27 nominations at the Women in Business Law Awards Asia-Pacific 2023
Nishimura & Asahi leads the nominations among Japanese law firms at the Women in Business Law Awards Asia-Pacific 2023, and we are finalists in 27 separate categories, underlining our firm’s commitment to diversity and to fostering an engaging workplace inclusive of all genders.
Organized by Delinian Limited, London, UK, winners are scheduled to be announced at a gala ceremony in Singapore on September 7, 2023.
Diverse Women Lawyers National Firm of the Year
Gender Diversity National Firm of the Year (Walalangi & Partners, in association with Nishimura & Asahi, also shortlisted)
Pro Bono National Firm of the Year
Work-Life Balance National Firm of the Year
Career Development National Firm of the Year (Walalangi & Partners, in association with Nishimura & Asahi)
Practice Area Awards
Miriam Andreta (Walalangi & Partners, in association with Nishimura & Asahi) - Antitrust & Competition Lawyer of the Year
Apinya Sarntikasem - Debt Capital Markets Lawyer of the Year
Chie Nakahara - Commercial Arbitration Lawyer of the Year
Naoko Omukai - Copyright Lawyer of the Year
Taeko Morita - Corporate Governance Lawyer of the Year
Maya Ito - Energy, Natural Resources & Mining Lawyer of the Year
Masako Yajima - Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyer of the Year
Noriko Yodogawa - International Trade Lawyer of the Year
Yuri Sugano - Labour & Employment Lawyer of the Year, Restructuring & Insolvency Lawyer of the Year
Yoko Kasai - Life Sciences Lawyer of the Year
Hitomi Iwase - Media & Entertainment Lawyer of the Year, Patent Lawyer of the Year
Asa Shinkawa - Private Equity Lawyer of the Year
Mikiko Soga - Project Finance Lawyer of the Year
Taeko Suzuki - Tax Lawyer of the Year
Jeanne Elisabeth Donauw (Walalangi & Partners, in association with Nishimura & Asahi) – Technology Lawyer of the Year
Chisako Yagi - Trademark Lawyer of the Year
Yoshimi Arai - White Collar Crime Lawyer of the Year
Japan Law Firm of the Year
Indonesia Law Firm of the Year (Walalangi & Partners, in association with Nishimura & Asahi)
Thailand Law Firm of the Year
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Asa Shinkawa has been a partner in the M&A/corporate group at Nishimura & Asahi since 2001. She has a long and successful history of advising Japanese and international corporations and private equity firms. Ms. Shinkawa has advised on mergers and acquisitions, tender offers, cross border transactions, domestic acquisitions and divestitures and going private transactions, restructurings and spin offs, joint ventures, and numerous other kinds of transactions and commercial arrangements. Ms. Shinkawa has been recognized as one of the world's leading lawyers in the field of Corporate/Mergers and Acquisitions in Chambers Global - The World's Leading Lawyers for Business, since 2009, and is ranked as one of the top practitioners in Japan in the field of Corporate/M&A. She was awarded "Dealmaker of the Year" at the ALB Japan Law Awards 2022, "Dealmaker of the Year, North Asia" at the ALB Women in Law Awards 2021 and "Woman Lawyer of the Year" at the ALB Japan Law Awards 2020, "M&A Deal of the Year” at the IFLR Asia-Pacific Awards 2022, "Private Equity Deal of the Year” at The Asia Legal Awards 2021 and "Legal Expertise: Creating a New Standard” at the Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyer Awards 2019, and has received many other accolades. In addition, she has advised on M&A transactions and integrations/business combinations between public corporations in which merger control considerations were a critical prerequisite for the consummation of the transactions. Ms. Shinkawa has also advised extensively on the application of antitrust law in relation to joint ventures, business alliances and other types of cooperative arrangements between competitors, sole-distributorship arrangements, distribution agreements, dealer agreements and license arrangements. She was engaged in the reform of the electricity system in Japan, as an expert member of governmental committees under the Electricity and Gas Market Surveillance Commission and various committees of the Advisory committees for Natural resourse and Energy of the METI from 2015 to 2021.
In addition to corporate disputes such as shareholder derivative actions and share purchase demands, she has numerous experiences in technology disputes related to plant accidents, product accidents, patent infringement, system development troubles, etc., soil contamination disputes, insurance disputes including reinsurance, labor disputes, and consumer disputes. Her main publications include "International Arbitration and Corporate Strategy: Bridging Theory and Practice" (Auther, Yuhikaku, 2014), "Current Status of Litigation Procedures and Defense Practice Issues Associated with Corporate Activities in the United States" (co-author, Jurist No. 1474, December 2014), "Overview of Intellectual Property Law (5th Edition)" (co-editor, Kobundo, 2013), "Judgments Concerning M&A, etc. and Directors' Duty of Care in Good Faith" (Jurist supplement, May 2013), "M Judgment on M&A, etc. and Director's Duty of Care" (Juristo, May 2013 issue, "Selection of M&A Reorganization Precedents Effective in Practice"), "Commentary on Appeal Court Decision in Fukuoka Fish Market Shareholders' Representative Suit Case - Parent Company Director's Responsibility for Subsidiary Management and Relief" (co-author, Junkan Shoji Homu No. 1970, July 5, 2012 issue), etc. No. 1970, July 5, 2012), etc.
Hitomi handles patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and other IP-related matters in multiple business sectors, including IT, life sciences and healthcare, machinery, food, fashion, environment and energy, entertainment, financial services, and e-commerce. Ms. Iwase’s expertise encompasses all forms of IP transactional work, both cross-border and domestic, including licensing, strategic alliances, joint development, and asset transfers, as well as various types of IP disputes, including patent/trademark infringement litigation. Hitomi also assists clients in anti-counterfeiting and in the development of IP portfolios and prosecution strategies. Hitomi regularly advises clients on emerging legal issues relating to the latest technology, such as IoT and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as on complex system-related transactions and disputes over such transactions. In the area of data privacy, Hitomi provides extensive advice on data protection and privacy compliance, including on establishing global compliance systems and incidents such as data breaches. Hitomi also advises on related areas such as e-commerce, advertising, and consumer protection.
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Mikiko has extensive expertise in project finance for various power projects and other infrastructure projects, including PPP/PFI projects. She has advised on award-winning projects, including the Tokyo International (Haneda) Airport expansion project, awarded “Asia Pacific Airports” at IJGlobal 2017, and the Osaka and New Kansai International Airports privatization project, awarded “Asia Pacific Airports” at IJGlobal 2016. Mikiko also has advised on numerous renewable energy projects in Japan since the early 2000s, and has served as an expert member of several government committees established by the Japanese Government’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ministry of the Environment, and Agency for Natural Resources with respect to the electricity market in Japan. Mikiko was commended as an “Innovative Practitioner” at the FT Innovative Lawyers Asia-Pacific Awards 2022 for her sustainability efforts, including in relation to diversity & inclusion, pro bono, and renewable energy.
Maya has extensive experience advising international investors on cross-border renewable energy projects, as well as advising both borrowers and lenders on financing for renewable energy projects in Japan. She previously worked in the cross-border project finance team of a Japanese megabank, handling matters relating to natural resources, power and energy, and infrastructure. Maya has also provided banks, financial institutions, and other corporate clients, most of which operate their businesses globally, with compliance and regulatory advice, as well as advice on a variety of governance matters. She is actively involved in D&I projects aimed at promoting the active participation of women, and has organized numerous D&I seminars and other similar events for corporations.
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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).
Since she joined Nishimura & Asahi in 2004, she has been involved in various types of corporate matters, including M&A, compliance and corporate group internal controls. She handles in day-to-day matters as well as strategic and special situations, and can provide business advice. With respect to corporate governance matters, she provides practical advice on the full spectrum of corporate governance matters including administration of shareholder meetings, company organization structures, disclosure, administration of the board of directors, board evaluations, executive compensation, and company indemnification. She also has extensive experience in the field of consumer law matters, such as how to respond to consumer-law related regulations, consumer organizations, and investigations by authorities. She has expertise and provides advice on advertising, marketing activities, and e-commerce.
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Chie Nakahara specializes in international litigation and arbitration. The disputes she typically handles relate to M&A, distributorship, licensing, franchising, and the termination of such continuous contracts, construction, product liability, corporate governance, intellectual property, finance and other commercial matters. She has acted in a large number of complex and high profile litigations and arbitrations.
She serves as a panel of arbitrators at Korean Commercial Arbitration Board International, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, and also as a registered arbitrator at the Daiichi Tokyo Bar Arbitration Center.
Yoko’s practice focuses on representation of life sciences and technology companies that develop and market pharmaceuticals, biologics, vaccines, diagnostics, medical devices, and digital health products. She specializes in corporate transactions involving complex intellectual property and pharmaceutical regulatory issues, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances and asset transfers. In addition, she counsels clients on matters involving research and development collaborations, clinical trials, technology licensing, supply and distribution agreements, and co-promotion arrangements. She also advises clients in connection with privacy and personal data protection matters.
Apinya’s extensive practice covers a wide array of matters ranging from business set-up, domestic and cross-border transactions to day-to-day business operations, to name a few. Her clientele includes both local and international conglomerates, trading companies, aircraft operators, real estate developers, petroleum and energy companies, financial institutions, securities companies, venture capitalists, and fund managers. Well-read and a holder of law degrees from three different jurisdictions - Thailand, the United States and Japan, Apinya is able to leverage her international experience and cultural insights to effectively and efficiently resolve complex cross-border legal issues and provide tailored legal services and solutions to her clients. In addition to being a practicing lawyer, Apinya is regularly invited to teach business law at various prestigious universities in Thailand, and serves as a counsellor to the Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives of Thailand for consideration of amendments to the Civil and Commercial Code. Her other notable achievements include being registered as a Barrister-at-Law, Attorney-at-Law, and Notarial Services Attorney in Thailand.
She has a strong track record of representing domestic and overseas clients before the Courts and Patent Offices in Patent, Trademark and other IP disputes and proceedings, including a case that resulted in the first Grand Panel Decision of the IP High Court in Japan. In addition, she has been involved in IP transactions for business development, including license franchising, and corporate projects with Brand & IP strategies. She has been a committee member of the Industrial Structure Council of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan, a member of the special consulting committee for the Minister of METI, and a director of the Japan Trademark Association. In addition, she oversees many lecturers at IP seminars sponsored by bar associations, patent attorney associations, the Japan Intellectual Property Association, etc.
Yuri is specialized in Restructuring and Insolvency and also Labor Law. Especially, she is well-known in the restructuring market given her outstanding expertise and experience in cross-border restructuring and insolvency cases. She has plenty of experience providing foreign clients with restructuring and business closure of their Japanese subsidiaries. She also supports foreign clients on a wide range of labor issues, including labor disputes, personnel restructuring and general labor law matters on a daily basis. She is actively engaged in diversity & inclusion promotion activities. Utilizing her expertise as a labor-law specialist, as well as her experience as a member of the D&I promotion council at Nishimura & Asahi and as a director of LLAN (lawyers for LGBT & Allies Network), she has supported clients’ D&I initiatives.
Taeko heads the firm’s India practice, and advises Japanese corporations investing and doing business in India, with a special focus on dispute resolution (litigation and arbitration), and regulatory work (criminal and competition related matters). She also handles jurisdictions such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the UAE, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, and other countries in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Chisako specializes in trademark prosecution and related matters, including searches, filings, oppositions, invalidations, and cancellations, before the Japan Patent Office. She also specializes in enforcement actions, including online counterfeiting and trademark infringement issues.