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Japan: Arbitration 2016

Arbitration continues the steady growth it has previously demonstrated in Japan, and while national firms have become more internationalised, international firms also display an increasing presence in the jurisdiction. The Japan Commercial Arbitration Association sees a healthy number of cases per year, but still looks to its more eminent partners in the region for guidance on its Commercial Arbitration Rules, particularly Hong Kong and Singapore. However, with Japanese businesses adopting a more global outlook, arbitration looks set to increase its foothold in what could become an important market in the future. This year, 14 practitioners based in the country are considered to be the leading minds in domestic and international arbitration.

Herbert Smith Freehills leads the way with five practitioners in this chapter. David Gilmore* is head of the Tokyo dispute resolution practice, where his “strong commercial awareness” and “years of experience in the Japanese market” make him much recommended by clients. Peter Godwin* is the head of dispute resolution in Asia. His work acting in ad hoc and UNCITRAL arbitrations, both under JCAA rules and otherwise, has earned him the reputation of being “a leading name in arbitration”. Elaine Wong* is “a superb practitioner” who “offers strategic solutions” and has a particularly strong expertise in construction and energy disputes. Christopher Hunt* advises on multi-jurisdictional arbitration matters over a wide range of sectors including energy and natural resources, TMT, pharmaceutical, construction and insurance. He is considered a “rising star” in the Tokyo office. Ben Jolley* provides “pro-active comments in a timely manner” and “has a depth of knowledge about both common law and Japanese law”.

Nishimura & Asahi sees Hiroyuki Tezuka recognised as a high-ranking individual in our research, and as “a great and well-respected arbitration lawyer” who “needs to be listed for his thorough understanding of the arbitration landscape”. 

At K&L Gates Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise, Haig Oghigian* is recognised as being “at the top of the field”, and has vast experience acting as party-appointed arbitrator and counsel in ICC, JCAA and AAA arbitrations.

Naoki Idei at Kojima Law Offices is “one of the foremost arbitration lawyers” in Japan, who displays an extensive working knowledge of both Japanese and international arbitration law.

Yasuhei Taniguchi of Matsuo & Kosugi is “pre-eminent” in the field, and possesses “an encyclopaedic knowledge” of arbitration law.

At Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Yoshimasa Furuta represents both domestic and foreign companies in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations across several sectors, and is described as “a consummate professional” who “does not stop until the job is done”.

King & Spalding Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho’s Christopher Bailey* is a “seasoned expert”, particularly in the energy, oil and gas, and construction industries. He “can be counted on for workable solutions” say respondents.

Junya Naito at Momo-o Matsuo & Namba is a “key figure” whom peers consider “arguably the number-one arbitration bengoshi”.

Junichi Tobimatsu of Mori Hamada & Matsumoto has a wide range of experience in the field of arbitration and dispute resolution, for which he is considered to be “undoubtedly at the forefront” of the field.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu is represented by Yoshimi Ohara. She has acted for international and domestic clients in centres under the rules of the ICC, ICDR, SIAC and JCAA, where she “comes across very impressively” and is described by clients as “always great to have on your side”.


* Foreign-qualified lawyer

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