Yoshio Shimoda has been practising Japanese Immigration Law since 1994. He has established himself as the most reliable immigration lawyer here in Japan. He is recognised by the international business community as the “go-to guy” for all of their immigration needs. His client list includes major international firms operating in the country, including banking, automotive, IT, oil and pharmaceutical firms. He joined the IBA in 2003 as the first Japanese immigration lawyer to take a seat on the committee. He is a regular speaker at IBA and AILA conferences.
Describe your career to date.
I was registered as an administrative lawyer and began practising immigration law in 1994, and founded ILS Shimoda Office, an immigration law firm focusing on corporate immigration. ILS Shimoda Office has handled more than 50,000 cases of corporate and personal immigration cases in Japan. The firm represents many of the world’s largest multinational companies in a wide variety of industries, and is recognised as one of the most experienced firms for corporate immigration in Japan. In 2013, I became chairman of the firm and founded my own boutique law office, Immigration Lawyer Shimoda Office, to provide more concentrated and personalised legal services to the world’s top leaders and executives.
What motivated you to specialise in immigration law?
My parents were both born abroad, and I lived in Washington state for nearly six years. I have my own experience of being a foreigner, and realise the complications and importance of immigration laws. When I back to Japan in 1990, I realised there were so many foreigners in Japan seeking professional and reliable immigration legal support.
How has the market changed since you first started practising?
The market for immigration legal services in Japan has consistently expanded.
Why did you decide to set up your own firm?
In 1994, there were no law firms in Japan that seemed to focus on corporate immigration, or to facilitate this with language/IT management capabilities, in my view. That’s why I established my firm: to meet the needs of international corporate clients.
How does Immigration Lawyer Shimoda Office distinguish itself from the competition?
Knowledge, experience, and reliability.
How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
I aim to provide more concentrated and personalised immigration legal solutions to the world’s top executives.
Looking back over your career, what has been your proudest achievement?
While representing the world’s largest banks before the immigration bureau, my approach and suggestions gave significant influence in changing and updating Japanese immigration practice – especially rules related to business-manager and intra-company-transferee status.
What advice would you give to younger immigration practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
I would advise them to be aware of how vital their practice is for their clients.
Yoshio Shimoda is often called upon to deploy his broad experience of Japanese immigration on behalf of a wide-ranging clientele.
Mr Yoshio Shimoda began practising as a licensed immigration lawyer in 1994.
He is the founder of ILS Shimoda Office. The firm, which specialises in the immigration law of Japan, has handled over 50,000 cases of corporate and personal immigration-related applications in Japan since its establishment in 1997. ILS Shimoda Office represents many of the world's largest multinational companies in a wide variety of industries, including banking, software and IT, pharmaceuticals, automotive and manufacturing, among others, and is recognised as one of the most experienced firms for corporate immigration in Japan.
Mr Shimoda joined the International Bar Association in 2003 as the first Japanese immigration lawyer to be granted a seat on the immigration and nationality law committee. He has been a regular speaker since 2002 at international conferences including the IBA and AILA.
He is currently practising immigration law at his personal law office, Immigration Lawyer Shimoda Office, to provide a more concentrated and personalised legal service to the clients of world’s top leaders and executives.