Akihiro Hironaka has a remarkable ability for navigating expansive and complex proceedings with cross-border facets, with experience handling multibillion-dollar claims.
Akihiro Hironaka has been a partner in the dispute resolution group of Nishimura & Asahi, the largest law firm in Japan, since 2007. He has extensive experience dealing with various large-scale and complex dispute resolution matters, both cross-border and domestic. For example, he succeeded in defending a Japanese trading company against six large vicarious liability lawsuits in Japan, with total claims of ¥48.3 billion filed by claimants including an affiliate of a US-headquartered investment bank, and a US hedge fund. He also represented Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance in contesting a tax assessment concerning complex cross-border reinsurance transactions related to the transfer of earthquake-related risks; he successfully recovered ¥6.7 billion for his client. He also succeeded in recovering ¥8 billion on behalf of Sumitomo Trust & Banking Corporation, in an action challenging a tax assessment related to cross-border securities repurchase transactions.
Mr Hironaka has also represented and advised major Japanese and international corporations, and has achieved significant results in large-scale international arbitrations, including emergency arbitration proceedings, both within Japan and abroad, under the rules of ICC, SIAC, AAA-ICDR and JCAA. He handles complex, large-scale product liability and other contractual disputes for clients in the pharmaceutical and automotive industries, among others, and cross-border disputes concerning M&A transactions, reinsurance claims and construction disputes regarding delays at foreign construction sites in various Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries.
His additional experience includes advising clients on US discovery proceedings, Japanese judicial assistance for foreign court proceedings, Japanese legal issues relating to foreign court proceedings and arbitrations, and US civil actions, including class action suits.
Mr Hironaka is a graduate of the University of Tokyo (LLB, 1993) and Harvard Law School (LLM, 2003), and is admitted to the bars of Japan and New York. He served as a Japanese district court judge from 1998 until 2000. Additionally, he has authored books, chapters and articles in the areas of litigation, product liability, international arbitration, and tax controversy. His publications include a contribution to Civil Procedure in Japan (edited by Yasuhei Taniguchi et al), published by Juris; the Japan chapters of The Product Regulation and Liability Review (co-author) and GAR Know-How: Litigation both published by Law Business Research; and “Exploring Practicality: Using Japanese Courtrooms for Evidence Gathering in International Arbitration” in Dispute Resolution International (volume 9, no. 2). He is also the co-author of the books International Arbitration and Corporate Strategy and Frontlines of International Tax Litigation, both published by Yuhikaku.
The 2015 edition of WWL: Japan described him as an “experienced litigator who ‘is one of the first names that come to mind for high-stake lawsuits’,” and the 2016 edition called him an “internationally renowned and universally respected lawyer”. Asian Legal Business named him “one of the firm’s many ‘go-to’ partners to perform strongly”.
In 2015 and 2016, Mr Hironaka was named Disputes Star of the Year at the the Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards. He has been named a tax controversy leader in Japan by the International Tax Review, from its first edition up to the most recent eighth edition. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.