Japan > Leading tax law firms

Independent local firms

Index of tables

  1. Japan: Independent local firms – Leading tax law firms
  2. Japan - TDH500
  3. Next generation lawyers: bengoshi
  4. Revenue authority details

Japan - TDH500

  1. 1
    • Atsushi Fujieda - Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
    • Koji Fujita - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
    • Masakazu Iwakura - TMI Associates
    • Toshio Miyatake - Adachi Henderson Miyatake & Fujita
    • Yuko Miyazaki - Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
    • Eiichiro Nakatani - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
    • Atsushi Oishi - Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
    • Yo Ota - Nishimura & Asahi
    • Kazuhiro Takei - Nishimura & Asahi
    • Hidehiro Utsumi - TMI Associates

Next generation lawyers: bengoshi

  1. 1
    • Hiroshi Oyama - Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune handles cross-border and domestic matters such as corporate reorganisations, transfer pricing issues, incentive plans, VAT, customs and duties matters and tax litigation. Eiichiro Nakatani and Koji Fujita jointly head the group; Nakatani is recommended for international tax and tax treaty matters, while Fujita regularly handles tax planning matters and the tax elements of corporate transactions. Kei Sasaki is also singled out for his tax expertise relating to financial products.

Yuko Miyazaki heads the group at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, which stands out for its tax litigation expertise. Recent highlights include successfully defending a Japanese entity of a US investment fund in the Supreme Court against allegations by the government that it purposefully avoided withholding tax by using the Japan-Ireland tax treaty. The firm also provided a multinational chemical company with anti-avoidance tax statute advice and advised a US IT services and software provider on Japanese VAT issues. Noteworthy names include Atsushi Fujieda, Yushi Hegawa, Takashi Saida and Shigeki Minami.

With ‘amazing knowledge of the industry and deep insight into its issues’, Mori Hamada & Matsumotois a key name for tax planning work’ at both a domestic and international level. Practice head Atsushi Oishi recently advised GCA Savvian on the tax planning elements of its merger with Altium, while Makoto Sakai acted for SoftBank on the tax issues surrounding the formation of the SoftBank Vision Fund. Clients praise Yoshihiro Kojima, whose ‘advice is always on point’; Susumu Masuda, who handles the tax elements of aircraft and ship financing transactions and private wealth management; and litigator Kazuhiro Kanamaru. Associate Hiroshi Oyama is also recommended.

The team at Nishimura & Asahi focuses on tax litigation, structuring and audits, with recent work including acting for a pharmaceutical company in a dispute involving in-kind contributions and partnership taxation, and advising an international investment firm on the structuring of its Japanese business with regards to international tax. Shionogi & Co is also a client. Kazuhiro Takei and Yo Ota jointly lead the group; Ota recently represented an individual in a dispute relating to income tax. Tsuyoshi Ito and Masaki Noda are also recommended. Masakazu Iwakura left for TMI Associates.

Atsumi & Sakai stands out for its experience in transactional advice, tax controversies and tax disputes, advising on tax-efficient investment structures, M&A issues and corporate restructurings. Clients include financial institutions, technology companies, banks and companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Teruhisa Toyama heads the department.

Hidehiro Utsumi and Nobuaki Iwashina head TMI Associates’ four-partner practice, which is recognised for its fund-related tax knowledge and cross-border expertise; the team regularly acts for asset management companies and funds. Utsumi’s recent mandates include representing a high-net-worth individual in a tax dispute, and advising Daito Trust Construction on its split from Daito Building Management and the related tax elements.

International firms and joint ventures

Index of tables

  1. Japan: International firms and joint ventures – Leading tax law firms
  2. Japan - TDH500
  3. Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)
  4. Revenue authority details

Japan - TDH500

  1. 1
    • Koichi Inoue - Jones Day
    • Shinichi Kobayashi - Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

  1. 1
    • Edwin Whatley - Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

With ‘an incredibly pragmatic approach and an ability to provide the most practical advice in any situation’, Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)stands out in the field as a true leader’ across transfer pricing, tax planning, VAT issues, litigation and tax-efficient structuring. The ‘exceptionally talented’ Edwin Whatley leads the six-partner group and is highly regarded for his international tax expertise, tax planning and controversy work and trade advice. Clients also single out the ‘brilliant’ Ken Okawara, who specialises in transfer pricing mandates; Shinichi Kobayashi, who focuses his practice on corporate matters and employee incentive taxation; and tax litigator Hideyuki Yamamoto. Yukiko Komori regularly handles transfer pricing issues, and Ryutaro Oka is recommended for the tax aspects of finance matters, M&A and corporate reorganisations. Oka recently led advice to Universal Entertainment on the tax elements of its $400m issuance of privately placed high-yield notes on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

At DLA Piper, practice head Makiko Kawamura is ‘one of the key names in the field’ and specialises in international tax issues encompassing tax structuring, advisory mandates and tax litigation with the National Tax Agency and Japan Customs. The group also advises on consumption tax, customs duties, tax investigations and tax controversies. Kawamura’s recent work includes advising a client on a tax audit by the National Tax Agency, and handling a Tokyo Customs audit case and a royalty payment issue for another client. The team acts for domestic and international multinationals, and noteworthy clients include Avex Group Holdings, Marsh & McLennan Companies, the Gemological Institute of America and HomeAway. Keitaro Uzawa and Kayo Ishikawa are key associates in the department.

Jones Day’s practice works closely with the firm’s M&A, IP, real estate and finance groups to provide advice on matters such as tax litigation, cross-border corporate transactions and transfer pricing issues. Koichi Inoue leads the group, which was recently involved in the tax aspects of PAG Asia’s sale of its 25% stake in Universal Studios Japan to Comcast NBCUniversal, and also regularly assists Japanese clients with the restructuring of overseas operations. The department also includes counsel Taku Osawa, who recently joined the firm from Yodoyabashi & Yamagami LPC, and associate Kyosuke Katahira, who regularly advises international clients on tax issues relating to corporate transactions.

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

Tokyo Anti-Corruption Forum 2018

  • China and Hong Kong GC Powerlist

    In May, The Legal 500 and GC Magazine in partnership with Morrison & Foerster co-hosted the first in a series of Anti-Corruption Forums set to take place across Asia. Held exclusively for senior in-house counsel, the event brought together 25 leading general counsel, heads of legal and heads of compliance from across Japan to discuss current anti-corruption trends and share best practices to mitigate emerging risks.

    Tokyo Anti-Corruption Forum 2018

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Jurisdictional Overviews worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to