Tsuyoshi Ikeda
Office:
Marunouchi Park Building
2-6-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
100-8222
City:
Tokyo
Country:
Japan
Tel:
+81 3 6266 8766
Fax:
+81 3 6266 8666

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Competition: Lawyers

Tsuyoshi (Yoshi) Ikeda is an antitrust attorney at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (MHM), Tokyo, and admitted in Japan, New York and California. Prior to joining the firm, Yoshi served as an investigator (staff attorney) at the Investigation Bureau of the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). Yoshi graduated from Kyoto University (LLB, 2002) and the University of California, Berkeley (LLM, 2008). Yoshi has served as an officer of the antitrust committee of the International Bar Association (IBA) since 2017.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

For the first two years of my career, I specialised in IP litigation. I applied for a temporary hiring programme of the JFTC, for I found antitrust an interesting field as a closely related area to intellectual property. At the JFTC, I had valuable opportunities to lead the implementation of its leniency programme and to work on a prominent case involving standard essential patents (SEPs) as an investigator with the IP/IT Taskforce. 

Since joining MHM, I have handled every kind of antitrust/competition case, ranging from large international cartel and second phase multinational merger review cases to day-to-day consultation on distribution and compliance issues.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO SPECIALISE IN ANTITRUST LAW?

Actually, I had no interest in antitrust law as an undergraduate student. I started my career as an IP litigator because I wanted to support innovation. Having worked for the JFTC though, I realised that antitrust lawyers are in a better position to support innovation since antitrust issues arise in various occasions in business, including M&A and distribution, not only in litigation. 

In addition, although there are many people who find antitrust law ambiguous, I have found it fascinating to devise persuasive arguments on antitrust issues. While studying law, I preferred coming up with ideas from scratch, based on basic legal theories, rather than memorising the existing rules.

YOU FOCUS MUCH OF YOUR PRACTICE ON THE REGULATED INDUSTRIES – ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES YOU FACE HANDLING COMPETITION MATTERS IN THOSE AREAS?

It is important to be familiar with not only regulations but also the regulated industry as a whole so that you can communicate smoothly with your client in the field. Regulated industries in Japan often have their own unique business practices. Also, you have to be familiar with a supervising authority of each regulated industry and how it interacts with the JFTC. In Japan, supervising authorities are quite influential on the interpretation of regulations – even compared with court decisions.

HOW HAS YOUR TIME WORKING AT THE JAPAN FAIR TRADE COMMISSION ADDED TO YOUR PRACTICE?

My time at the JFTC is indeed a big plus for my practice. Either in an investigation or merger review case, the JFTC is not necessarily an “adverse party”, but a counterparty with which you often have to seek a mutually agreeable outcome. In this respect, you will have a great advantage if you are well aware of how the JFTC sees your case and its decision-making process. This is especially true in Japan, as most antitrust cases have been decided by the JFTC, not by the courts. I am always trying to develop my personal relationships with the many friends I have made at the JFTC even after my time there.

SOURCES NOTE THAT THE JFTC HAS RECENTLY BECOME MORE AGGRESSIVE IN ITS APPROACH TOWARDS COMPETITION MATTERS; WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE DRIVING FACTORS BEHIND THIS CHANGE?

My observation is that the internationalisation of the Japanese economy, as well as the JFTC, has been the driving factor. In the past, the Japanese economy was guided by government supervisory authorities and had little room for antitrust law to step in. Now that Japanese companies have been exposed to global competition, the JFTC is better suited to handling international economic activities. In addition, the JFTC now pays more attention to the activities of foreign competition authorities than ever. It seems to me that the JFTC is interested in topical issues in other jurisdictions, such as big data, algorithm cartels and practices of global platform companies.

HOW HAS THIS CHANGE IMPACTED UPON THE TYPE OF WORK YOU HAVE BEEN SEEING?

As a natural consequence, nowadays I have been handling a greater diversity of cases in addition to the traditional cartel and merger cases. Inquiries on antitrust issues in complicated online distribution arrangements and the potential uses of artificial intelligence are just a few examples. Private practitioners, including myself, have to keep up with cutting-edge antitrust theories not only in Japan but also elsewhere in the world. It is challenging but, at the same time, extremely rewarding.

HOW DOES MORI HAMADA & MATSUMOTO’S COMPETITION GROUP STAND OUT AGAINST OTHER TEAMS IN JAPAN?

As a firm that started as a strong domestic litigation powerhouse, MHM has developed a broad customer base of Japan-based multinational corporations. As these clients have expanded their businesses internationally, MHM has had greater opportunities to work on international cases. Our competition team often acts as the command centre or “hub” for international cartel and multinational merger review cases, working alongside foreign law firms and building friendly relationships. We are confident in our capacity and experience in handling not only domestic but also international antitrust cases.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO LAWYERS LOOKING TO PURSUE A CAREER IN COMPETITION LAW?

It seems that competition law practice in Japan is getting more competitive, especially with new entrants due to a series of recent large international cartels. To become a successful antitrust practitioner, you must have various capabilities, including language and presentation skills and basic knowledge of economics in addition to a solid understanding of antitrust law in major jurisdictions. I believe, however, that there will be many opportunities in this field in the future. Private antitrust litigation, including follow-on actions, for instance, is still quite uncommon in Japan so it will be exciting and rewarding to uncover latent demand in this field.

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Competition: Lawyers

Tsuyoshi (Yoshi) Ikeda is an antitrust counsel at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto. As a former official of the Investigation Bureau of the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), Yoshi has extensive experience in all aspects of antitrust/competition issues, including cartels, merger filings, and distribution issues in both domestic and international (multi-jurisdictional) arenas. At the JFTC, he engaged in, among others, the implementation of the leniency programme in Japan and a number of dawn raids (on-site inspections).

Yoshi has been representing multinational companies before the JFTC in international cartels and second phase review merger cases. Yoshi also advises on IP-related antitrust issues such as licensing, and cases involving standard-essential patents (SEPs), making the best use of his experience as an investigator in the IP/IT taskforce at the JFTC. He has additional expertise in consumer protection issues, such as false advertising, as well as anti-bribery issues.

He was appointed as an officer of IBA’s antitrust committee in 2017. He frequently serves as a speaker at international conferences, such as the ICN (as a non-governmental adviser (NGA) for the JFTC) and IBA.

Yoshi is a graduate of Kyoto University (LLB, 2002) and University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall) (LLM, 2008). He is admitted in Japan, New York and California. He was a lecturer at Kindai University and is a specially appointed professor at Kanazawa Institute of Technology. His comments have been quoted in the most popular financial newspaper in Japan, the Nikkei, more than 20 times.

WWL says: Tsuyoshi Ikeda is “at the forefront of Japanese legal thinking”, say impressed peers. Sources add that he is “passionate about the law” and note him as “a real expert in cartel and M&A matters and great for dawn raids – a very strong lawyer all-round.”

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

Other Practice Areas:

Follow us on LinkedIn

Practice Areas

Firms

Browse Firms

Search Firms

The Who's Who Legal 100

Awards

News & Features

Special Reports

Events

Shop

About Us

It is not possible to buy entry into any Who's Who Legal publication

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.

Copyright © 2018 Law Business Research Ltd. All rights reserved. | http://www.lbresearch.com

87 Lancaster Road, London, W11 1QQ, UK | Tel: +44 20 7908 1180 / Fax: +44 207 229 6910

http://www.whoswholegal.com | editorial@whoswholegal.com

Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK