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Japan: Competition 2017

In this chapter we recognise 40 leading lawyers known for their excellent work in behavioural and non-behavioural competition law matters, regularly representing clients before the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) and the courts. 

Most Highly Regarded
1. Yusuke Nakano Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Tokyo
2. Etsuko Hara Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Tokyo
3. Hideto Ishida Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Tokyo
4. Kenji Ito Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, Tokyo

 The “Big Four” Japanese law firms dominate the listings in this chapter, accounting for just over half of the total individuals recommended.

ANDERSON MORI & TOMOTSUNE is the first of three leading firms to achieve six listings this year.
Yusuke Nakano is an internationally renowned practitioner and one of Japan’s leading competition lawyers. He is particularly adept when handling international cartel investigations and merger clearances, as well as assisting Japanese clients in competition matters abroad.
The “excellent” Etsuko Hara is recognised for her impressive practice, which covers cross-border merger filings and cartel investigations.
EU competition law specialist Vassili Moussis* is a prominent figure on the international stage thanks to his experience handling EU and international merger control and cartel work. He also regularly assists Japanese clients with follow-on damages claims.
Sources describe Hideto Ishida as “a legendary lawyer” and “a pioneering figure in Japanese competition law”, thanks to his work on landmark cases.
Shigeyoshi Ezaki and Hiroki Kodate are also highlighted for their experience advising both domestic and foreign clients on competition issues relating to significant M&A transactions.

MORI HAMADA & MATSUMOTO continues to impress in the competition law space, garnering six entries in this chapter.
Kenji Ito is one of the most highly regarded practitioners in the Japanese market. Peers describe him as “a top name” and note that they regularly see him on the other side in many of the country’s significant merger cases.
The “fantastic” Hideki Utsunomiya is recognised for his strategic acumen, personable manner and strong grasp of the issues.
Tsuyoshi Ikeda is considered to possess “an astute legal mind” by one respondent, with another claiming, “He is often the first port of call for cross-border competition law issues.”
Disputes specialist Kana Manabe is recommended for her extensive experience handling private litigation and government investigations work.

NISHIMURA & ASAHI, the largest law firm in Japan, also performs well in this year’s competition research with six listings.
Kozo Kawai is a prominent player in the Japanese market who is praised for his “broad capacity”, “potency” and “diligent approach to difficult matters”.
Alvin Hiromasa Shiozaki is a well-known lawyer in the field and possesses over 20 years’ experience advising on competition law issues.
Corporate specialist Ryutaro Nakayama regularly advises on merger clearances and has also handled significant international cartel investigations for Japanese clients.

NAGASHIMA OHNO & TSUNEMATSU achieves an impressive four listings in this chapter.
Eriko Watanabe draws high praise from market commentators: “She has deep understanding of the substance of competition law and is very thorough in handling matters, raising issues from a client’s perspective. The same clients place significant trust in Eriko and show great respect to her advice."
The “excellent” Kaoru Hattori wins praise for her considerable experience handling cross-border cartel cases. She is also known for assisting international clients with merger clearances before the JFTC.

OH-EBASHI LPC & PARTNERS is home to three excellent competition specialists.
Tetsuya Nagasawa is a widely recognised lawyer in the Japanese competition market thanks to his proficiency handling vertical issues and abuse of dominance matters.
The “eminent” Tadashi Ishikawa impresses peers and clients alike who consider him “one of the founding fathers of Japanese competition law”.
Koya Uemura is also recognised as an accomplished competition law expert, regularly appearing before the JFTC in both merger control and cartel investigations.

HIBIYA SOGO LAW OFFICES is a top-tier boutique with a strong track record in contentious matters before the JFTC and Japanese courts.
According to sources, the “exceptional” Toshiaki Tada is “very popular among clients and competition lawyers”. He is adept when handling cartel investigations for both Japanese and international clients.
Tsutomu Nakato, a well-established figure in the field, is noted for his strong practice covering the full range of competition law issues.

MORRISON & FOERSTER is one of the principal international firms operating in the Japanese competition space, with two individuals singled out for their first-rate work.
Kei Amemiya is a well-respected player in the Japanese market thanks to his work handling the competition aspects of significant corporate and M&A transactions. He is also experienced when advising on investigations and IP-related competition issues.
Kentaro Hirayama also stands out among peers and is considered “a rising star” by market commentators.

ATSUMI & SAKAI’s Setsuko Yufu is one of two lawyers recommended at the firm. One source notes: “I go to her for her specialist knowledge, considerable experience, appropriate advice and rapid responses.”
Tatsuo Yamashima’s impressive practice focuses on handling multi-jurisdictional cartel investigations for Japanese clients.

At YABUKI LAW OFFICES, Kimitoshi Yabuki is an internationally renowned practitioner who draws high praise from a number of respondents. One interviewee describes him as “a leading lawyer and strategist”.

Shiro Shida at his own firm, SHIRO SHIDA LAW OFFICES, is a key name in the Japanese market who is “very well known” for handling a wide array of domestic matters. 

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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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