Nippon Steel Corporation - Acquisition of United States Steel Corporation
Leading Japanese law firm Nishimura & Asahi has been advising Nippon Steel Corporation [TSE: 5401], a major Japan-based global steelmaker, on regulatory approvals including merger control in relation to its acquisition of United States Steel Corporation [NYSE: X], a leading steel producer in the US, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Nippon Steel North America, Inc.
The Nishimura & Asahi team advising Nippon Steel has been led by partners Kozo Kawai, Madoka Shimada, Kojiro Fujii and Masahiro Heike.
Kozo’s anti-trust/competition practice covers every area of the practice, i.e., violation cases such as cartel and unilateral conduct, merger regulations, and compliance to prevent violations of Japanese and foreign competition laws. Kozo continues to be recognized by international law journals as one of the top practitioners in Japan in the area of competition law. He has handled large scale international cartel cases and has contributed to the realization of prominent merger regulations. In the area of international trade law, Kozo is widely recognized as a pioneer of trade law practice in Japan and has advised both the private sector and governmental agencies. He has been involved in most of the trade remedy investigations, such as those for the imposition of anti-dumping duties and subsidy countervailing duties as counsel to Japanese and foreign clients, and in some overseas trade remedy investigations to defend Japanese clients. In addition, Kozo’s practice covers international disputes, corporate crisis management, and regulatory investigations.
Madoka advises clients on various matters of competition law, including domestic and international cartels, bid-rigging, M&A transactions, investigations by the JFTC, leniency applications and general antitrust law compliance. She is especially active in cross-border transactions. She has represented clients in connection with investigations into various global cartels, involving air cargo, marine hoses, TFT-LCDs, airlines, and bearings, and also in various merger-control cases, including a vertical integration between semiconductor equipment manufacturers, and major global merger transactions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. She has particular strength and experience handling IT-industry mega deals. Madoka is also active in advising in the international trade area, in particular, government procurement and export control. In addition, she advises on laws preventing unfair competition, including trade secret cases. She served as lead counsel to Nippon Steel Corporation in multinational trade secret litigation against POSCO (a South Korean steel company), a landmark case in this area, and successfully negotiated a favorable settlement for her client. She was a member of the Subcommittee on Unfair Trade Policies and Measures of the Industrial Structure Council at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry from 2013 to 2023.
With regard to competition laws, he advises clients on various matters of competition law for both domestic and international cases. He has represented clients with many important international cartel cases, including auto-parts, TFT-LCD, air cargo and high voltage power cables. He also handled significant merger cases in various industries, such as nuclear, security exchanges, local banks, steel and metals, food and agriculture, airlines, paper and natural resources. His practice also covers private monopolization, unilateral conduct and unfair trade practices, including vertical restraints and abuse of superior bargaining position, including platform business and internet industries. He also has been very active in the field of international trade matters. He is one of few lawyers in Japan who acted on behalf of various industries with regard to anti-dumping (AD) and counter-vailing duties (CVD) in Japan and overseas. While he served as deputy director of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, he handled several important WTO disputes on behalf of Japanese government. He continues to advice both public and private sectors with regard to various sorts of trade law matters associated with WTO, investment treaties and Regional Trade Agreements. His trade expertise also covers export controls, investment screenings, economic sanctions and customs matters.
Masahiro Heike specializes in international trade law. From 2016 to 2018, he worked at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as an in-government lawyer, and handled numerous WTO disputes and trade negotiations and was responsible for the trade policies of other jurisdictions including the United States and China. Currently, he is involved in a wide range of matters including WTO dispute settlement cases, domestic and foreign trade remedy cases (anti-dumping, safeguards), government research related to international trade law, and the handling of tariffs and origin relations.