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GAR 100 - 11th Edition

Nishimura & Asahi

05 April 2018

Japan’s first entrant in the GAR 100

People in Who’s Who Legal 1
People in Future Leaders 1
Pending cases as counsel 16
Value of pending counsel work US$8.5 billion
Treaty cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 2 (of which 1 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 1

New in 2018. Japan’s biggest law firm, Nishimura & Asahi was established in 1966 and has been involved in a number of arbitrations over the years, spanning M&A, joint ventures and construction. With Japan only recently beginning to make progress as an arbitral seat, the firm’s activities in this field haven’t been as visible as those of its counterparts in, for example, South Korea.

But the work is there. At time of writing, it has three arbitrations on its books valued in the hundreds of millions. It’s been active in disputes across Asia, taking on cases at major institutions like the ICC, SIAC and CIETAC, as well as the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (JCAA) the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) and other recognised bodies in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

In 2010, it caught a lot of notice for winning a pro-New York Convention ruling in the Tokyo courts for insurance company AIU during set-aside proceedings, which was shortlisted for a GAR award.

The practice is led by Tokyo partner Hiroyuki Tezuka, who is a familiar face around the region – he sits on the SIAC Court and the KCAB International Arbitration Committee, as well as the ICC Court. He is also among the small group of Tokyo practitioners helping to set up a new hearing centre for the JCAA.

He is joined by eight other arbitration attorneys in Tokyo office, as well as Singapore partner Shintaro Uno. From July 2017, these included an English-qualified foreign attorney, Natalie Yap, whom the firm hired from Watson Farley and Williams in Singapore, and the newly promoted Chie Nakahara. The firm expects to make a new hire in early 2018.

The firm has offices in four Japanese cities and 11 overseas offices, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Yangon, Bangkok, Dubai and New York.

Major clients include Novartis, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus, and Honda Motors.

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