With revised Japanese patent, utility model, design and trademark laws coming into effect in April, lawyers have seen a busy start to the year. As new types of mark are now protected, including colours and sounds, the new system promises to provide practitioners with ample work in the coming months. We recognise 16 individuals in this chapter.
The Japanese government has been increasingly proactive towards trade agreements in recent years as it attempts to revive the economy. In a key example, the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership, which entered into force on 15 January 2015, provides valuable preferential access for Australian exports and also supports further growth via two-way investment. As the country continues to build stronger trade relationships with other jurisdictions, Japanese trade and customs lawyers expect to be busier than ever. Our research highlights eight leading individuals.
The Japanese telecoms, media and technology sector continues to be one of the market’s largest growth areas. Heavy government regulation of the telecommunications industry continues, promoting healthy competition between service providers and driving revenue and profitability of the mobile industry. Nine leading lights are featured in this chapter.
The impact of sports law on the Japanese legal market has been rising in line with the growing internationalisation of sports, increasing regulation by both public and private sports organisations and a number of high-profile scandals in recent years. As a result, lawyers expect to see greater sophistication of laws in this sector, and the eventual creation of a more distinct form of sports regulation in Japan. Three lawyers are selected for inclusion this year.
Project finance is continuing to see increased activity. The Sendai Airport project and the Kansai and Osaka International Airports project are currently under bidding processes and will be landmark project financing transactions in Japan if closed. In addition, the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 will necessitate the financing of substantial infrastructure projects, as will the development and construction of casinos and other facilities for the government’s planned “integrated resort”. Against this backdrop, our research has identified 14 practitioners who are “outstanding” for their work in project finance.
An act for consumer collective actions was promulgated in 2013 and is due to be enforced within the next year, and with it the exposure to risk under the government’s new “two-stage action” system will be heightened. Consequently, the need for good counsel is likely to increase as the new act takes effect. We have listed four of the country’s leading experts.
The private equity market is showing continued signs of revival under the Abe administration implementation of “Abenomics”. A diverse pool of SMEs is a particularly appealing target for investors. Indeed, investments under ¥30 billion are said to comprise a significant part of the market. Respondents report that on the whole the outlook is promising as Japan strives to become a competitive funds market. This year, we have listed seven leading practitioners in this space.
Japan’s complex and unique inheritance and estate tax laws require specialised counsel, especially as the number of inheritance cases involving non-Japanese nationals is also increasing. We have listed two experts in the field.
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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.