Sidley Austin Nishikawa Foreign Law Joint Enterprise serves as the base for Sidley’s practice in Japan. The office, located in the Marunouchi Building in the center of Tokyo, features a team of bengoshi—Japanese law qualified lawyers—including some of who are also U.S.-qualified, as well as a China-qualified foreign law registered lawyer. The team, which is well-versed in cross-border transactions, stands apart for its significant regulatory capabilities. We also advise clients in matters involving Japanese law, and help them navigate the complex Japanese regulatory regimes.
Our lawyers assist a variety of clients worldwide, including financial institutions, securities and insurance companies, investment funds, technology, media and telecommunication companies, life sciences, food and beverage companies and airlines. Our China-qualified lawyer, who is also fluent in Japanese and Mandarin, possesses a broad network in China. His skills enable us to advise clients conducting business with companies there.
We focus on numerous areas of law, including:
- Antitrust/competition—Working seamlessly with the firm’s global antitrust practice, we advise clients worldwide on the full range of civil and criminal antitrust matters, from day-to-day counseling on business practices to antitrust challenges.
- Capital markets/securities—Our lawyers represent issuers and underwriters on equity and debt capital raisings, including public and private equity and debt financings, secured financings and distressed debt trading.
- Compliance/corporate governance—We advise on the laws and regulations our clients confront in the course of daily business, providing guidance on the establishment and investigation of systems required for realizing compliance/corporate governance.
- Energy—Sidley Austin Nishikawa’s lawyers have an active practice focused on energy, in particular on renewable energy, and possess a deep understanding of Japan’s “Act on Special Measures Concerning Renewable Electric Energy.”
- Finance/insurance—Our office provides an array of services in the areas of corporate finance, real estate finance, REITs, structured finance, leasing, banking and securitization. We also assist clients in drafting, negotiating and executing related contracts.
- Funds—We guide clients in the formation, disclosure and distribution of funds, including investment trusts and investment corporations, as well as provide advice regarding relevant asset management services. Our team also handles investments in hedge funds, fund-of-funds, commodity funds, venture capital funds and private equity funds.
- Global strategic advice/government strategies—Drawing on our understanding of Japan’s complex regulatory and administrative systems, we help multinational and domestic companies operating in Japan navigate the country’s legal hurdles.
- Intellectual property—We assist clients with: the laws pertaining to copyrights, trademarks and patents; drafting and negotiation of licensing and transaction agreements; and intellectual property disputes.
- International trade—Our team advises Japanese companies and the Japanese government on a wide variety of trade matters, including those involving cross-border disputes, tariffs, customs, duties and the World Trade Organization.
- Labor—We advise on the many labor issues arising when foreign companies expand or withdraw their businesses into or from Japan, for example, in the establishment or closing of a branch or subsidiary. Clients also come to us for guidance on establishing employment rules and internal regulations, and on executing labor-management agreements.
- Life sciences—The Tokyo office counsels clients on the full array of issues, including challenges Japanese manufacturers face throughout the life cycle of their products. We arbitrate on their behalf; defend them in criminal and civil government enforcement actions; assist on strategic transactions; and represent their interests in legislative and key regulatory agencies.
- Litigation—We cover a broad array of disputes/matters, including civil and commercial disputes between corporations, labor disputes, disputes relating to the Anti-Monopoly Act/intellectual properties/finance, cross-border disputes and white collar crime-related matters.
- M&A/corporate—In collaboration with the firm’s global offices, we advise clients from a variety of industries in the structure, negotiation and documentation of complex business transactions. These include M&A, financing, joint ventures, partnering and restructuring.
- Privacy, data protection and information law—Our team in Tokyo focuses on: privacy, data protection, information security, internet and computer law, e-commerce, consumer protection, competitive intelligence and trade secrets, information management, and responding to cybercrimes and network intrusions. We also handle litigation, compliance and regulatory counseling and internal investigations, international data transfers, legislative and policy developments, and workplace privacy.
- Regulatory—In collaboration with the firm’s offices in the U.S., we have been involved in numerous high-profile cross-border regulatory matters. Such sophisticated matters require us to navigate the geographical boundaries, as well as the inherent differences in language, legal systems and business practices.
- Tax—We assist clients with tax-related issues in structured finance, offshore finance, asset-backed securities, securitization, CDOs, private equity investment and M&A transactions.
Sidley Austin Nishikawa is led by managing partner Mr. Tomoo Nishikawa, a former government policymaker who was actively involved in matters at the central government and at the Diet as a member of the House of Representatives. The office’s bengoshi, all of whom have international experience, include a former judge and former bankers. Mr. Zhao Xueyan, our China-qualified lawyer, has practiced Chinese law for more than a decade on behalf of Japanese companies and public agencies. He continues to serve as a counsel to certain Japanese public agencies in China.
Recognition for the Tokyo office
Strong leadership in advising clients has earned Sidley Austin Nishikawa acknowledgment in numerous industry publications. This includes being recognized by FinanceAsia in 2015 for the office’s role in Suntory Holdings’ $16 billion acquisition of Beam Inc., which the publication named “Deal of the Year” in its Japan Achievement Awards. The deal, which FinanceAsia editors called “too big and too important to ignore,” is the second largest Japanese buyout of an American corporation. The American Lawyer also recognized the deal, which won “Global M&A Deal of the Year: Japan Outbound” in the publication’s second annual Global Legal Awards in 2014.
The office was also recognized in Asian-MENA Counsel’s “In-House Community Firms of the Year 2014” as a joint winner for Employment and Litigation & Dispute Resolution in Japan.
Sidley Austin Nishikawa also received an honorable mention in the category of “Alternative Investment Funds, Japan.” Members of our team have been recognized as leading practitioners by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Best Lawyers in Japan and Who’s Who Legal, among other publications.