Japan: Arbitration 2018

In this chapter we highlight 23 outstanding practitioners for their superb work acting as counsel and arbitrator in a wide range of disputes.

Most Highly Regarded
1. Hiroyuki Tezuka Nishimura & Asahi, Tokyo
2. Christopher Hunt Herbert Smith Freehills GJBJ, Tokyo
3. Yoshimasa Furuta Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Tokyo

International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills stands out as the leading firm in the Japanese market and sees five individuals recognised for their top-tier work in international arbitration.
Christopher Hunt* is “a talented guy in the arbitration world”, according to sources who applaud his “devotion to his cases”. He is widely recommended for his “experience and knowledge of international arbitration with a Japanese element”.
David Gilmore* is “a central figure in the arbitration space” according to peers, who effuse: “He should be at the top of the list.” He boasts extensive experience representing Japanese and international companies in a wide array of complex proceedings.
Emma Kratochvilova* leads the firm’s construction group in Tokyo and comes highly recommended for her expertise in the sector. She regularly acts as counsel for high-profile Japanese and international companies in complex construction arbitrations.
Ben Jolley* is “a go-to arbitration lawyer in the Japanese market” according to international sources, who appreciate his “strategic advice” and “dedication to resolving complicated issues” for his clients.
Elaine Wong* is boasts a well-developed international arbitration practice and stands out for her excellent work representing clients across a range of industries including energy, infrastructure and construction.

Big Four law firm Nishimura & Asahi is widely recognised as “a leading law firm for international arbitration”. This year sees four impressive individuals highlighted for their expertise.
Hiroyuki Tezuka is “the most significant arbitration lawyer in Japan” say sources, who recognise him as “a very knowledgeable, confident and dependable practitioner”. He is “very well known in the industry”, ranking as one of the most highly regarded practitioners in our research.
Sources warmly endorse Akihiro Hironaka for his “strategic mind” and strong expertise in the field. He boasts “a superb market reputation” as a dispute resolution specialist, notably when it comes to handling large-scale international arbitrations both in Japan and abroad.
Yutaro Kawabata is internationally regarded as “an amazing lawyer” who represents clients from a wide range of industry sectors. Sources “cannot recommend him enough”, describing him as “very knowledgeable for both international arbitration and domestic litigation”.
Lars Markert* is “very talented acting as both counsel and arbitrator in all aspects”, effuses one impressed interviewee. He is “very well regarded by his peers” thanks to his “strong knowledge of arbitration procedures and tactics”.

Fellow Big Four firm Anderson Mori & Tomotsune also impresses with two listings this year.
Yoshimasa Furuta is “definitely a leader in the field” say sources, who are quick to highlight his prominence acting as both as counsel and arbitrator. He is very “well known and well regarded” by both clients and peers, who highlight his long-standing experience.
The “very talented” Aoi Inoue is described as “an up-and-coming practitioner in the Japanese market” by respondents, who commend his growing reputation in the international arbitration arena.

Sources call Yoshimi Ohara of Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu “one of the top people in the market for arbitration matters”. She is internationally recognised for her “excellent” track record acting as counsel in international arbitral proceedings.
Naoki Iguchi stands out as “a specialist in construction arbitration”, according to sources who praise his extensive international arbitration experience.

Junya Naito at Momo-o Matsuo & Namba is “a very well-respected practitioner and arbitrator” who is widely recognised for his “practical and commercial” approach. He stands out as “a leading light in the field”.

The “excellent” Yoshihiro Takatori at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe/Orrick Tokyo Law Offices is “well respected” for his “leading” dispute resolution practice, and draws praise for his strength in acting in arbitral proceedings relating to intellectual property and product liability.

Christopher Bailey* at King & Spalding Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho is “an experienced lawyer” who garners recognition for his “keen insight into how the Japanese culture works”. He is a well-known name in the market thanks to his extensive experience representing clients from a range of industries in complex cross-border disputes.

Sources are “always impressed” with the way Junichi Tobimatsu at Tobimatsu Law handles international arbitration matters, calling him “a leader in the field”. He garners praise for his “user-friendly, bright and positive attitude” when dealing with clients.


* foreign-qualified lawyer

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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.

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