Shionogi & Co., Ltd. - Rescission of tax reassessments (Tokyo High Court)
Leading Japanese law firm Nishimura & Asahi represented Japanese pharmaceutical company, Shionogi & Co., Ltd. (“Shionogi”) [TSE: 4507], regarding its lawsuit seeking rescission of tax assessments by the Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau on Shionogi’s in-kind contribution of a foreign limited partnership interest into its UK-based subsidiary, Shionogi Ltd. The matter was decided in Shionogi’s favor before the Tokyo High Court on April 14 2021, following the Tokyo District Court's decision in 2020. The Government has decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Mr. Ota has a breadth of practical international and domestic legal experience, focusing on the areas of hostile takeovers, shareholder activism, M&A transactions (including cross-border deals), corporate governance and other corporate matters, domestic / international Tax, personal information / data protection, and works on a wide range of corporate legal affairs. He was selected as the NIKKEI "Most Successful Lawyers in 2022" in the corporate law category (1st), the NIKKEI "Most Successful Lawyers in 2021" in the corporate law (excl. M&A) category (2nd), and also the NIKKEI "Most Successful Lawyers in 2020" in the M&A category (1st) and the corporate law category (3rd). In addition, he dedicates himself to research and writing activities that bridge academia and practice on cutting-edge issues related to the Companies Act, the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, tax law, the Act on the Protection of Personal Information, etc. He has edited and authored many books and papers, such as “Schemes and Tax Issues of M&A and Corporate Restructuring, 4th Ed.”, “Corpus Juris M&A - Completely Revised Edition (first volume) (second volume)”, “Handbook on Share Options (Fifth Edition)”, “Corpus Juris Series - Personal Information Protection Legislation (Global)”, “Handbook on Class Shares”, “Nuts and Shell of the 2019 Amendment of the Companies Act and Practical Response”, “Legal Issues and Practices of Virtual Shareholders’ Meeting”, etc.
Akihiro’s experience covers product liability, contractual claims, mass tort claims, and tax disputes, in various industries, in particular in the pharmaceutical and automotive industries. He has also handled disputes arising from M&A transactions, disputes involving construction sites in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and disputes arising from the termination of distribution agreements. He has achieved significant results in international arbitrations, including emergency arbitration proceedings under the rules of the ICC, SIAC, AAA-ICDR, and JCAA. He also advised clients in connection with US civil actions, including class actions, and Japanese judicial assistance for foreign court proceedings.
In one notable case, he successfully defended a Japanese trading company against six large vicarious liability lawsuits, involving claims totaling JPY 48.3 billion, filed by claimants including an affiliate of a US-headquartered investment bank and a US hedge fund. He also recovered JPY 13.3 billion for Shionogi & Co. in an action challenging a tax assessment relating to an in-kind contribution of a partnership interest in a cross-border reorganization for the development of a drug for AIDS. He is currently representing a pharmaceutical company in one of the largest product liability lawsuits in Japan.
He is a graduate of The University of Tokyo (LL.B., 1993) and Harvard Law School (LL.M., 2003), and is licensed to practice law in Japan and New York. He served as a Japanese district court judge from 1998 until 2000, and worked at Arnold & Porter (Washington, D.C.) from 2003 until 2004. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
He is the author of various books and articles in the areas of litigation and international arbitration, including Yasuhei Taniguchi et al. eds., Civil Procedure in Japan (contributor, Juris Publishing). He was awarded the "Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year" at the ALB Japan Law Awards in 2022.
Masaki Noda is a partner at Nishimura & Asahi, practicing corporate and M&A including mergers, acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, capital and business alliances, joint ventures, and going-private transaction by PE funds.
Among various types of M&A transactions, Masaki Noda has been advising on many complicated and sophisticated deals requiring structuring of various aspects, such as taxes and outbound and inbound cross-border transactions. Some major transactions he has advised on as lead counsel are the defense of Nippon Paint against a hostile acquisition attempt by Wuthelam Holdings in Singapore; the acquisition of equity interests in Post Advisory in the US by Nippon Life; Rakuten’s purchase of shares in Taiwan Rakuten from Presidential Group in Taiwan; the acquisition of shares in GA Telesis by Century Tokyo Leasing; Nippon Paint’s issuance of shares to Wuthelam Holdings in Singapore and purchase of equity interests in JVs from Wuthelamm Holdings in eight jurisdictions (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Bangladesh); Rakuten’s alliance with AirAsia and formation of a joint venture in Japan (i.e., AirAsia Japan); Nippon Life’s purchase of 80% of the shares in MLC Limited specializing in the life insurance business, after carving out the investment business from National Australia Bank and MLC’s 20-year distribution agreement with National Australia Bank; and a merger of equals with equity consideration between a large Japanese listed company and a US listed company.
Tsuyoshi Ito has significant experience in tax counseling and tax controversies and has represented major corporations in numerous tax disputes and tax lawsuits. In March 2021, he won a significant corporate tax dispute that challenged a tax assessment of approximately USD 367 million in taxable income before the Tokyo High Court after a protracted seven-year battle. In August 2014, he won a tax dispute involving securitization transactions of domestic housing loans before the Tokyo High Court. In addition to excellent achievements in major tax disputes, he generally advises on domestic and cross-border taxation issues in various transactions, such as M&A, joint ventures, fund formation and equity/debt investments.
Yuichiro has been the co-head of our Osaka office since its establishment. After studying in the United States and being seconded to the Bank of Japan, he has mainly handled corporate, M&A, cross-border M&A, labor law, and labor dispute matters, and has extensive experience in a variety of other practice areas. In addition, he also regularly consults with his clients in order to ensure that any urgent matters are addressed promptly. His ability to advise on corporate crisis management and M&A matters is enhanced by his close relationships with his clients as well as with other legal professionals.