and effectively with great global teamwork in cross-border M&A transactions."

"Gordon Palmquist and his team work quite efficiently and effectively with great global teamwork in cross-border M&A transactions."

"Very positive attitude."

 

Project development

"Coordination among offices was very smooth and advice was succinct."

"Global knowledge on our project's needs."

"Knowledge of EPC contracts combined with global understanding and bilingual capabilities."

 

Gordon Palmquist

"I have been working with Gordon for almost three years dealing with our international M&A transactions. He is one of the best corporate lawyers in Tokyo. He has good knowledge of our industry and is excellent at sorting out facts and identifying issues in complicated situations. He also has great problem-solving skills. He is always responsive and offers all available feasible options to help our decisions. He speaks Japanese fluently and has a great communication skill. My colleagues and I enjoy working with him. Our finances and businesspeople trust him as well. With his help, we were able to successfully complete an M&A deal that was important to us."

"Deep understanding in relation to legal knowledge and market practice in private equity area. Responsible and communicative both in English and Japanese."

"Very aggressive."

 

Rupert Burrows

"He is a very good communicator, bilingual and coordinates well with his global resources."

"He knows key people in the energy industry and is very good at connecting the dots."

"Very good understanding of the industry and Japanese firms. Also bilingual, making communication very effective."

Miura & Partners

Miura & Partners was established in 2019 by former Mori Hamada & Matsumoto partner, Ryota Miura. The firm is made up of over 50 lawyers and has offices in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Hiroshima.

 

Focusses / specialisms   

The firm is primarily focussed on M&A, joint ventures, finance, and corporate and financial regulation across the technology, blockchain, start-up, fintech, big data, medical and healthcare sectors.

 

Key clients   

Notable clients of the firm include ALBERT, Benefit One, Toyota Motor Corporation, SNK Corporation, and the National Federation of Tobacco Sales Cooperatives.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

The corporate team was preoccupied with public and private acquisitions, privatisation, financial investment, divestment, and joint ventures acted for targets, acquirers and sellers, and joint venture partners in Japan.

The firm has bolstered its corporate and M&A practice by adding six new partners including Aya Hirai, Takayuki Hirai, Masaki Sekimoto, Tetsuya Goto, Shunichi Kamiya, and Keiko Komatsu.   

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

Benefit One ¥15 billion acquisitions of JTB Benefit Corporation

EGDC ¥50 billion acquisition of SNK Corporation

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

Insolvency

"They have been responsive and technically strong."

 

M&A

"1. Efficient & effective legal due dilligence. 2. Well risk managed documentation work. 3. Efficient aggregation and facilitation of legal work/law firms in different jurisdictions."

"Advice for establishing JV scheme, and advice for JV agreement. "

"Advising appropriate structure, creating draft of agreements, and supporting negotiation."

"In our investment project, we received valuable advice not only from a legal perspective but also from a business perspective."

"Miura & Partners is a professional firm. The firm assigned the proper member based on our requirements. In addtion, the firm organized the international team that provided us a legal due diligence service in each area."

"Provides very quick and sophisticated advice under a very cost-effective fee structure."

"Quick in response, always have business-minded solutions, understand us very well."

"Quick, practical and professional advice. Hands-on negotiations. Very competitive fee."

"Responsive and highly capable lawyers."

"Responsive and timely workflows, which were always critical factors for successful transaction. And we found tons of practicality throughout their support, which actually helped us a lot. Really appreciated."

"Responsive, technically reliable and value for money."

"Responsiveness, high practicality in the legal advice."

"The firm has a lot of experienced lawyers in each area. So, it is OK to ask the firm when I have any legal problem and issues."

"They are fast in response and always try to understand our needs."

 

Private equity

"The firm had meetings with us at the best time during our due diligence on an investee. Suggestions and feedback from the firm were quite excellent and very effective in our negotiation with the investee."

 

Project development

"(1) Reaction is extremely quick, which greatly contributes to speeding up projects. (2) We are more than pleased with the firm's appropriate advice and documentation tasks with high quality, backed by a wealth of knowledge about the legal system of each country. (3) It is also extremely helpful that the firm gives us appropriate advice on a realistic game plan in negotiations with other parties."

 

Norika Yuasa

"Very approachable and experienced corporate lawyer with an international outlook."

"A very responsive, user-friendly lawyer with solid commercial instincts."

 

Haruka Murata

"Advising on legal risk of JV agreement."

"Capable, responsive and flexible in dealing with issues and managing risks."

"Provides quick and sophisticated advice. Cost-effective services."

"Provides quick and very professional and practical advice with a very reasonable fee."

"Quick in response and always try to understand our needs."

"Responsiveness, high commitment to the outcomes."

"She contributed greatly to the project, more than the level of expectation we normally have of a lawyer, putting together team members to drive the deal."

"She led the acquisition of an American company in May 2021. Under the Covid-19 restrictions we had to proceed with the M&A without going to America. She speaks English fluently and explains complicated law terms in simple Japanese, so we were able to understand what the problems were and how to solve them. "

"She led the cross-border M&A. She set up the legal team, including American legal firm, and she managed the project. So, we only needed to discuss with her, and she proposed a clear explanation for legal issues and effective measures. "

"Speed, quality, and cost"

"Strong commitment to a goal and an active attribute for learning client's businesses. Responsiveness and practicality are clearly her areas of strength."

"We have been working with her for several years and in many cases. She understands us very well and has deep knowledge of our company and industry."

"Capable, responsive, flexible and technically reliable."

"(1) Reaction is always extremely quick, which greatly contributes to speeding up projects. (2) We are more than pleased with her appropriate advice and documentation tasks with high quality, backed by a wealth of knowledge about the legal system of each country. (She has experience working at an international law firm overseas.) (3) It is also extremely helpful that she gives us appropriate advice on a realistic game plan in negotiations with other parties.

"Timely suggestions and good communication."

 

Ryoichi Inoue

"Although he is a Japanese lawyer, he is fluent in foreign languages and has mastered five (English, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Spanish). He is a logical thinker and reads local laws and regulations himself, which makes him very dependable in pointing out errors by local experts."

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto was established in 2002 following the merger of Mori Sogo Law Offices and Hamada & Matsumoto. It is one of the Big Four law firms in Japan with over 450 lawyers and offices in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Takamatsu, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Yangon, and Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm is routinely engaged in the best transactions available to the market. It has a high-volume M&A practice and is often the choice for counsel in acquisition financing, IPOs, euro convertible bond offerings, and J-REIT formations and offerings.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include Daiwa Securities, SoftBank Group, Hitachi, MUFG Bank, JBA, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, Mizuho Bank, Mizuho Securities, Mitsubishi Corp, Toshiba, KKR, Bain Capital, Apollo Global Management, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Tokyo Gas. 

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

In the past 12 months, the finance team was busy advising clients with leveraged finance, mezzanine finance, corporate loans, structured finance, asset finance, real estate finance, acquisition finance, and project finance in energy and infrastructure as well as ESG finance services represented primarily for lenders and borrowers.

In the capital markets area, the firm handled investment grade bonds, convertible and hybrid securities, green bonds, sovereign bonds, debenture issues, bond/note buyback, and REIT primarily advised for issuers. The firm is also involved in derivatives and securitisation transactions for underwriters and arrangers.  

The M&A team has been preoccupied with work including take-private transactions, acquisitions, demerger, joint ventures, and divestment for clients in financial, high-tech, private equity, automobile, electronics, telecommunication, manufacturing, and healthcare.

The firm was also active in project finance and development works across various industry sectors such as wind, biomass, PV, PFI and PPP, infrastructure, and natural resources.   

Two new partners, Yuko Nihonmatsu and Mihoko Shima joined the finance team from Atsumi & Sakai last year following the left of partner Naoya Shiota.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

Appier ¥26 billion TSE IPO

Invesco ¥125.9 billion financing

ENEOS ¥200 billion acquisition of Japan Renewable Energy

Bain Capital $5.4 billion tender offer of Hitachi Metal  

Paypal $2.7 billionacquisition of shares in Paidy

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

Asset finance

"High level of expertise in trusts, STO and asset finance. They are quick at work."

"High level of legal knowledge and consulting skills. Ability to break through problems. Always keep to a schedule."

"One of the best Japanese law firms in the area of finance and capital markets."

"Deep knowledge on renewable sector and regulation. Deep knowledge on the capital market."

 

Bank lending: Lender Side

"They have deep knowledge about syndicated loan documentation."

 

Banking and finance

"The transaction needed to be liaised with another law firm based in Europe and MHM communicated efficiently with that firm and us."

 

Capital markets: Equity

"As a general legal adviser for us, the team always provides us with appropriate and well thought out advice in a timely manner. "

"Experienced partners in the field."

"It was a complex project across the country, but thanks to the appropriate advice, the project was successfully completed."

"Learning quickly and proactively about the issuer's businesses."

"The law firm is a reliable firm in the field of capital markets and provides the highest quality service among all the law firms. It is always willing to take challenges in the difficult transactions and has historically led many transactions to success. "

"Their advice is always reliable. In particular, they persuaded Japanese authorities on a very complicated structure superbly."

"They are willing to be a pioneer of new products and try to make constructive judgements to achieve them."

"They have a good understanding of the issuer's business and can provide us with appropriate advice based on their analysis of legal risks. They provide the best advice on various issues not only from a legal perspective but also a practical perspective. They were very helpful in structuring a difficult deal."

"They perfectly meet our expectation in terms of quality of advice."

"We received understandable comments in a timely manner. They gave us comments even if we asked for them at the last minute. "

"Very friendly and business-oriented. Familiarity with the most recent trends."

"They provide practical advice and solutions based on their abundant experience and expertise."

"Accurate advice."

 

Capital markets: Debt

"The firm has sufficient legal knowledge and experience in this field."

 

Capital markets: Derivativies

"They have good knowledge on both of the derivatives and electricity market in Japan."

 

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

"They effectively advised on establishing the very first DX setup on released documents in Japan based on their rich experience."

 

Financial services regulatory

"It is a top law firm in Japan and, in particular, its work in the field of J-REIT, listed infrastructure funds, capital markets and energy and infrastructure are highly recognized in those markets." 

"The firm provides professional customer service including quick responses and creative advice."

"They checked in depth the related laws and the regulator's thought. Based on the deep investigation and study, the firm created an effective legal opinion to support our new products. "

"This is a top law firm in Japan and, in particular, their work in the field of J-REIT, listed infrastructure funds, capital markets and energy and infrastructure is highly recognized in those markets."

 

Investment funds

"The firm has a deep knowledge on issuance of units or bonds of investment corporations, Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, Investment Trusts and Investment Corporations and related Acts, and has accumulated a wealth of these cases and is able to provide prompt and accurate legal responses in these areas. The firm can not only answer whether something is legally possible, but also offer appropriate alternatives in our consultations."

"They have considerable expertise in our business sector and hold archives of our past events. They effectively utilize them and always give us proper and precise advice."

"The work I requested was quick and accurate, and I was able to create accurate materials."

"Abundant knowledge and appropriate advice."

 

M&A

"Mori Hamada & Matsumoto has a deep understanding of the business and offered an efficient and sophisticated approach in due diligence and also supported us in tough negotiations, drafting documents with well-balanced judgement and rich expertise."

"They provided well balanced legal advice in the buy-side transaction as well as the acquisition finance, worked hard to keep the timeline and provided good solutions."

"It is one of the top law firms in Japan. We had support of comprehensive legal advice, such as on the Companies Act, the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, and the Competition law. We also received a business perspective."

"They are professional and they understand our business very well."

"Well experienced and detailed work with balanced judgement for project to succeed."

"1. They gave us practical advice based on their deep understanding of the value chain of electric devices, our business model and our business strategy related to contract negotiation. 2. Their response is very quick and well communicated internally, which enables us to make prompt decisions. 3. They understood very well what was important for our decision-making and provided quick and sufficient information."

"Quick understanding of our business and very responsive, timely and effective work. Practical advice on how to deal with employees."

 

Private equity

"Appropriate and professional advice on SPA/LA negotiation."

"The lawyers that we have worked with were all very capable, very kind and very tough both mentally and physically. They responded to us any time no matter if it was early in the morning or midnight, or whether it was a weekend or public holidays. Especially during the preparation of a tender offer, they were outstanding. They completed the documents for the tender offer in a very short and limited time schedule. There were numerous calls and discussions between our Japan office and our HK office, including spontaneous calls. They always think together for the best solution, and provided advice. They speak clearly and always try to make complicated things simple so that we all can understand. There were many procedures for the privatization after the success of the tender offer, and they continuously worked closely with us. This was the first of its kind in the market and everything was new and the structure was very complicated. We spent a lot of time for each procedure/event for the privatization and their support was essential. Due to its complexity, there were times that the Japan office discussed with them in Japanese and our HK office discussed with them in English, and they coordinated the discussion. Our project team really appreciated very much their outstanding work and support in many ways."

 

Project development

"Fast response, accommodating and supportive."

"They have a deep insight into Japanese offshore wind farm auctions. Therefore, we have been bringing the auction process to Mori Hamada & Matsumoto and our project has qualified for the auction. "

"They understand our business very well."

"The firm actively provides insightful advice to the project, daily matters and auction; very accommodating in terms of delivery timeline."

"Strong expertise on Japanese real estate law."

 

Project finance

"Compared to others, the firm has the advantage of being able to respond flexibly with deep understanding of our demands, and that enhances efficiency of fee and time."

"Contributed to acquiring more than 500m solar assets." 

 

Akira Ehira

"He has an expertise on derivatives and well understood our innovative business. He carefully checked our template agreement and provided persuasive legal opinion on enforceability of close-out netting provisions contained in our template."

"He checked in depth the financial laws and studied the regulator's thought. Based on the study, he created effective legal opinions to get a green light from JP regulators about our new products. "

 

Akira Matsushita

"We asked many questions, but he responded very quickly and gave us very useful advice."

 

Gaku Ishiwata

"Needless to say that he is a well experienced and very capable lawyer, he is always polite and simplifies complicated things so that we can understand easily. He is also very patient in listening. It was also very helpful for our management in HK that he is fluent in English."

 

Hiroki Aoyama

"He has deep knowledge about syndicated loan documentation and finance structuring."

 

Hirokazu Hayashi

"He is professional and he understands our business very well."

"He is very responsive, timely and credible lawyer."

"Surprisingly quick and deep understanding of our intention and business. Deep understanding of our actual decision-making procedure and providing flexible advice to go forward. "

 

Katsumasa Suzuki

"Dedication, working very hard and studying about the issuer."

"He is a good business person and understands bankers' needs. His advice is mostly to the point."

"He solved a complex, multi-stakeholder problem."

"Quality and speed."

"Practical advice based on abundant experiences and expertise in both M&A and capital market areas."

"Knowledge."

 

Katsuyuki Tainaka

"He has recently worked as the issuer's counsel on the global equity offering on which my firm was one of the underwriters. Frankly speaking, the issuer was really difficult and transaction itself was also complicated, but he handled the issuer well and finally concluded the transaction with great success. Also great and reliable lawyer to work with from the underwriters' perspective."

 

Masayuki Ishibashi

"Always responds on time. Very accessible. Gives appropriate advice based on his extensive experience in various finance deals."

 

Masakazu Kumagai

"He has a good understanding of capital market practice and its trends, and can provide the best advice based on his legal expertise.

He also can correctly analyze legal risks and provide appropriate advice on deals with highly novel/complex structure."

"He provided very helpful advice on the complicated stricture by capitalizing on his robust legal knowledge and experience."

 

Masanori Sato

"Creative, deep understanding of our business, innovative solution."

"The best lawyer in finance and banking"

"They liaised with the other law firm based in Europe and communicated efficiently."

"Broad knowledge and experiences across financial services and banking business."

 

Masahito Saeki

"He has advised our company and a J-REIT and a listed infrastructure fund that our company manages. His advice includes financing and disclosure of those funds. I have worked with him on those matters. He possesses deep knowledge and experience in the fields of J-REIT, listed infrastructure funds and capital markets. As he has a career of more than 15 years advising on those matters, he has accumulated such knowledge and experience, and he is now one of the most reliable practitioners to advise on those matters in Japan. He always provides the best solutions to not only legal issues but also business issues we face as he has a deep understanding of the market as well. In addition, he can solve complex issues by using the strength of his long career for advising in those fields.

"High level of legal knowledge, experience and communication skills. Problem-solving skills. Ability to think through for the client. Very fast response. Careful support for subordinates and junior staff. Responsiveness to relevant authorities. Schedule management for clients"

"He understands very well what the customers want and advises exactly what to do to achieve the target. "

"His response was very quick and he has a very deep knowledge about our sector and the renewable energy sector."

"He always gives us good counsel on clarifying relevant laws and regulations that are overlapping each other and difficult to correctly deal with. He supported us in strategic amendments of our articles of incorporation recently."

"He is outstanding in the field of J-REITs and listed infrastructure funds. He has abundant knowledge and experience of the real estate and capital market practice and has provided us with advice that is not only legally correct but also constructive and practical based on his deep understanding of our business and situations as well as the latest market trends. He can solve any legal issues even though the issues are difficult, complex and unprecedented."

 

Masayuki Ishibashi

"He always provides us with information on the latest legal system. He has a strong expertise in securitization, STO, trust practice and financial legislation. "

"His excellent deep legal knowledge and quick response."

"Abundant knowledge and abundant experience."

"セキュリティトークンにおける知識の深さ、レスポンス"

 

Naoki Ishikawa

"He understands our business very well."

 

Shuhei Uchida

"Appropriate and professional advice on M&A/SPA/LA arrangements."

 

Shigeki Okatani

" He always looks into what we need and how we would like to proceed in advance, then gives us advice with detailed analysis. And currently, they also consider our budget including legal fees in advance."

"Strong knowledge about our industry."

"Very strong expertise on energy market."

 

Taro Omoto

"He is considerate, always accessible, innovative and highly client oriented."

"Always client-friendly and responds to the best of his knowledge."

 

Toshimitsu Nemoto

"His legal advice is always clear and practicable. He has sufficient knowledge in the capital market field. "

 

Yohsuke Higashi

"Higashi-sensei provided good solutions, well-balanced advice, which both sides could appreciate, and ultimately got the deal done."

 

Yusuke Murakami

"He has deep knowledge about renewable energy and analysis of structures for investment and whilst he is quite detailed in analysis, he is flexible in finding solutions for the problem we faced."

"Meticulous and accurate work with balanced judgement."

"Attentive, supportive, knowledgeable."

"He has very wide insights in the offshore wind business, Japanese regulation, financing etc. We relied on his entire knowledge for our projects."

"Very responsive and gives solid legal advice."

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu is one of Japan’s four largest independent firms that was established in 2000 following the merger of Nagashima & Ohno with Tsunematsu Yanase & Sekine. The firm, however, can trace its history to 1961 and now has 350 lawyers across offices in Tokyo, New York, Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Shanghai.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm excels across the board in transactional work but is noted for its large market share in the securitisation market, and routinely picks up market leading mandates in M&A, capital markets and project development.

 

Key clients  

Key clients of the firm include SoftBank, Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho, Sumitomo Mitsui, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Nomura Securities, Daiwa Securities, Panasonic, BNP Paribas, Renesas Electronic, Tokyo Electric Power, and Z Energy. 

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

The firm has been active in banking, capital markets, M&A, private equity, project finance, and project development work during the research cycle.

The finance team handled all manner of loans as well as other financial service regulatory works and was active in acquisition finance, asset finance, real estate finance, and mezzanine finance primarily representing lenders, borrowers, acquirers, trustees, and issuers. 

In the capital markets, the team was active in transactions in global offerings by Japanese issuers of equity and debt securities, global and domestic IPOs, Japanese offerings by foreign issuers, and J-REIT transactions. The firm is also involved in sustainability bonds, asset-backed securities, and convertible and hybrid securities.

The corporate team kept busy with all types of cross-border transactions including public and private acquisitions, privatisation, spin-offs, and joint ventures. 

Last year, the firm promoted three new finance and project partners Mizukoshi, Tomohiro Koyasu, and Muraji Yoshimune. The corporate team also promoted two partners Nobuhiro Anzai and Akihiro Tokura, and the capital markets team promoted partner Kyohei Mizukoshi. 

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

Renesas Electronics ¥735.4 billion acquisition finance 

East Japan Railway’s £300 million, 500 million, 700 million note issue

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking $5.5 billion acquisition of 5% of the shares in ESR Hong Kong

Equinix Group hyper-scale data centers (xScale data centers) project

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

Capital Market: Equity

"Highly sophisticated. Ability to focus on business goals, and to remain available for communication with us at all times. Clearly points out legal issues and proposes practical solutions for the issues."

"Very experienced and knowledgeable in capital markets transactions. They always provide accurate and well-considered responses even in difficult phases."

 

Capital Market: Debt

"Very familiar with our specific business characteristics and strong commitment to our project."

 

M&A

"They provided us with beneficial advice that we needed."

"Quick responses and reliable legal advice with deep understanding of our business."

"Their performance was great in terms of speed and quality of service."

"They provide us with some beneficial advice that we want."

 

Project finance

"Reliable and prompt advice."

"Deep expertise."

"Great contacting, work and polite analysis of Japanese law. And they sometimes proactively offer us a foreseeing opinion."

"The firm takes care of the points which our company cares about in terms of documentation issues. Also, it completely figures out the process we follow to get internal approval."

"The target asset was operating asset, so we needed to clearly determine the environmental risk we were taking."

 

Project development

"Although Japan's offshore wind business is just beginning, the firm can partner with a European law firm to provide legal advice based on global standards and Japan-specific conditions.

"Comprehensive advice on the basis of deep understanding of Japan's energy market."

"It is one of the few law firms in Japan that is familiar with onshore and offshore wind projects."

"They have deep knowledge of EPC and project finance. They have a high ability to understand the needs of customers and our business. They have completed the mission even if an unreasonable deadline.

 

Jiro Mikami

"He and his team provide with us reliable advice in a timely manner with full understanding of our business."

"He is very creative and very responsive on any legal matter."

"We sometimes have difficulty when we are facing problems in areas of the front line in which there is no precedent. In these situations, he always provides us with valuable thoughts."

 

Kei Okubo

"Deep understanding of the entire business."

 

Kiyoshi Honda

"He has a wealth of knowledge about offshore wind farm construction and gives advice based on our circumstances."

"He has deep expertise and is good at leading teams."

"He has deep knowledge of EPC, project finance and electric power business. He has a high ability to understand the needs of customers and our business. He has completed the mission even if an unreasonable deadline."

 

Shinichi Araki

"Good familiarity with our business and flexibility to solve legal issues."

 

Marisa Fernandez Nakajima

"They couldn’t be better."

"Her performance was great in terms of the quality of service."

"Her performance was great in terms of the quality of service. She is easy to contact, also."

"Her response was quick and advice was clear and understandable."

 

Motoki Saito

"He is always quick to respond, fluent in English, and has a sense of responsibility. "

 

Terukazu Katsuyama

"Very reliable."

"He is always considering us and gives us an exceptional solution in terms of documentation issues."

"Deep expertise and helpful advice."

 

Yuichi Miyashita

"Always pleasant to work with and responsive. Very familiar with the practice. Provides very logical and practical legal advice. Proposes solutions from a customer perspective."

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi was originally founded in 1966 as Nishimura & Partners before adopting its current name following the acquisition in 2007 of the Kokusai Bumon (International Division) of Asahi Law Offices. The firm is among the four largest in the Japanese market with 530 attorneys, Japanese offices in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, and overseas offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, New York, Singapore, Taipei and Yangon. The firm is also present in Jakarta and Hong Kong and is a member of international law firm network, Lex Mundi.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

Nishimura & Asahi is strong across the board in transactional work. It has the largest asset finance practice in the country and acts for both lenders and borrowers in acquisition finance. It also routinely picks up the best mandates available to the market in M&A, projects, private equity and capital markets.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include KKR, ENEOS Holdings, MUFG Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Goldman Sachs, Nomura Securities, PHC Holdings

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

During the research cycle, the firm was active in LBO financing, mezzanine financing, and go-private transactions. The team also regularly handles cross-border banking transactions, including asset financing, acquisition financing, aircraft leasing, and corporate and syndicated loans. 

In capital markets, the team kept busy over the research period with IPOs, follow-on offerings, global subordinated bonds, convertible bond issues, and asset-backed securities. 

The M&A team was preoccupied with cross border acquisitions, take-over activities for clients in Japan, the US, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore.

In projects, the team advised on project financing such as sale of shares, joint venture and financial investment activities in the renewable energy and natural resources sector including solar power, wind farm, biomass power, gas-fired power, and waste-to-energy plant.

Last year, the finance team promoted partner Masashi Ueda and Toshiyuki Yamamoto, and the capital market team promoted five new partners including Arisa Inuzuka, Mayuko Nakamura, Masanori Kaneko, Keita Yasui, and James Campbell.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

Rakuten and KKR $1.6 billion LBO financing

PHCHD $1.6 billion TSE IPO

Nippon Steel Corporation $2.5 billion zero coupon convertible bonds issue

USB $8 billion acquisition of MUFG Union Bank

ENEOS $1.74 billion acquisition of Japan Renewable Energy

TMI Associates

TMI Associates has experienced rapid growth since it was founded in 1990; the firm now counts over 530 lawyers’ members and has Japanese offices in Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka and overseas offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, London, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Singapore, and Yangon. It also has overseas practice groups and joint venture arrangements.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm was originally focused on intellectual property but has since become transactionally active in a wide range of practice areas including corporate and M&A, finance, projects, and debt capital markets.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include SMBC, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, Resona Bank, Daiwa Securities, Nomura Securities, BNP Paribas Securities, and Siemens Energy.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

The finance team has been active in handling a series of financing mandates including acquisition finance, asset finance, project finance, real estate finance, and trade finance for both lenders and borrowers.

In the capital markets, the firm kept busy providing legal services for financial matters such as debenture issues, bond/note restructuring, and IPOs. 

The M&A practice of the firm was active in acquisitions, financial investments, joint ventures, and divestments for buyers, sellers, and joint venture partners.  

The corporate team bought in counsel Tsugumichi Watanabe after partner Kyoko Nagano moved to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius last year. 

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

YCP ¥16.2 billion TSE IPO  

Mitsui Chemicals ¥46.7 billion acquisitions of the agrochemicals business of Meiji Seika Pharma

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)      

Capital markets: Debt

"Very professional and detail-oriented."

 

Financial services regulatory

"One strength is that they can cover the whole range of legal services, from commercial law to employment law to regulatory law. They work in a very customer-oriented manner and warrant a high level of availability. Fees are considered transparent and in line with the market. Another plus is that we have had the same contact persons for years."

"The advice is precise and timely."

 

Investment funds

"The firm provides us with practicable and professional services based on adequate experience while they manage total fees within a reasonable range."

"Provided us with helpful advice promptly."

 

M&A

"They are solution-oriented, practical and supportive professionals with in-depth understanding of commercial matters."

"They provided practicable solutions based on deep understanding of the client's situation and industry trends."

 

Project development

"Contract review."

 

Project finance

"Although we had absolutely no experience or knowledge in this field, we were able to leave everything to them. 当社がまったく経験と知識がない分野であったが、TMIは豊富な知識と経験があり、すべてを任せる事ができた。"

"They are cooperative and fees are reasonable."

 

Hiroyoshi Kuromaru

"He is very professional."

 

Junji Shiraki

"Attorney Shiraki is very easy to talk to and listens. He also brings out the important points that need to be conveyed. 白木弁護士は、とても話しやすい雰囲気で話を聞いてくれる。そして、伝えるべき重要な点を引き出してくれる。"

 

Mizuki Koshimoto

"He provided us with practicable and reasonable solutions while managing limited time and budget."

"He is excellent. He has comprehensive experience in the financial sector and a deep understanding of the client's situation. He provides the client with practicable solutions. He can manage the fees reasonably."

"Very responsive, compassionate and a sharp legal-minded expert, providing prompt support whenever needed."

"Quick response. High work quality."

"Prompt, helpful advice."

"Contract review such as EPC contract."

"Always approachable and providing well-considered concepts."

"His advice is timely, he is available and provides practical advice."

Tsubame Law Offices

Tsubame Law Offices is a Tokyo-based law firm founded in 2003. The firm is fluent with high expertise in Japanese, English, German, Chinese, Korean and French, to facilitate communication with overseas clients. Its clients range from venture companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and national universities to government-affiliated research institutes.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm has a focus on banking & finance, especially in structured finance and project finance. The firm’s banking team has a particular strength in real estate financing. It is also active in the investment funds area.

Ashurst

Ashurst is a London-headquartered multinational law firm with offices in nearly 20 countries and which has more than 1,600 partners and lawyers across a network spanning Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

The firm opened its Tokyo office in 1990 and now practises law in Japan through Ashurst Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo and provides clients with Japanese and international law capability.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is strongest in its work in the foreign project finance and project development area and is also active in debt capital markets and M&A.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Canon Medical Systems, Sumitomo Forestry, Fuyo General Lease, MOL Hong Kong, Toll Holdings, Japan Post Holdings, Mitsubishi, UFJ Lease & Finance Company and Itochu.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie is a Chicago-based international law firm with over 6000 lawyers across 77 offices. In Asia-Pacific it has 17 offices including in Tokyo where it is firmly entrenched in Japan’s legal market with a large practice and abundant bengoshi,

Focusses / specialisms

The firm’s Tokyo practitioners advise global and domestic clients on legal and business issues in Japan and overseas with transactional expertise in capital markets, projects and M&A.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Pacifico Energy, Export-Import Bank of India, 3M Company, Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation, Northland Power and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm’s debt capital markets team was highly active advising on corporate, samurai, uridashi and renewable energy projects bonds, while the equity capital markets team handled stock options. 

The finance team handled acquisition financing mandates, and projects were busy with airport privatisation, solar, offshore wind, biomass, and outbound projects in cogeneration, lithium, LNG, thermal, coal, waste to energy and electricity.

The corporate team advised on joint ventures, investments, disposals and acquisitions in manufacturing, print, pulp, oil and gas, financial services, technology and consumer goods. 

In December 2019 partner Jeremy Pitts retired from the firm’s banking and finance practice. The firm’s projects team was also hit with the departures of partner Anne Hung and counsel Toshio Sasaki. Counsel Yumi Watanabe also left the firm’s corporate practice. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Ako 102MW utility scale solar power plant 

-Asahi Group Holdings $11 billion acquisition financing 

-Export-Import Bank of India ¥32 billion dual-tranche samurai bond issue 

-KT Corporation ¥30 billion samurai bond issue 

-Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation $2.9 billion acquisition of Colonial First State Global Asset Management

-Shingu cogeneration (3800KW heat/1800KW power) project 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“Timeliness on meeting our demands.”

“B&M's global network is very helpful for us to confirm the feasibility in creating a Japanese security. Also, they do their best to negotiate with borrower counsels.”

M&A

“Proactively analysed the situation and gave us the right advice. Properly coordinates with other external professional firms to proceed with the transaction. Timeliness when completing the tasks.”

“Creativity and advanced knowledge on tax structuring. They have plenty of experience and knowledge especially for the complex Japanese tax regime. In addition to that, they are always focusing on the clients' issues.”

“BM effectively advised the client coordinating with us in a very smooth manner in a situation that is not so precedented (acquisition of a Japanese listed target through tender offer by a foreign strategic company). The advisory work covered due diligence, negotiation with seller, coordination with administrator in the context of a tender offer process, and documentation were delivered in a very efficient manner, during an extremely tight timeframe, while also bridging language and cultural gaps.”

“Commercially realistic, solid client advice. Overall excellence.”

“Flexible approach and attentive service at reasonable fee levels.”

“Prompt response times, commercially relevant advice.”

“I worked opposite Mr. Yutaka Kimura. He represented the highest standard of professionalism, dedication, being business oriented and a real deal-maker. Mr. Kimura bridged the cultures and language and was an instrumental and crucial part in the parties’ ability to close the deal.”

“They have knowledge about M&A all over the world.”

“They minimise our risk on the asset purchase agreement and relative agreements. Also, they flexibly dealt with the seller's unreasonable requests and guided us to settle the deal smoothly.”

“Their tenacious and prompt practice to my team.”

“The law firm takes a very practical approach and understands clients' business needs.”

“They work very closely with the legal and the business team, and diligently with perseverance. Both the legal team and the business team really count on their practical advice and conscientious support.  Especially, Mr. Kiyoshi Endo, a partner of the Tokyo office, we really appreciate his hands-on approach to the on-going matter. He does not delegate all the work to junior lawyers and instead, he himself understands issues very well and directly provides detailed analysis and advice to us.”

“They are responsive, approachable, they give commercial and pragmatic advice and are always happy to help.”

“They have US M&A expertise.”

“BM has a good spread of offices in locations where we do business. Our primary contacts in Japan help to facilitate involvement with the local offices whilst maintaining oversight and cost control.”

“BM consistently delivers timely, accurate, and useful advice for our teams. The level of service and priority we receive is exceptional.”

“They provided appropriate risk awareness and pre-emptive countermeasures.”

Project development

“Excellent client service, very committed to ensuring strong, open communication channels.”

“Well-resourced and client friendly; fit-for-purpose advice and solution-oriented; specialist knowledge and technical expertise in niche areas not widely available in the market.”

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is a London-based magic circle law firm with over 3300 lawyers and 34 offices across 23 countries. The firm opened its Tokyo office in 1987 and has been advising Japanese clients since 1974. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has foreign lawyers and Japanese bengoshi operating under a financially integrated platform offering clients inbound and outbound expertise supported by a strong global network. The firm has a market leading debt capital markets practice and has strong finance and projects capability. It also offers M&A and private equity expertise. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include SMBC Nikko Capital Markets, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, JPMorgan Securities, CVC Capital Partners, Mitsubishi Corporation, The Bank of Fukuoka and Sonnedix Japan. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm’s capital markets practice kept busy advising on green bonds, GMTN, EMTN and MTN programmes, samurai and convertible bond issuances.

The corporate team acted in sales, investments, joint ventures stake and other acquisitions in energy, offshore wind, solar and real estate, while the finance team acted in conventional lending, aviation and acquisition finance mandates. 

The projects practice acted in inbound and outbound thermal, offshore wind, biomass, solar, casino, and oil and gas projects in Japan, Vietnam, Morocco, Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, Europe, South Asia and Australia. 

The firm bolstered its private equity practice with the hire of partner Michihiro Nishi from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-BBOXX $50 million investment 

-Fancl Corporation ¥10 billion zero coupon convertible bond issue

-Japan Finance Organization for Municipalities €500 million green bond issue 

-Mine 7/3MW solar PV project

-Nghi Son 2 IPP

-Qracian acquisition financing 

-VLI Multimodal $30 million financing 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Asset finance

“It supported us professionally in the entire work.  The Japan office helped us especially in regards to the nini-kumiai structure which is rare in JOL.”

“Helped us with extensive knowledge and understanding about aviation, Japanese investors, our capacity and counterparty's demand.”

“I think their positive attributes are the quality of service and relationship management with clients. In terms of the work we asked, they take care of our issues in a timely manner.”

Banking

“Professional and adequate advice in such a short time. Successfully contributed to achieve the client needs.”

“To smooth the execution process of transactions with customers.”

Capital markets: Debt

“Ms. Reiko Sakimura, a partner, always gives us clear and reliable advice.”

“To implement new terms like ARRC based fallback, the firm advised and guided us in good ways to launch by referring to a global capital markets case study.”

“CC Tokyo has an efficient capital markets team led by Reiko Sakimura.”

“The team is consistent and hardly changes members and as such, the institutional knowledge is valuable to clients who often rotate staff.”

Capital markets: Derivatives

“They provide a one-stop service for English law and Japanese law advice and have expertise in the derivatives space.”

Capital markets: High-Yield

“Responsive and cooperative. While the discussion started at a very early stage, the firm showed its willingness to assist us and proactively provided ideas.”

Financial services regulatory

“Contributed to the establishment of a regulatory horizon scanning team. Hitomi Kurokawa has been sitting with us in the bank and working closely.”

“Clifford Chance provides timely, thorough and useful advice on compliance with the Japan reporting requirements.  The team of legal assistants who handle the filings are exceptionally capable.”

M&A

“We especially appreciate their positive attributes in clarification of the scheme of arrangement. We consider the impact caused by differences between Japanese law and Australian law. In order to solve them, Clifford Chance in Tokyo and Sydney supported us by providing detailed explanations in Japanese about scheme of arrangement and what is the main issue, how it may impact the terms and conditions of this financing. I truly appreciate them.”

Private equity

“Adequate experience in the area, timely responses.”

Project finance 

“The firm has brought extensive knowledge of project finance and local legal matters through the combination of their Tokyo and Moroccan office.”

“Of course they were acting on the lenders side and not for sponsors but they have been always willing to do anything good for a whole project.”

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Davis Polk & Wardwell is a New York-headquartered law firm with 982 lawyers across 10 offices in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The firm established its office in Tokyo in 1987 but can trace its Japanese presence back to a series of Japanese government bond financings during the decade following the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is best known for its high-end debt and equity capital markets and M&A practices, routinely advising Japanese and non-Japanese issuers and underwriters on their rule 144A and SEC-registered transactions, while acting for potential buyers and sellers in a variety of cross-border transactions, including a mix of outbound, inbound and Japanese business combinations.

 

Key clients 

 

Key clients include SMFG, SMTB, JFM, Development Bank of Japan, Nippon Paint, Money Forward, Shiseido, IRE and Kobe Steel.

 

 

Client feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

M&A

“The firm has broad and long experience in M&As involving Japanese companies and are knowledgeable about M&A practices both in the US and Japan, effectively combining their global capabilities. In addition, they are well aware of potential issues and concerns from not only the transaction parties’ viewpoint but also the financial advisors’ viewpoint (including our standards and stances). Therefore, they are always helpful and important resources for our evaluating potential issues which may arise from our Japan-related M&A financial advisory work.”

Hibiya Nakata

Established in 2012, Hibiya Nakata is a Tokyo-based boutique Japanese law firm. It works closely with Allen & Overy and has access to the Pacific Rim Advisory Council network.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is focused on inbound and outbound M&A work and caters to mid-sized cross-border M&A transactions. It is traditionally good at advising Japanese companies on their European/US M&A transactions and developed Asian M&A transactions in recent years.

 

Key clients 

 

Key clients include Sika, Vertex Ventures SEA Management, UT Group, Obayashi, Appirits, Kyoei Denki, Shizuoka Gas, and Daiwa House Industry.

 

Client feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

M&A

“They provide us with detailed analysis on the possible structure of the collaboration, risk concerning anti-trust laws and regulations, procedures for anti-trust filing. Also, they supported our contract negotiations which includes contract reviewing and drafting of documents.”

“Networking with overseas law firm, managing legal affairs for carve-out deal under collaboration with overseas law firm.”

Hunton Andrews Kurth

Hunton Andrews Kurth is an American law firm resulting from the merger of Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth Kenyon on April 2 2018. The firm has more than 900 lawyers in the US, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s Tokyo office is specialised in foreign project development and project finance practices. It advises clients on strategic investments, acquisitions and financings in key sectors such as nuclear energy, oil and gas, conventional and renewable power, minerals, infrastructure, information technology, manufacturing and services, and life sciences.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Nuclear Power Plants Authority and Impact Energy Asia.

K&L Gates

K&L Gates is a US-based international law firm with 45 further offices across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. The firm’s Tokyo office was established in 2010. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm offers cross-border transactional advice and is focused on asset finance, with specific expertise in real estate, aircraft, ship, rail, container and telecom equipment finance.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Citigroup Global Markets, JP Lease Products & Services, Deutsche Bank, Tokyo Century Corporation, MUFG Bank and Showa Leasing. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm has kept busy in the research period with acquisition financing, Japanese operating lease aviation work and advising clients in relation to the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, and on rent holidays requests under lease agreements due to Covid-19 alongside prospective work on green aircraft transactions and on the potential entry of US Pension funds into the aviation finance market. 

In 2019 the firm welcomed corporate partner Tsuguhito Omagari from Sonderhoff & Einsel, but lost partner Kamil Ahmed in February 2020. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-JOL AIR 2019-1 $683 million ABS transaction

-JP Lease/All Nippon Airways dual currency JOL for one 777-300ER

-PK AirFinance acquisition financing 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Asset finance 

“They are experts in aviation finance and one of the few international firms in Tokyo that have full Japanese law capability. They are also very commercial, have reasonable pricing, are hardworking and friendly.”

King & Spalding

King & Spalding is a Atlanta-based international law firm with over 1100 lawyers across 23 offices. Its Tokyo office was established in 2015.

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is best known for its projects work where it is active in energy, renewable energy and oil and gas mandates. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Mitsui & Co, Marubeni Corporation, Korea Electric Power Corporation, Électricité de France, Keppel Capital Holdings, Korea East-West Power Corporation and MODEC.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm’s projects team has kept busy in the past 12 months advising on outbound projects including project bonds, IPPs and IWPPs, gas projects, cogeneration projects, infrastructure funds, LNG projects, and offshore wind mandates in Mexico, Brazil, Senegal, Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Guam, Myanmar and Vietnam. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Fujairah 3 IWPP

-Keppel Asia Infrastructure Fund

-MV24 Capital $1.1 billion 6.748% project bond issue

-Sepia MV30 FPSO Project

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Investment funds

“Meeting deadlines and negotiating legal points with counterparties.”

Project development

“Trustworthiness and gets the work done in a timely manner.”

Project finance

“They are very practical and hands-on. They have very smart people.”

Latham & Watkins

Established in California in 1934, Latham & Watkins is an international firm with 2700 lawyers across 29 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It has been active in Japan for over 20 years. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm in Tokyo comprises of bengoshi and US-qualified lawyers focused on high-end, inbound and outbound M&A transactions across the automotive, technology, communications, semiconductor, life sciences, private equity and financial services sectors; and Asia-Pacific project financings across the energy, infrastructure, mining, transport, and telecommunications sectors.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Z Holdings Corporation, SB Investment Advisers, Kioxia Corporation, Saputo, Pengerang Energy Complex, JPMorgan Securities and Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm’s corporate practice handled the Z Holdings/ Line merger, private equity and stake acquisitions alongside investments and joint ventures. The projects team were active in a host of outbound thermal, power, petrochemical, energy, oil and gas, and mining projects in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Guam and Australia. 

The firm bolstered its M&A team in 2019 with the hires of partners Noah Carr and Ivan Smallwood from Morrison & Foerster but it also lost Nozomi Oda to the same firm. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Grab Holdings $1.46 billion series H financing 

-Line Corporation / Z Holdings merger 

-Mong Duong 2 1240MW thermal power project 

-Saputo / Mori International Corporation joint venture

Morrison & Foerster

Formed in 1883, Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) is a San Francisco-based international law firm with 1,000 lawyers and 17 offices across the US, Asia and Europe. The firm’s Tokyo office has the capacity of approximately 60 US attorneys, 60 Japanese bengoshi, and six attorneys qualified in England & Wales who team with the firm’s global network.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s Japan team is strong in a wide range of practice areas and is one of the few international law firms that leads in both domestic and foreign markets and actively advises inbound and outbound transactions. It is strongest in M&A and private equity and very active in banking and finance, debt and equity capital markets, project finance and project development.

 

Key clients 

Key clients include CLS Bank International, Financial Services Agency of Japan, SoftBank Group, Nomura Securities, Daiwa Securities, SMBC Nikko Securities, Mizuho Securities, Fujitsu, Renesas Electronics, Tencent, Tokyo Gas and GSSG Solar.

 

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison

Originally founded in 1875, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison is a New York-based international firm with more than 1,000 lawyers across eight offices. The firm established its Tokyo office in 1987.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s Tokyo office is best known for its work in the foreign M&A, private equity and capital markets practices. It advises Japanese companies in the US and elsewhere around the globe, alongside US and other non-Japanese clients in connection with activities in Japan. The firm is also active in joint ventures, investment fund formations and restructurings.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Apollo, Mitsubishi Chemical America, Itochu and SoftBank.

 

Client feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

Financial services regulatory

“Global network, English documentation, and organising and streamlining complicated legal issues.”

Ropes & Gray

Established in 1865, Boston-based Ropes & Gray is an international law firm with more than 1,400 lawyers and 11 offices across the US, Asia and Europe. Its office in Tokyo was established in 2007.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s Tokyo office is known for its work in foreign private equity and M&A markets. Its core focus is on leveraged buyouts, strategic M&As, private equity, joint ventures, public offerings and capital markets issues.

The firm is also active in the foreign banking market. The banking team acts for both borrowers and lenders in acquisition and corporate financing matters.

 

Key clients 

Key clients include Bain Capital, Baring Private Equity Asia, Kioxia Holdings, Nissan Motor, ADK, Showa Aircraft Industry and Canada Goose.

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling is a New York-based international law firm with 850 lawyers across 23 offices. The firm’s Tokyo office leverages off its global and Asia network to carry out transactions in Greater China, southeast Asia, Japan, India, Mongolia and South Korea.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The particular strengthof the firm’s Tokyo team is its work in the foreign M&A, private equity, capital markets, project development and project finance practices. The M&A team focuses on outbound investments, foreign direct investments, joint ventures, and public and private acquisitions and divestitures in a wide range of industries.

The team’s lawyers are qualified to practice law in the US and the UK and are fluent in Japanese.

 

Key clients 

Key clients include Bunge, Furusato Industries, GC Holdings, JERA, Maruka, Osaka Gas, Michinoku Bank, Toyota Motors, Itochu, Mizuho, MUFG, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance and TEPCO Renewables.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is a New York-based international law firm with 900 lawyers across 11 offices in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Its Tokyo office was established in 1990.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s Tokyo team is known for its work in the foreign M&A, private equity, debt and equity capital markets practice. It is also active in banking and finance and cross-border private fund formation. Regionally, the firm has added a leveraged finance piece to its offering that is based in Hong Kong.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include All Nippon Airways, Aruhi, Asahi, BofA Securities, Citigroup, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Daiwa Securities, Goldman Sachs, Mizuho Bank, Morgan Stanley, Japan Airlines and Nissin Foods.

 

 

Client feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

Capital markets

“I would highlight two leading partners who have contributed to established capital markets practice by providing solid, reliable technical advice yet keeping in mind commercial reasonableness.”

 

Investment funds

“Has deep knowledge of the market. Negotiates effectively with LPs, which is very important for a first-time fund of a Japanese emerging manager like us.”

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Formed in 1948, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is a New York-based international law firm with 1,700 lawyers across 22 offices. The firm’s Tokyo office was established in 1987 and operates as a gaikokuho kyodo jigyo (foreign law joint enterprise).

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s Tokyo team is staffed with bengoshi licensed to practice law and appear in Japanese courts. Its core focus is on structuring and negotiating public and private mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures involving Japanese entities. Its capital markets team handles IPOs, follow-on equity offerings, J-REIT offerings, investment grade and high yield debt offerings, sovereign debt offerings and insurance hybrid debt offerings. The team also assists clients in restructurings and in the formation of investment funds.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Toshiba, Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing, NTT Group, Daiwa Securities, Visional, Janus Henderson Group and Sanken Electric.

Tokyo International Law Office

Tokyo International Law Office is a relatively new M&A boutique that was established in 2019 by former Hibiya-Nakata partners Mikiharu Mori and Koki Yamada.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm has a particular focus on the small to mid-cap M&A market, facilitating outbound M&A transactions by Japanese corporations, joint venture projects with foreign partners, and inbound M&A transactions by foreign investors in Japan. It has expertise in the PR, media, electronics, healthcare, technology, construction, entertainment, financial services and consumer goods sectors.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharmaceutical, Kurita Water Industries, Yokogawa Electric, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, Toyota Motors and Hitachi Astemo.

 

 

Client feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

M&A

“Their team headed by Mikiharu Mori is very diligent, to the point and delivers on time.”