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Japan: Capital Markets 2016

Despite the growing pressure on yen rates as a result of the aggressive easing policies from the Bank of Japan, lawyers have highlighted that the domestic capital markets have been very active over the past year. According to Global Capital, Japan’s stock market has seen an increase of 87 per cent since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s election win in 2012. As the Japanese administration continues to pursue “Abenomics”, lawyers believe that stock market activity will continue to grow, providing the legal community with much work over the coming year. We highlight 25 leading lawyers for their work in the field. 

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu is our leading capital markets firm this year boasting an impressive six listings. Fumihide Sugimoto is “an extremely highly regarded capital markets lawyer”. He is considered “the go-to person for complex Japanese securities law issues” including subordinated and hybrid securities. Alongside him, Hidetaka Mihara continues to impress clients who hail his “remarkable expertise in the REIT space”. Miyuki Ishiguro is known in the field for her “practical and strategic approach” to domestic and global offerings of securities, including both private placements and IPOs. Masatsura Kadota is considered “a top-tier debt and equity practitioner”. Atsushi Yamashita is a “debt capital markets specialist” who “never fails to demonstrate strong commercial awareness”. Shinichi Araki boasts “a stellar reputation” among peers who highlight his “exceptional structured bond offerings work”.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto achieves three nominations in this chapter, including the “sensational” Toru Ishiguro who is regarded as “one of the best securities lawyers in the Japanese market”. Katsumasa Suzuki gains recognition for his “sensitive handling of high profile deals”. The “terrific” Masanori Sato is noted for his “considered and tactful negotiation skills” and structuring complex securitisations.

Three leading lawyers at Nishimura & Asahi receive listings this year, including Yasutaka Nishikori who is commended for his debt and equity practice. According to one source, he is able “to quickly identify and mitigate legal risks when they arise”. The “brilliant” Kohei Koikawa displays “a keen eye for detail” when dealing with IPOs. Hajime Ueno is a structured finance specialist, known for his “creative, professional and diligent approach”.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s David Sneider* is “a cut above the rest” when it comes to cross-border capital markets transactions. As head of the Tokyo office, he is admired for his “impressive roster of clients”, which include major US and Japanese financial institutions and corporations. Alan Cannon* runs a “distinguished practice” and is known for the “intuitive advice” that he delivers to Japanese financial institutions on international debt offerings.  Takahiro Saito* impresses clients with his skilful handling of US-registered offerings and securities exchanges.

Sullivan & Cromwell’s Izumi Akai is singled out as “one of the best-regarded lawyers in the market”. As co-head of the firm’s Japan practice, he predominantly advises Japanese issuers on securities offerings in the US.

Reiko Sakimura* at Clifford Chance deals with a range of capital markets issues such as convertible bonds, medium-term note programmes and corporate hybrid securities. According to clients, she is “a first-rate legal strategist”.

At Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom Kenji Paul Taneda is “very active on the REIT side” and is lauded by peers as “an exceedingly skilled and insightful adviser”.

At Shearman & Sterling, Tokyo managing partner Masahisa Ikeda* is a “world-class transactional lawyer”, representing Japanese issuers and underwriters in US securities offerings.

Tong Yu* at Paul Weiss is highlighted for as “a brilliant operator” in relation to global IPOs, secondary offerings and debt offerings.

At Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, the “fantastic” Hironori Shibata is “one of the top capital markets lawyers in the country”. He is particularly well known for his work on the underwriter’s side.

Davis Polk & Wardwell’s Jon Gray* is “extremely well versed” in debt and equity transactions and “always provides timely and innovative counsel” to clients.

At Morrison & Foerster, Tokyo managing partner Fuyuo Mitomi possesses extensive experience representing high-profile Japanese and foreign corporations on a range of debt and equity offerings.

Linklaters is represented by the “incredibly smart” Peter Frost*, who is highly sought after for his “fresh approach to debt and equity bond offerings”.

At TMI Associates, Hikaru Kaieda is widely recognised for the “comprehensive advice” and “bespoke solutions” that he delivers to clients.


* Foreign-qualified lawyer

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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W11 1QQ, UK