Skip to main content
  • Awards

The Nikkei "Most Successful Lawyers in 2023"

The following Nishimura & Asahi lawyers were selected as The NIKKEI’s "Most successful lawyers in 2023" in their respective practice areas.

The Nikkei, formally known as Nihon Keizai Shimbun, is Japan’s flagship newspaper. “Most Successful Lawyers” is their annual survey ranking the country’s most exceptional lawyers across five categories. The results are based on votes cast by legal personnel from more than 500 companies and 200 private practice lawyers. The voters select just two lawyers who stand out for their outstanding delivery of legal service delivery in each practice category.

This distinguished success underpins Nishimura & Asahi’s commitment to providing our clients with seamless, high-quality legal services.

Ranking selected by companies

General corporate law category
Yo Ota (1st), Kazuhiro Takei (5th)

M&A category
Yo Ota (1st), Hiroshi Uchima (7th), Kozo KawaiKazuhiro Takei, Yoshinobu Fujimoto (9th)

Crisis management category
Hiroshi Kimeda (1st), Kaku Hirao (3rd), Kei Umebayashi (7th), Kozo Kawai (13th)

Business and human rights category
Junko Watanabe (3rd), Yusuke Yukawa (5th), Noriya Ishikawa (8th)

China practice category
Takashi Nomura (6th), Azusa Nakashima (10th)

Comprehensive ranking selected by companies & private practice lawyers

General corporate law category
Yo Ota (1st), Kazuhiro Takei (6th)

M&A category
Yo Ota (1st), Hiroshi Uchima (4th), Yoshinobu Fujimoto, Ryutaro Nakayama (18th)

Crisis management category
Hiroshi Kimeda (1st), Kaku Hirao (8th), Kozo Kawai, Kei Umebayashi (15th)

Business and human rights category
Junko Watanabe (3rd), Yusuke Yukawa (7th), Noriya Ishikawa, Takeshi Nemoto (13th)

China practice category
Takashi Nomura (6th), Azusa Nakashima (10th)

People

太田 洋

Yo OTA

  • Partner
  • Tokyo

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.

木目田 裕

Mr. Kimeda’s main areas of practice are Corporate Crisis Management and Litigation. As for Corporate Crisis Management, he has extensive experience in corporate scandal cases, including window-dressing, misrepresentation of financial statements, insider trading, antitrust (bid rigging, price cartels, and abuse of dominant position), product defects, misleading representations of products, divulging confidential information, bribery, political funding, money laundering, breach of industrial regulations, and factory accidents. In these types of cases he has specific expertise on the issues of internal investigations, third party committee investigations, defending against criminal and administrative investigations, public relations, rebuilding compliance systems, reforming corporate governance, and handling the related civil litigation. He also serves as an outside whistleblower hotline channel for a number of companies. As for litigation, he has considerable experience in tax disputes, shareholders disputes, and other types of corporate litigation. He is the author of numerous legal articles and has also been involved in the process of making laws and regulations. He has been recognized as one of the “Most successful lawyers” by the NIKKEI for the last several years as below.

2023 Corporate Crisis Management category 1st
2021 Corporate Crisis Management category 1st
2020 Corporate Crisis Management category 1st
2018 Corporate Crisis Management category 2nd
2014 Corporate Crisis Management category 2nd
2011 Corporate Crisis Management category 3rd
2022 Corporate Legal Affairs category 9th
2016 Corporate Legal Affairs category 10th
2015 Corporate Legal Affairs category 8th
2013 Corporate Legal Affairs category 2nd
2012 Corporate Legal Affairs category 4th

平尾 覚

His main practice area is corporate crisis management and litigation. He is also highly knowledgeable and experienced on matters involving foreign investigations and regulatory authorities. He has dealt with many cases in relation to investigations by the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission, the Japanese Public Prosecutor’s Office, etc., as well as foreign authorities such as the U.S. Department of Justice. He has also dealt with a variety of cases such as misconduct by executives and employees, violation of environmental regulations, violation of the regulation regarding pharmaceutical and medical equipment, etc. In addition to cases that require emergency responses, he has advised many companies to build effective whistleblowing systems and anti-bribery compliance programs, and he has assisted with due diligence procedures from a compliance perspective.

渡邉 純子

Based on her experience working on a wide range of domestic and international corporate matters including various matters in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries for more than seven years and overseas study and business experience in the UK for three years, she has been engaged in supporting Japanese companies in dealing with sustainability issues, while collaborating in various legal fields and jurisdictions including M&A, labour issues, European law and Asian law. She also has a strong ability to work with various stakeholders based on her experience working as an external collaborator for the International Labor Organization (ILO). She also advises Japanese companies in the area of Business and Human Rights.
She was also the lead in the development of the "Guideline for Responsible Business Conduct for the Textile and Clothing Industry of Japan" for human rights due diligence in the textile and apparel industry, which was formulated by the Japan Textile Federation in July 2022, as an external collaborator for the International Labor Organization (ILO).
In addition to serving as a member of various government study groups on human rights and environmental issues and as a member of the sustainability advisory board of a Japanese listed company, she has accepted numerous requests to be an instructor for in-house training, including executive training, and participated as a presenter in various seminars.
- Managing member of the Business and Human Rights Lawyers Network in Japan
- A member of the Advisory Mediation Committee of the Japan Center for Engagement and Remedies on Business and Human Rights (JaCER)
- Senior Advisor at the General Incorporated Association Chubu SDGs Promotion Center
- Business Human Rights (BHR) Committee/Human Rights Law Committee Member at the International Bar Association

川合 弘造

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.

Kazuhiro Takei has extensive expertise representing Japanese public companies on a variety of matters, including M&A, corporate governance and digital transformation, corporate law, securities law, shareholders meeting, consumer law, and tax law. 

藤本 欣伸

Yoshinobu was promoted to partner in 1999. He has experience in NP loans, real estate transactions, and equity investment cases dealing with foreign capital funds and companies. In addition to domestic M&A and business integration cases, he has recently been engaged in many M&A and JV cases by Japanese corporations in the USA, Europe, and Asian countries. He has advised Japanese corporations on lawsuits in the USA and other overseas countries, and has extensive experience in the dispute settlement and risk management fields. He has won many awards in the Corporate/M&A, Private Wealth and Healthcare fields from business law reviews, such as Chambers Global and The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific.

内間 裕

Since 2002, Hiroshi has been a partner in the firm’s M&A and corporate practice area. His experience ranges from M&A (business integration, acquisition and organizational restructuring between operating companies, acquisition of listed/unlisted companies by funds, going private, cross-border M&A, etc.) to general corporate law (general meetings of shareholders, corporate governance, various commercial transactions and contracts, financing, personnel and labor, response to legal revisions, disputes, crisis management, etc.). While he has extensive experience in large-scale and complex M&A transactions, he also provides efficient and effective advice depending on the status of the project in areas such as overseas M&A of Japanese companies, expansion into Japan by overseas companies, and support for startup businesses. In crisis management and dispute cases, he provide practical and effective advice to ensure clients achieve their goals based on a thorough understanding of the circumstances faced by the client. His clients are diverse, including domestic and overseas companies, financial institutions, and investment funds.

中山 龍太郎

Ryutaro Nakayama specializes in General Corporate and M&A work, and advises clients on a broad range of issues and transactions relating to M&A, Japanese corporate, securities, tax, and merger control laws, and regulations specific to various industries. He is a leading lawyer in the field of competition law in Japan, and possesses a unique set of skills and experience, drawn from his extensive experience handling M&A, corporate, and merger control cases and transactions. He has obtained transaction clearances from competition authorities even where the resulting combined market share exceeded 50% in the relevant markets. He has led Nishimura & Asahi’s Africa Practice Team since its formation in 2014. He has established a strong network of connections with Japanese entrepreneurs and businesses that target the African continent, as well as with leading law firms based in Africa. He has been named a leading lawyer in the fields of Corporate/M&A and/or competition law by various publications, including Chambers Global, Chambers Asia-Pacific, and The Nikkei’s annual rankings of “Most Successful Lawyers.” He was appointed the Managing Partner of Nishimura & Asahi in April 2021.

梅林 啓

Kei Umebayashi is a partner at Nishimura & Asahi and previously worked at the Special Investigative Section of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, where he obtained extensive experience and know-how in criminal investigations.
 He is expert at gathering evidence and conducting hearings.
 He mainly handles cases in which the executives or officers of a company leaked, intentionally or accidentally, the company’s confidential information, including customer data and business secrets.
 He deals with matters conducted by Japanese authorities, including the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) and the Fair Trade Commission.
 Additionally, he gives valuable advice concerning a variety of other matters, such as insider trading, antitrust law, leniency applications under antitrust law, and inquiries by the US Department of Justice, European Commission and other foreign authorities when a company is targeted by them due to alleged violations of antitrust laws.

野村 高志

He has handled mainly China's legal affairs for more than 20 years, and has a wealth of experience advising numerous Japanese companies investing in China, Chinese-related M&As, corporate restructuring and withdrawal, crisis management, intellectual property rights, labor, litigation and disputes, and Chinese companies' investment projects in Japan. Having spent more than 10 years in Shanghai, China he has earned the trust of his clients thanks to his ability to solve problems in the field. He has written numerous books, papers, and lectures in the fields of Chinese legal affairs and intellectual property.

湯川 雄介

With a strong background in commercial transactions and corporate governance and compliance, Yusuke focuses on business and human rights, advising companies on various related issues, including the formulation of human rights norms, human rights due diligence, stakeholder engagement, the formulation of human rights clauses in contracts, compliance with modern slavery laws, and consulting on transactions with countries with human rights issues. He is a core member of the Business and Human Rights Projects Team of the Committee on International Human Rights within the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and spreads awareness of the field through lectures at universities and law schools, and by contributing to various publications and seminars. He currently serves as the representative of the firm’s Yangon office providing wide-ranging legal advice to international investors and companies investing and doing business in Myanmar. In addition, Yusuke is involved in a broad range of lawmaking activities in Myanmar to bring their laws into alignment with international standards and norms, and was the first foreign member of the Myanmar Association of Insolvency Practitioners.

中島 あずさ

Having many years of experience in Chinese business, she is well versed in Chinese legislation and practice. She is skilled at providing realistic risk assessments and balanced solutions based on local legal systems and operational practices, while understanding client needs. She can provide wide-ranging support for Chinese investments by Japanese companies, M&As, general corporate law, compliance, labor law and international transactions in China, leveraging an accurate understanding of the Chinese legislation and a sense of local practice. In addition to being involved in numerous acquisitions and joint ventures in China with Japanese companies as clients, M&A transactions of Chinese affiliates due to the restructuring of Japanese companies, and designing transaction schemes for target companies (operating companies) after M&A transactions, she also supports on-site surveys for fraud investigations at Chinese subsidiaries.

根本 剛史

Takeshi has handled many complex M&A transactions and provides sincere advice to his clients. He has extensive experience in M&A-related disputes, and is well versed in the various issues facing companies with founding family shareholders. In recent years, he has been involved in many cases involving business and human rights, impact investing, and advises companies from the perspective of sustainability. He is also actively involved in pro bono work and is one of the most experienced in Japan.

石川 智也

Noriya advises national and international clients from various industries, with a focus on multi-national data protection law projects, such as drafting policy, data transfer agreements and out-sourcing agreements, IT compliance questions, and data breach issues. Since he has experience working with local counsel in more than 80 jurisdictions, he has in depth knowledge of the similarities and differences among data protection laws in many jurisdictions. He can provide his advice taking into account the difference of Japanese laws and other main data protection laws such as the GDPR, CCPA, and PIPL (China).