The Japanese sports legal market is relatively small in comparison to other developed markets, and there is little in the way of established statutory sports law. However, there is significant movement in this area of late due to a surge in popularity on a cultural level of football and baseball, as well as the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games. Lawyers are optimistic that the field will expand within the next decade. At present, we recognise three outstanding lawyers.
Negotiations are still ongoing regarding an EU–Japan free trade agreement. One of the primary concerns of European companies is the non-tariff barriers that are encountered on arrival in Japan. It is hoped that these negotiations will conclude in an agreement which will further open the Japanese public procurement market, particularly in the railway and urban transport sector. In this chapter we single out the 16 most highly regarded practitioners in this field.
Project finance lawyers have seen an uptick in work over the past year as Japanese banks target renewable energy and infrastructure projects in the jurisdiction. Practitioners have been busy advising lenders and innovative foreign companies as the country looks to expand its generation capacity from sources such as solar and wind. As Japanese banks begin to reassert themselves as the world’s biggest creditors, lawyers will be in high demand for their domestic and cross-border expertise. We recognise 14 “exceptional” practitioners in this section.
The country’s first product liability law was enacted 20 years ago, and since then the number of lawsuits filed in this sector has steadily increased. The area is predicted to grow even more following the approval of a bill for the introduction of a class action procedure last year. In this section we single out a quartet of individuals who are considered experts.
Japan has experienced impressive economic growth over the past year and the country is increasingly seen as an appealing investment destination, with general partners and sponsors looking to seize opportunities in the region. A key development is the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund’s intention to expand its portfolio with an increased focus on private equity, and Japanese private fund lawyers need to make sure that their advice to key domestic and international players addresses both the benefits and risks of investment in the region. We recognise nine individuals for their “superb ability” in the field.
With the growing mobility of wealthy individuals and families and the global focus on tax avoidance, private client law is emerging as an increasingly important field. In this edition we single out three practitioners who are considered leaders in this area of law.
It has been an active year for patent lawyers and attorneys in Japan. On 11 March 2014 the cabinet approved the Bill for the Act on the Partial Revision of the Patent Act, which aims to establish a more user-friendly IP system for applicants and harmonise Japan’s laws with other patent systems worldwide. The Japan Patent Office is also aiming to shorten by half the examination period required for granting patent rights. In this dynamic sector we recognise 22 leading experts.
In the wake of the Japanese earthquake and the resulting nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan has turned its attention towards exploring alternative energy sources. For a resource-poor country like Japan, overseas investment is crucial. As such, Japanese mining companies and trading houses have been procuring resources overseas to develop Japan’s processing industries. A key focus has been coal and natural gas resources to increase supplies for thermal power plants. Three lawyers are recommended for their work in this sector.
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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.