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Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi is Japan’s largest firm by number of attorneys, with around 500 lawyers including 112 partners, foreign lawyers, and other professionals working across Japan and South East Asia. They provide a full range of legal services both domestically and internationally and are adept at assisting on large, complex transactions. A wide-spread strengthening of cross-border practices in the region has seen the firm open offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Singapore and Yangon in recent times.

The firm is highly regarded for its abilities in M&A, where it covers the entire process from planning, advisory and due diligence to full implementation, and its lawyers have acted for some of the world’s largest banks and corporations. Masakazu Iwakura is “pre-eminent” in the field, having negotiated numerous large-scale transactions. He is also highly regarded for his expertise in tax and insurance litigation. Koichi Kusano provides “a huge depth of experience” on M&A transactions and offers “tailored solutions for his clients” both domestic and international. His major engagements include a successful acquisition relating to the Japanese oil refining arm of a multinational company. Yo Ota is experienced in numerous aspects of M&A transactions, including strategic partnerships, business integrations and takeover bids. Stephen D Bohrer* demonstrates “great expertise” advising Japanese clients on their cross-border corporate transactions.

Capital markets sees Nishimura & Asahi offer another stellar practice. Yasutaka Nishikori is well respected for his “strategic outlook in advising and negotiations”, and has advised some of the world’s largest banks on demutualisation and sale and restructuring. Kohei Koikawa is a senior figure handling high-profile IPOs, securitisation and structured finance. Hajime Ueno has a brilliant mind for handling highly complex structured finance mandates.  

The firm also offers a comprehensive service in the competition sphere, acting on high-profile merger control and behavioural issues. Its involvement in one of the year’s most significant deals – Tokyo Electron’s proposed merger with Applied Materials – is testament to its status. Kozo Kawai is recommended in our competition chapter for his position as a “longstanding leader in in the market, who spearheads the firm’s excellent reputation in the market. Kojiro Fujii is a young but highly regarded partner, acting on some of the firm’s highest-profile international cartel cases and merger control matters.

The real estate team is recognised for acting on large development and redevelopment projects. Hideaki Ozawa advises on sales and purchase agreements, investment, lease and management of some of the biggest real estate projects in Japan. Norio Maeda offers “unique perspectives on the real estate market” and is highly regarded for developing innovative investment and project financing structures.

With further listings in banking, private funds, litigation, transport, IP and project finance, Nishimura & Asahi demonstrates its strong standing as one of Japan’s foremost full service law firms, boasting some of the top legal minds in the country.


* = foreign-qualified lawyer

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W11 1QQ, UK