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  • Awards

37 Nishimura & Asahi lawyers ranked in Who's Who Legal 2023

Thirty-seven lawyers from Nishimura & Asahi have been recognized as experts in their respective practice areas in Who's Who Legal: Global Guide 2023 and National Guide (Japan) 2023, published by Law Business Research, London, UK.

Global: Hiroyuki Tezuka, Akihiro Hironaka, Yutaro Kawabata, Lars Markert (Global Elite Thought Leader), Natalie Yap (Global Elite Thought Leader, Under 45, Future Leaders), Anne-Marie Doernenburg (Future Leaders)
National: Hiroyuki Tezuka, Akihiro Hironaka, Yutaro Kawabata, Lars Markert, Chie Nakahara, Natalie Yap

Global: Katsu Sengoku (Finance)
National: Masahiro Ueno, Takashi Saito, Katsu Sengoku

Capital Markets
Global: Kohei Koikawa (Debt & Equity), Masaru Ono* (Structured Finance)
National: Kohei Koikawa, Masaru Ono*

Global: Kozo Kawai, Ryutaro Nakayama, Kojiro Fujii, Madoka Shimada
National: Kozo Kawai, Ryutaro Nakayama, Kojiro Fujii, Madoka Shimada, Kazumaro Kobayashi

Global: Alexander Woody (Oil & Gas)
National: Alexander Woody (Energy & Natural Resources)

National: Stephen D Bohrer

Government Contracts
National: Kozo Kawai

Intellectual Property
Global: Hitomi Iwase (Patents), Takatoshi Monya (Patents), Masashi Kurose* (Trademarks)
National: Hitomi Iwase, Yoshiyuki Miyashita, Takatoshi Monya, Masashi Kurose* (Patent Attorney (Benrishi))

Global: Takashi Shibuya
National: Takashi Shibuya (Business Crime Defence & Investigations)

Life Sciences
Global:  Akihiro Hironaka

Global: Hiroyuki Tezuka (Commercial Litigation)
National: Hiroyuki Tezuka (Commercial Litigation)

Global: Asa Shinkawa, Yo Ota, Stephen D. Bohrer, Yoshiyuki Kizu (Global Elite Thought Leader) (all M&A and Governance)
National: Kazuhiro Takei, Asa Shinkawa, Yo Ota, Stephen D. Bohrer, Yoshiyuki Kizu (all M&A and Governance)

Private Funds
Global: Kei Ito (Formation)
National: Kei Ito, Kohei Ishida

Product Liability Defence
Global: Akihiro Hironaka

Project Finance
National: Tomohiro Sato

Real Estate
Global: Yoshiaki Ikeda, Norio Maeda
National: Yoshiaki Ikeda, Norio Maeda (all Construction & Real Estate)

Trade & Customs
Global: Kozo Kawai, Kojiro Fujii
National: Kozo Kawai, Kojiro Fujii

Global: Kosuke Shibukawa (Aviation Finance), Nobuhiko Harada (Aviation Finance), Kentaro Miyagi (Aviation Finance), Katsu Sengoku (Aviation Finance (Global Elite Thought Leader), Shipping)
National: Kosuke Shibukawa (Aviation, Shipping), Adrian Joyce (Shipping), Kentaro Miyagi (Aviation), Katsu Sengoku (Aviation, Shipping)

*External Advisor not registered with the firm


手塚 裕之

Hiroyuki heads our international dispute resolution practice. He specializes in international commercial litigation, arbitration, and mediation. He has represented many international clients, including multi-national manufacturers, banking and securities firms, insurance companies, and news media in disputes involving M&A, antitrust laws, corporate governance, insurance laws, intellectual property, defamation, joint ventures, licensing, construction, and other commercial matters, as well as international bankruptcy. He has been involved in a number of international arbitrations as counsel, sole arbitrator, and co-arbitrator (including chair) before the ICC, JCAA, AAA-ICDR, VIAC, KCAB, and SIAC.
Hiroyuki serves as Vice President of the Japan Association of Arbitrators and as Chief Director of the Japan International Mediation Center in Kyoto, was Vice Chair of the Arbitration Committee of the IBA Legal Practice Division, and was Co-Chair of the Dispute Resolution and Arbitration Committee at the IPBA from 2016 to 2020. From 2013 to 2016, he taught international arbitration and international dispute resolution at the University of Tokyo, School of Law as a visiting professor. Since 2013, he has been a member of the SIAC’s Court of Arbitration. He is also a member of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC, and since 2018, he has been a Council member of the ICC Institute of World Business Law.

上野 正裕

Masahiro has over 30 years of experience with domestic and overseas structured finance transactions, including project finance, M&A finance, real estate finance, securitization and derivatives. He regularly drafts and negotiates transaction documents, provides advice on applicable regulations, and assists his clients with all aspects of complex transactions. After implementation of transactions, he also negotiates and prepares amendments to address and resolve any problems that may arise in the course of a transaction. He also has substantial expertise in resolving financial disputes through out-of-court negotiation and settlement. Dispute resolution requires profound, and often specialized, knowledge and understanding of complex financial transactions, financial products, regulations, and market practices. Very few Japanese court precedents address these complicated transactions directly, and litigation does not always lead to an appropriate resolution. Instead, negotiations among the parties, facilitated by expert counsel familiar with the relevant financial transactions, is the favored method of achieving a successful and satisfactory resolution. Masahiro has employed his extensive experience and knowledge to resolve numerous, difficult financial disputes on his clients’ behalf. He has authored numerous books, chapters, and articles on structured finance and syndicated loans, and has been individually ranked in the finance categories of Chambers Global, Legal 500, IFLR 1000, and Best Lawyers.

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. 

新川 麻


  • Partner
  • Tokyo

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.

伊東 啓

Kei Ito is one of the leading partners of the Firm’s investment fund/asset management practice group. Mr. Ito has significant experience in various investment funds (ranging from traditional mutual funds to ETFs and to alternative investments such as private equity funds, and to climate funds and funds with a sustainable investment objective), providing asset management firms and other clients with regulatory advice, securities transactions, banking, derivatives, FinTech, structured finance transactions and a wide variety of other finance areas. Mr. Ito is very well versed in international finance transactions, catering to both domestic and international clients on various cross-border matters. Mr. Ito is also responsible for the Firm’s China practice.

太田 洋


  • 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.

弘中 聡浩

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.

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.

前田 憲生

Norio Maeda is a partner with expertise in transactions involving the acquisition and development of, the financing of, and investment in, Japanese renewable energy projects. He has represented domestic and foreign investors, developers, and lenders, including infrastructure funds, energy companies, and financial institutions from the U.S., Europe, and Asia in numerous green-field and brown-field projects. Norio’s practice also covers transactions involving acquisition and development, investment, and financing with respect to Japanese real estate assets. He is highly skilled at developing innovative investment and financing structures. He has represented domestic and foreign investors, including investment funds, financial institutions, investment managers, and developers from the U.S., Europe, and Asia, in numerous investment and development projects involving sophisticated structures. He also has represented lenders in numerous structured finance transactions involving real estate assets. Norio’s transactional experience includes establishment of Japanese investment platforms into Japanese real estate assets using the TMK and GK-TK schemes, as well as the restructuring of Japanese real estate asset investments. In addition, Norio has extensive experience in inbound cross-border financing transactions for the operation of multi-national corporations in Japan. He has worked on inbound financing transactions under global debt facilities for multi-national corporations headquartered in Asia and other parts of the world. These transactions have involved collateral consisting of various types of assets and have employed a wide variety of credit support structures.

濃川 耕平

He has an extensive track record representing issuers, managers and selling shareholders in various capital markets transactions, incduling global IPOs, global follow-on offerings, convetibles bonds offerings, debt offerings, private investments in public companies (PIPEs), J-REITs offerings. He also has been active in fincance transactions by venture companies.

佐藤 知紘

Tomohiro regularly serves as legal counsel to major financial institutions, trading companies, and energy companies on various projects and project finance transactions. His extensive experience with domestic projects covers a wide variety of sectors including renewable energy, IPP, grid connections, airports, water, and social infrastructure. He also has broad experience with international project financing transactions, including financing for LNG projects, mining projects, and refineries. Tomohiro is recognized as a leading project finance lawyer by Chambers Asia-Pacific, The Legal 500, IFLR1000, Best Lawyers and Who’s Who Legal. He was also named “Energy and Infrastructure Lawyer of the Year” at The Asia Legal Awards 2021.

岩瀬 ひとみ

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.

藤井 康次郎

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.

渋谷 卓司

Takashi is a partner in our corporate crisis management practice. He assists companies in responding to various kinds of emergency situations, including cartels, corruption, window dressing, insider trading, market manipulation, product data falsification, and other misconduct in or outside Japan by aiding in internal investigations, communicating with the governmental authorities concerned or proposing recurrence prevention measures for such misconduct. He also assists companies to implement and improve their preventive measures and advises on how to build and strengthen compliance systems and measures. Not only is he skilled at dealing with large-scale and complex corporate legal scandals involving Japanese companies, but also their overseas branches in Southeast Asia, the USA and in other countries and areas. He also has strong expertise in assisting various foreign companies which face criminal, administrative or civil exposures in Japan. Takashi served as a Japanese public prosecutor from 1992 to 2010. During his time there, he investigated and tried a variety of high-profile white-collar crimes while serving with the Special Investigation Department of Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, and other Prosecutors Offices. He was also engaged in international affairs, including dealing with mutual legal assistance and extradition cases in criminal procedures while serving with the International Division of the Criminal Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Justice. While he was assigned as a First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Japan in Geneva under the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was involved in human rights matters, including drafting and negotiating work for various human rights instruments. During his time there, he earned an MBA degree at the International University in Geneva.


Stephen is a leader of our Cross-Border Transactions Group. Stephen was previously associated with top-tier U.S. international law firms for 12 years, and has experience running cross-border transactions on the ground in the United States, Japan, Singapore, India, Indonesia, and Thailand. Stephen has represented U.S. and non-U.S. buyers and sellers in cross-border corporate transactions in various industries and deal structures, including stock and asset acquisitions, mergers, private equity and venture capital investments, joint ventures and strategic alliances. 
 Since joining Nishimura & Asahi in 2004, Stephen has represented numerous multi-national clients in connection with their investments into Japan and their ongoing general commercial transactions (including franchising, licensing, employment, corporate governance and commercial real estate leasing matters). Stephen also has extensive experience leading and documenting Japanese and cross-border due diligence exercises with respect to various industries, and representing Japanese clients in connection with their multi-jurisdiction corporate acquisitions. Stephen is frequently praised by clients for providing cutting edge practical solutions.
 Stephen also has represented U.S. issuers in the United States, foreign private issuers from numerous jurisdictions in Asia and global investment banks in connection with their capital markets transactions, including registered initial and follow-on public offerings in the United States, Rule 144A/Regulation S equity and debt offerings, block trades, dual listings and privatizations, and also assessing whether exemptions exist to the application of U.S. securities laws to overseas business transactions.
 Stephen writes and lectures widely on his legal practice specialties.


Alexander Woody advises clients on energy and natural resources project investments, development and financing. He has over 20 years' experience in Japan, with a focus on cross-border LNG investments, tolling and purchase agreements and transportation arrangements.

Alex has worked extensively with arbitration specialists to provide strategic advice and assist clients to resolve disputes arising during the course of these long-term projects. He has also advised clients on solar, battery and wind power investments, as well as early stage hydrogen projects.

Alex is ranked by Chambers Global 2022 and Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022 as a Leading Lawyer for Projects & Energy: International - Japan. He is also ranked by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022 as a Leading Individual: Gaiben for Projects and Energy: International Firms and Joint Ventures - Japan.

島田 まどか

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.

渋川 孝祐

Kosuke Shibukawa supports both domestic and foreign banks, leasing companies, other financial institutions, airlines, and shipping companies in a wide range of financing transactions, including asset finance, banking, and acquisition finance transactions.
 In particular, in asset finance transactions, including domestic and cross-border aircraft, ship, and marine container lease and sale transactions, Kosuke provides advice based on his extensive knowledge and experience throughout the entire process, from structuring, documentation, negotiation, and deal execution, to ensure smooth transaction execution. 
 He has been involved in many cross-border project finance transactions, particularly for floating production, storage and offloading systems (FPSO), and floating storage and offloading systems (FSO), and advises a wide range of domestic and foreign financial institutions.

齋藤 崇

Takashi is a seasoned finance lawyer with experience in various types of financing transactions, including acquisition finance/private equity, venture finance, securitization, real estate finance and asset management, having particular strength in crosscutting financial transactions. By integrating his abundant and wide ranging knowledge and experience, he regularly provides multilateral advice to domestic and international financial institutions, mezzanine investors, private equity funds, venture capital funds, real estate funds and asset management companies. In the field of acquisition finance, where Takashi enjoys an impressive reputation according to Chambers, Legal 500 and IFLR, as a core member of our acquisition finance practice, he has advised our clients in a large number of acquisition financing transactions such as LBO/MBO. His strength has been especially demonstrated in transactions having novel and complex structures. Takashi also has a wide ranging of experience in the field of venture finance. Representing one of the largest Japanese venture capital funds, he has advised on venture capital investments in more than 200 startups around the world including Japan, US, UK, Singapore, Canada, Israel, India, Netherlands and South Korea.

石田 康平

He has been involved in the establishment of a variety of funds, including private equity funds, venture funds, CVC, infrastructure funds, renewable energy funds, and real estate funds. Structuring advice in connection with Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and other securities regulations is his area of specialty. He also actively supports investment activities of funds, such as M&A, LBO finance, and venture investments. Further, he focuses on the development, acquisition, and/or project finance of renewable energy projects supporting developers, including, but not limited to, renewable energy funds. He also has experience in IPP projects abroad as a member of a leading Japanese trading company. He is a member of the Africa practice team and Middle-East practice team, and has a good connection with law firms in such areas. He actively supports Japanese companies in the expansion of their businesses in Africa and the Middle-East.


Adrian has considerable experience advising lenders, sponsors and ECAs on energy, transportation and infrastructure in, Japan, APAC, the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa. He is recognised as a market leader for project finance and asset finance and regularly advises Japanese and international clients on the development and financing of cross-border energy, infrastructure and transportation projects. Highly regarded for his commercial acumen, Adrian is recognised in Chambers Global and Chambers APAC for “Projects & Energy: International” and “Banking & Finance: International Asset Finance” and in The Legal 500 for "Projects and Finance”, “Shipping” and “Banking and Finance” for which he is ranked as a “Leading Individual”. Recent experience includes advising sponsors and lenders on: • LNG: a large number of LNG vessel financings (20 vessels since 2020), SPAs and joint ventures; • Infrastructure: projects including five subsea cable financings in APAC and the Americas and two infrastructure projects in Japan; • Renewables: greenfield projects and project sales in Japan and APAC including solar, wind and waste to energy. • Asset finance: debt finance, restructurings, SLB, ESG and JOLCOs in the shipping and aviation sectors. Adrian attended the University of Tokyo and University of Waseda and speaks and reads Japanese.

原田 伸彦

Nobuhiko Harada specializes in Japanese and cross-border asset finance transactions for aircraft, vessels, marine cargo containers, factory facilities, as well as other finance transactions for real estate, M&A finance, and DIP finance. He has vast experience of JOL/JOLCO transactions for aircraft, vessels, marine cargo containers, and other assets. He also has broad experience in insolvency and business restructuring (both in-court and out-of-court procedures) of various businesses including airlines, ship owners, hotel operators, golf course operators, real-estate business operators, trading companies and their subsidiaries in Asian countries. In addition to the abovementioned fields, he has expertize in airport business and the regulatory compliance of new businesses.

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Focusing on disputes arising out of the termination of contracts, in particular for clients in the automotive, pharmaceutical, electronic devices, apparel, and food & beverage sectors, Yutaro Kawabata is a “divorce lawyer” for companies. Since joining Nishimura & Asahi in 2004, he has been involved in a number of major international arbitration and commercial litigation cases.


Lars’ practice is focused on commercial and investment arbitration. He has particular expertise in contentious proceedings involving post-M&A, commercial, manufacturing, construction, and distribution matters, in areas such as life sciences, automotive, and energy. Lars also deals with cases involving governments, and has advised foreign investors and sovereign states on issues of foreign direct investment and public international law, including related negotiations and investor-state disputes. He has been involved in more than 50 international arbitrations as counsel and arbitrator under the arbitration rules of institutions such as the ICC, DIS, SAC, NAI, ICDR, KCAB, JCAA, SIAC, and ICSID, as well as under the UNCITRAL Rules.

中原 千繪

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.


Natalie YAP

  • Partner
  • Singapore

Prior to joining Nishimura & Asahi in 2017, Natalie worked in London and in Singapore and has acted as counsel in more than 50 arbitration, mediation, and adjudication matters extending across a large range of industries, including shipping, engineering, onshore and offshore construction, aviation, oil and gas, international trade, asset finance, telecommunications, motor racing and automotive distribution. Aside from acting in contentious proceedings, Natalie regularly advises on dispute prevention and risk management. In 2015, Natalie was named Asia Women in Business Law’s “Rising Star for Litigation”. She is ranked in the 2021,2022 and 2023 editions of Who’s Who Legal (Arbitration).She is also ranked in the 2021 and 2022 editions of the Legal 500 (for Real Estate and Construction). Natalie is a contributing author to Singapore International Arbitration: Law and Practice (2nd ed., 2018 , edited by David Joseph, QC and David Foxton, QC).

宮城 健太郎

Kentaro has advised on a number of cross-border finance transactions, including asset financing in respect of aircraft and ships, for various parties, including financial institutions, lessors, and airline and other operators. He has extensive experience launching new schemes in the asset financing industry, such as insurance-backed leasing deals and capital market structures incorporating Japanese operating leases. He also has considerable expertise in compliance-related matters involving banking and securities law, mainly for financial institutions. Leveraging his significant cross-border expertise, he regularly supports international clients on their cross-border activities. He is also a regular speaker at seminars on aircraft and ship financing.

木津 嘉之

Yoshi’s practice covers various M&A transactions, cross border deals, and day-to-day commercial businesses, with a focus on Europe-related matters. He lived in Europe approx. 8 years including studying at the master of law at UCL in London, working approx. 3 years in leading firms in Frankfurt, Paris and Italy, a short secondment in Barcelona/Madrid and having regular business trips all across Europe including the Netherlands, Nordic countries and Eastern Europe. As a leading partner of Europe practice and cross-border team, Yoshi provides a tailored legal services in a timely and flexible manner.

小林 和真呂

Kazumaro’s antitrust practice spans various industries, including automotive, energy, telecommunication, medical/healthcare and finance. Kazumaro regularly represents clients in high-profile matters, including merger and acquisitions that require approval in multiple jurisdictions, and global and domestic cartel investigations.

宮下 佳之

His clients include mass media companies, leading IT vendors, telecommunications companies and motion-picture production & distribution companies and other media and technology-oriented enterprises, as well as a variety of global companies. He has held the positions of Vice Chairman of the Computer Research Committee of Japan, Federation of Bar Associations (1993-1997), Special Committee Member of the Copyright Council of Japan, Agency for Cultural Affairs (1995-2002), Working Team Member of International Jurisdiction and Governing Law, Agency for Cultural Affairs (2009-2010), Committee Member of Centralized Administration and Competition Policy, Agency for Cultural Affairs (2010-2012), Chairperson of the China IP Issues Research Committee, SOFTIC (2012-2015) and Chairperson of the OSS Legal Issues Research Committee, SOFTIC (2015-present).

千石 克

Katsu has over 35 years’ experience working in the area of asset financing and trading transactions (including, structuring, negotiating, documenting and executing transactions). In particular, his practice focuses on aircraft/ship leasing, financing, and trading. He represents a wide range of clients, including leasing companies, banks, trading houses, airlines and investors, and other individuals and entities, and his key clients include a number of Japanese leasing companies, banks, and airlines. Katsu also regularly acts as a moderator and panelist at international conferences.


Having worked in many different jurisdictions, including in Germany, London, Paris, and Washington D.C., Anne-Marie regularly advises corporations and governments on investor-state and commercial disputes, as well as related negotiations. She is dual-qualified (Germany/England & Wales) and comes from a trilingual background. Prior to joining Nishimura & Asahi, Anne-Marie worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP from 2014 to 2018.

紋谷 崇俊

Mr. Monya specializes in all areas of intellectual property law, mainly handling domestic and international dispute resolutions and transactions relating to patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and all other IP/IT related matters.

小野 傑

Masaru Ono is a Former Representative Partner, and has been working to open up and develop new finance areas, such as by laying the groundwork for the introduction of securitization in Japan.  Outside the finance sector, he also provides strategic advice on corporate crisis management, international disputes, and new projects that require the expertise and organizational strength of his practice groups, as well as on strategies that are not necessarily covered by conventional practices, precedents, or legal interpretations.  

By acting as a bridge between the practical, academic, educational, and legislative fields, he played a major role in publishing the “CORPUS JURIS FINANCE” and establishing securitization in Japan.  He also was called upon to provide his expert opinion as a witness before the Diet of Japan on the Trust Law and the Special Law on the Assignment of Claims.  In addition, he has participated in the Legislative Council, Financial Council, etc., has lectured at Hitotsubashi University Law School, and has acted as a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo for more than a decade. "