Sponsored event: Legal 500 GC Summit Japan 2023
Nishimura & Asahi (Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo) sponsored the third annual GC Summit Japan 2023, to be held on September 28, 2023 and hosted by the Legal 500. Kojiro Fujii, Kazuho Nakajima, Noriko Yodogawa and Yuki Sakurada were panelists in a session entitled “Age of Economic Security – Export Controls, Economic Sanctions and Investment Regulations,” together with Atsushi Oshima, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
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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.
Competition Law / International Trade
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He has extensive experience handling cases involving complex legal issues, such as mergers and acquisitions by a public-private investment fund in the context of a business turnaround, a high-value dispute between a securities company and a stock exchange, adoption of anti-takeover defense measures for the first time in Japan, expansion of foreign businesses into the Middle East involving geopolitical risks, and commercial arbitration involving sizable claims regarding M&A price adjustment clauses. Recently, he been advising on risk assessments for transactions, contract drafting, voluntary self-disclosure to government authorities, responses to enforcement actions by the authorities, and establishment of internal control systems with respect to economic security regulations. In particular, he engages in numerous transactions involving economic sanctions, export controls and other economic security regulations regarding conflicts between the US and China over technology competition and human rights issues in Myanmar, Iran and Russia.
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Noriko advises various types of clients, from the public and private sectors, in the field of international trade law. Noriko’s strength when advising clients is her ability to maintain an overarching view while duly paying attention to details specific to the case and client. These multifaceted perspectives are based on her experience working for and with various stakeholders in the field.
In particular, Noriko worked in the Appellate Body Secretariat within the WTO (World Trade Organization) Secretariat. The WTO agreements provide the fundamental rules for international trade, and the Appellate Body engages in the dispute settlement proceedings between WTO Members regarding those agreements.
Subsequently, Noriko worked as Legal Counsel to the Energy Charter Secretariat. The Energy Charter Secretariat, located in Brussels, is the secretariat of the Energy Charter Treaty, which is a multilateral trade and investment agreement in the field of energy.
In addition, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Noriko actively participated in the negotiations of multiple EPAs (economic partnership agreements – how the Japanese Government describes comprehensive FTAs (free trade agreements)).
Furthermore, Noriko worked as in-house counsel at the largest steelmaking company in Japan, and in particular, participated in anti-dumping and safeguard investigations conducted by foreign authorities, from the perspective of an exporter.
At N&A, Noriko continues to assist clients in anti-dumping and safeguard investigations abroad. She also frequently advises various clients in relation to the WTO agreements (including involvement in WTO dispute settlement proceedings) and EPAs, as well as relevant domestic laws (such as those on export control, rules of origin and customs classifications).
Yuki advises clients at the intersection of business and national security on matters involving foreign investment screening, sanctions, export controls under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act (FEFTA) and other economic security related matters under the Economic Security Promotion Act as well as government relations.
He served as Director for Foreign Direct Investment Issues at the Ministry of Finance of Japan for three years from 2019 to 2022. During his tenure, he was the chief architect and strategist of the amendment of the FEFTA in 2020, where the threshold for prior mandatory notification for the acquisition of listed company shares by foreign investors was lowered from 10% to 1%.
After the enactment of the amendment, he was in charge of reviewing the scope of designated business for the mandatory notification (addition of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment for communicable diseases, and critical mineral resource-related industries), strengthening the operation of screening and post-transaction monitoring, and strengthening cooperation in investment screening with relevant authorities of like-minded countries, including CFIUS of the U.S. He was also engaged in the planning and drafting of the revision of the FEFTA in 2022 (related to crypto assets) and the prohibition of new investment in Russia in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He is the co-author of a section-by-section commentary on FDI screening under the FEFTA (“Sho-kai Gaitame-hou, Inward Direct Investment and Specified Acquisition Edition” (Shoji Homu, June 2021). He was also a speaker at webinars on FDI screening for government officials of member countries organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Competition Law / International Trade
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