Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law
Kenji Ito
Office:
Marunouchi Park Building
2-6-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
100-8222
City:
Tokyo
Country:
Japan
Tel:
+81 3 6266 8515
Fax:
+81 3 6266 8415

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Competition: Lawyers

Kenji Ito is a partner at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto in Tokyo. He served as an official at the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), where he was engaged in a number of high-profile antitrust cases. He has extensive experience in dealing with merger clearances, defending antitrust investigations, litigating civil cases and managing various types of business alliances and transactions. Legal publications have recognised him as one of the top competition lawyers in Japan.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

I have been involved in a number of high-profile cases during my career as a JFTC official and a private attorney. I have addressed a wide range of competition matters in different industries including technology, media, e-commerce, telecoms, finance, transportation, energy, natural resources, pharmaceutical, electronics, chemicals, automotive, food, consumer products, wholesale and retail.

WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE MATTER THAN YOU HAVE WORKED ON?

It is hard to pick one because I have had a lot of memorable/high-profile matters during my career. However, as a recent example, we successfully obtained clearance with conditions for transactions in the oil industry where two mega-mergers simultaneously proceeded, raising a number of complex and difficult competition law issues.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO FOCUS YOUR PRACTICE ON COMPETITION AND ANTITRUST LAW?

Competition law is exciting and intellectual. I learned a lot about various industries and the dynamics of business competition. I was honoured to be able
to assist our clients in making important and difficult decisions and helping them achieve their business goals.

WHAT IS THE MAIN CHALLENGE FACING PRACTITIONERS TODAY?

Business activities are constantly evolving and continually giving rise to new legal issues. Practitioners are required to keep up with that pace and advise clients in a timely manner, which is sometimes tough but interesting.

THE VOLUME OF COMPETITION LITIGATION IS REPORTEDLY INCREASING. IS THIS AFFECTING YOUR PRACTICE?

When analysing the magnitude of antitrust risks, we now need to take litigation risks more into account. Our antitrust team and I are experienced in handling complex antitrust litigation and our firm has one of the strongest litigation teams in Japan, which enables us to achieve the best results for our clients.

THE APPROACH OF THE JAPAN FAIR TRADE COMMISSION IS BECOMING MORE AGGRESSIVE IN TERMS OF INVESTIGATING CARTELS. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PRACTITIONERS IN THE FIELD?

As practitioners, we are required to alert clients to aggressive enforcement by the authority, to cautiously consider the best way to protect their interests and to properly support them to make a good decision.

WHAT MAKES YOUR PRACTICE STAND OUT COMPARED TO THE COMPETITION?

I deeply explore the dynamics and reality of business competition based on a full understanding of relevant legal and economic theories. Through this work, I am able to provide to our clients more practical and well-thought-through advice, and obtain the best results even in cases that appear to be very complex.

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU ANTICIPATE THE COMPETITION LEGAL MARKET IN JAPAN DEVELOPING IN THE FUTURE?

Competition practice will require deeper understanding and analysis of the realities of business. This will create more legal work and require “real” experts in this field.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Competition: Lawyers

Kenji Ito is a partner at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, based in Tokyo, Japan, and primarily practises in the area of antitrust and competition law. He served as an official at the Japan Fair Trade Commission, the competition authority in Japan, where he was engaged in a number of high-profile antitrust cases. He has extensive experience in gaining merger clearance for cross-border transactions, defending cartel investigations, litigating civil antitrust cases, and managing complex international competition matters including distribution, licensing, joint ventures, and various types of business alliances. He has addressed a wide range of competition matters in various industries including technology, media, e-commerce, telecoms, finance, transportation, energy, natural resources, pharmaceutical, electronics, chemicals, automotive, food, consumer products, wholesale and retail. Legal publications such as GCR, Who’s Who Legal, Chambers and Best Lawyers recognise him as one of the leading lawyers in Japan. He has been appointed as a non-governmental adviser to the International Competition Network. He frequently writes and speaks on competition law matters for various publications and at international conferences.

Kenji Ito is a graduate of Kyoto University (LLB, 1995) and Georgetown University (LLM, 2002). He is admitted to the Bar in both Japan and New York.

WWL says: Kenji Ito is "a key figure in the competition practice" and is recognised for his distinguished work with the Japan Fair Trade Commission.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Competition which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Japan - Competition

Kenji Ito is a partner at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, based in Tokyo, Japan, and primarily practises in the area of antitrust and competition law.  He served as an official at the Japan Fair Trade Commission, the competition authority in Japan, where he was engaged in a number of high-profile antitrust cases.  He has extensive experience in gaining merger clearance for cross-border transactions, defending cartel investigations, litigating civil antitrust cases, and managing complex international competition matters including distribution, licensing, joint ventures, and various types of business alliances.  He has addressed a wide range of competition matters in various industries including technology, media, e-commerce, telecoms, finance, transportation, energy, natural resources, pharmaceutical, electronics, chemicals, automotive, food, consumer products, wholesale and retail.  Legal publications such as GCR, Who’s Who Legal, Chambers, Best Lawyers recognize him as one of the leading lawyers in Japan.  He has been appointed as a Non-Governmental Advisor to the International Competition Network.  He frequently writes and speaks on competition law matters for various publications and at international conferences.

Kenji Ito is a graduate of Kyoto University (LLB, 1995) and Georgetown University (LLM, 2002).  He is admitted to the Bar in both Japan and New York. 

WWL says: Kenji Ito is one of the most highly regarded practitioners in the Japanese market and is described by peers as “a top name”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Japan which can be purchased from our Shop.

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