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  • Competition Law / Antitrust Law and other relevant laws

Competition Law / Antitrust Law

We have provided in-depth and detailed support to a multitude of domestic and overseas antitrust/competition cases, utilizing our abundant experience, including many significant recent merger cases, cartel cases, unilateral conduct cases, and platform regulation cases.

In recent years, the regulations and enforcement of antitrust law / competition law have strengthened worldwide. In order to respond to this trend, our firm has proactively filed leniency applications from the outset of the introduction of the system for cartel and bid-rigging investigations, by which we gained a great deal of experience. We have supported foreign companies as well as Japanese companies when they face cartel investigations by competition agencies of Japan and western and emerging countries, in cooperation with leading foreign law firms for global cartel cases.

In addition, we have extensive experience dealing specifically with M&A cases involving the possible serious competition issues. Our strength is our ability to offer strategic advice on merger review based on such experience, as well as our deep understanding of relevant industries and our clients’ businesses. We have been involved in most major merger cases in Japan, including many high profile cross-border and offshore M&A cases, as a result of our selection as local counsel to handle merger filings in Japan, and supported the smooth implementation of numerous large-scale merger/integration cases. Also, we regularly support global merger filings, including those by overseas authorities, in collaboration with leading foreign law firms.

In relation to unilateral conduct cases such as private monopolization and unfair trade practices, including abuse of a superior bargaining position, where business models of companies are directly challenged, we have considerable experience in negotiations with the competition agency, defending companies in administrative hearing procedures and supporting companies in civil litigations. Further, in the area of platform regulations, which has been attracting attention these days, we have accumulated experience in advising on, among others, monitoring and recommendations on the regulation and operation by the authorities, in addition to responding to enforcement actions by the authorities.

Recent Work

Awards & Rankings

  • Kozo Kawai has long been called upon for his sector-leading knowledge of non-contentious and contentious antitrust issues, including those relating to M&A transactions, cartels and unilateral behaviour. "Mr Kawai is the doyen of the competition Bar, with an incredible amount of knowledge and experience in the field. He is a true force to be reckoned with whom you want to have on your side," says one client. Madoka Shimada has a strong track record advising on merger filings and antitrust-related issues. One client reports: "She is a very diligent lawyer. She's across all aspects of competition law and handles domestic and international merger control mandates." A further source says: "Ms Shimada is a very knowledgeable, hands-on competition lawyer who can turn around matters which others have given up on."

    Chambers, Competition/Antitrust (Asia-Pacific 2022)
  • Kozo Kawai leads the competition team at NISHIMURA & ASAHI, which includes five other partners, two counsel and 45 associates. The firm is working on an active docket of behavioural matters in industries such as construction and pharmaceuticals, although details of this work are confidential. On the merger side, the team advised NAVER on the integration of its subsidiary LINE with Z Holdings, which is Japan’s largest-ever IT company merger. The group also advised leasing company MUL on its merger with Hitachi Capital Corporation, which was cleared by the JFTC in less than four months without remedies. As well as handling the Japanese portion of the deal, Nishimura & Asahi also acted as lead counsel coordinating merger filings in the US, the EU, Turkey and Indonesia. In another successful global effort, the team advised Honda on its plans to merge several auto parts companies into one aggregated supplier with Hitachi. The firm secured clearance for that deal without conditions in Japan and multiple other countries across Asia, Europe and Latin America. Additionally, the firm helped KKR and Rakuten obtain Phase I clearance without remedies for their acquisition of shares in Japanese supermarket group Seiyu from Walmart.

    GCR 100 2022 Edition

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