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Japan: Construction & Real Estate 2016

As Japan continues to experiment with negative interest rates, the recent growth of the construction and real estate industry in the country has been uncertain. However, the construction of office buildings and factories nationally increased by 17.5 per cent and 18.8 per cent respectively in 2015, while the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics is also expected to boost the sector further; the construction market expects to see 1.6 per cent compound annual growth over 2015–2020. J-REITS and real estate acquisition and construction by private funds are also steady; many believe that whatever risks may have been associated with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies, these are not so great as to deter significant investment, and the worst of such uncertainty seems to be over. Twenty six individuals have been recommended as Japan’s leading experts.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto sees five of its lawyers recommended for its outstanding real estate practice group. Eriko Ozawa offers “well-considered advice” and “exceptional knowledge” in relation to real estate financing and REITs. The “highly respected” Masanori Sato is noted for his exceptional work within the field of real estate financing and REITs, with “many successful years of experience. Noboru Suwa is well regarded for his expertise in both real estate financing and regulatory matters.  Meanwhile, Yasuhiko Fujitsu is a young but highly regarded partner with a standout J-REITs practice.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu also excels in real estate finance and investment, with five names featured. Naohiro Nishimura is a “leading light”, and has been involved in some of the firm’s most significant real estate transactions. Hidetaka Mihara is “esteemed” for his work in real estate finance, including J-REITs. The “incredibly knowledgeable” Mami Ikebukuro is considered by clients to be “a great practitioner”. Yoshikazu Sugino is described by clients as someone who is “always good to have on your side”, while Shunpei Tanaka is “superb” and “gives very useable advice”.

Morrison & Foerster is very highly regarded for its real estate finance team, which practises both international and domestic law. Keisuke Mochizuki is widely considered to be “one of the leading figures” in real estate, and has been engaged with high-value real estate transactions for both Japanese and international clients. Masahiro Shiga has advised on the purchase of more than $12 billion in Japanese real estate and is considered by respondents to be “a fantastic dealmaker”. Junichi Kurokoshi is said to be a “dynamic and creative” practitioner, while Theodore Seltzer* is considered “pre-eminent” in his work focusing on the acquisition, financing and disposition of real estate, often as part of cross-border deals. Andrew Morrison* is “a skilled practitioner across the whole gamut of real estate transactions” and is “highly sought after”.

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune earns three recommendations. Ken Kobayashi has a “deep understanding” and “extensive knowledge of investment and lending transactions”, while Minoru Kobayashi is “highly respected” for his engagement in a wide range of real estate transactions, particularly in relation to REITs. Naoyuki Kabata is a “stalwart” of the firm’s finance team and is seen as a “top choice” for a number of respondents.

Nishimura & Asahi also sees three lawyers listed. Norio Maeda displays “strong expertise” in real estate transactions, including negotiating creative investment and financing structures. Hideaki Ozawa is described by clients as “an invaluable counsel”. Yoshiaki Ikeda is “a clever operator” and “an excellent deal lawyer”.

 Herbert Smith Freehills garners a duo of listings. Emma Kratochvilova* leads the construction and engineering team in the Tokyo office, where she is considered a “truly great” practitioner with “a keen understanding of commercial considerations”. David Gilmore* is recommended for his expertise in international commercial disputes in the construction sector.

At Ashurst, Rupert Burrows* is managing partner in the firm’s Tokyo office. He is known for his “deep understanding of the Japanese construction market”.

Yoshiko Koizumi at City-Yuwa Partners “draws on decades of experience”; as one peer highlighted, “for any construction matters in Tokyo you go straight to her”.

 At Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Simon Barrett’s* engagements have included the financing and development of major construction projects, for which he has earned a reputation as “one of the foremost foreign practitioners based in Japan”.


* Foreign-qualified lawyer

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