Hiroshi Watanabe has led clients to victory in many disputes concerning corporate control, including, among others, defending against the hostile takeover attempt of Hokuetsu Paper by Oji Paper. He has been engaged in a lot of well-known corporate lawsuits including derivative suits. He has been engaged in well-known securities litigation matters; especially, he led a ground-breaking case against Intelligence, Ltd., where, for the first time ever in Japan, regression analysis was used to adjust the stock price in a securities action. He is also very experienced in litigation relating to business acquisitions and labour disputes. Finally, he has very deep experience working on cases dealing with different kinds of economic crimes. These include cases about the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act of Japan (regarding insider trading and correcting past accounts), the Anti-Monopoly Act of Japan involving international cartels, the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations, the Unfair Competition Prevention Act and tax evasion.
Ushijima & Partners is a full-service law firm representing domestic and international clients in Japan and providing overseas legal services to Japanese clients both directly and through its international alliances, such as Multilaw, ELA and LAW. The firm was founded in 1985 by Shin Ushijima and currently numbers 52 attorneys.
The firm represents clients across a broad range of industries, including financial institutions, trading companies, manufacturers, system integration vendors, IT service providers, construction companies, real estate companies, broadcasters, telecommunications, entertainment, distributors, professional associations and public or quasi-public agencies. The firm also represents high-net-worth individuals in the areas of family business planning and trusts and estates.
The founding partner is a leading practitioner in general corporate matters, including compliance and corporate governance, and is often interviewed on TV and in the media. The firm has significant experience in M&A, representing corporations in both international and domestic M&A for either acquirers or targets and in the hostile takeover defence area. In fact, the firm was awarded ‘Corporate M&A Law Firm of the Year – Japan’ by DealMakers Global Awards 2015 and ‘Best International Transactions Law – Japan’ by Acquisition International in its 2015 M&A Awards. The firm has long experience representing major domestic insurers and its founding and managing partner is an outside director of a major domestic insurer. The firm has an elite reputation for its deep knowledge and high level of practice in real estate and securitisation. The senior real estate partner is well known as a major pioneer and eminent practitioner in the securitisation of real property with wide knowledge of the relevant laws. The firm has expertise in intellectual property and technology including major disputes involving system development and integration. The firm has expertise in labour matters and has won precedent-setting victories in corporate restructuring for a major well known multinational company, and in injunctive relief to prevent the former president of a major well known multinational company from competing. The firm also has significant victories in soil contamination and construction litigation.
Some of the firm’s attorneys have served as high level prosecutors in the Ministry of Justice and the Public Security Intelligence Agency, as well as in-house general counsel, in international organisations, and as chairmen or advisors of numerous committees relating to REIT and real estate investment, including MLIT and the Ministry of Construction and the Japan Real Estate and Japan Economic Research Institute. Associate attorneys are regularly seconded to government agencies.
All of the firm’s Japanese attorneys are bilingual in Japanese and English, and its clients comprise roughly 50% domestic and 50% international. The firm has native English-speaking, US-admitted attorneys assisting in presentation and communication to clients.
Although a very large part of the firm’s practice is corporate, the firm has a strong reputation as top litigators in litigation and dispute resolution, including acting for major multinational companies with subsidiaries in Japan, and is often sought by clients aware of its reputation by word of mouth as the go-to litigation counsel in Japan.