Tsutomu Kuribayashi, Jun Usami, Hisako Nakazato, Tomohiro Hayase



Tsutomu Kuribayashi, partner, Kuribayashi Sogo Law Firm

Law firms such as ours have been able to meet the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic with help from various technologies. We are now functioning as well as we did before the pandemic. However, some of our clients are still having difficulties, as restrictions on the transport of people and goods remain in many countries. We expect to keep helping these clients recover from the damage next year.

From a wider perspective, we think the need for advice on overseas investments will rise in 2022 triggered by a weaker yen, given that the Bank of Japan is likely to continue its monetary easing policy while the U.S. Federal Reserve may increase the federal fund rate in response to possible inflation.

Another trend to watch is the restructuring of Japanese companies due to financial stress induced by COVID. As you may have heard, companies have put more focus on identifying non-essential employees amid the difficult business environment. We have received inquiries from clients related to the dismissal of the unproductive workers that they had retained until now, as in Japan firing generally is legally more difficult than in the U.S. We expect this trend to continue next year.

Also, we have received inquiries about hiring contract workers, which is currently not common in Japan. It is more difficult to hire highly skilled contract staff, as Japanese regulations require companies to hire anyone with more than five years of experience as a permanent employee. Still, we expect this demand for contract staff will rise going forward.


Jun Usami, office executive partner, Tokyo, White & Case

The Japanese M&A market in 2021 has seen the development of several new trends, including unsolicited acquisitions, heretofore a rarity in the market, by both private equity funds and strategic investors. Increasingly diverse acquisition strategies are likely to progress as public companies continue their efforts to eliminate cross-shareholding and promote shareholder engagement, spurred on by government-led efforts to improve corporate governance.

White & Case will continue to focus on providing legal services and support for a range of cross-border M&A transactions, whether outbound or inbound. For outbound transactions, it will be important to support compliance efforts with regard to heightened FDI regulations and antitrust clearance, along with negotiating representation and warranty insurance, deal protection measures and conducting due diligence that addresses ESG considerations and post-acquisition integration.

Japan is an attractive market for overseas bidders due to the large number of companies whose potential for growth is undervalued when compared to their foreign counterparts. We anticipate continued interest from foreign investors, particularly given the expected improvements in corporate governance. Global investment funds will play a significant role in facilitating carve-out transactions made necessary by the importance of de-carbonisation and digital transformation efforts. Such funds will play an important role in promulgating the technological capacities and know-how of Japanese industry. Global law firms will, in turn, become more important by helping to facilitate these inbound transactions.

Corporations will require global counsel in order to make decisions based on worldwide business and regulatory trends. Strategic legal advice that can address complex, multi-jurisdictional issues in a timely and flexible manner is critical to strengthening the global competitiveness of Japanese companies.


Hisako Nakazato, director, and Tomohiro Hayase, attorney, Marunouchi Soleil Law Office

Thanks to technological innovation such as remote meetings, we have seen only mild impact from the COVID pandemic. We have rich experience in e-commerce-related issues, and since e-commerce has seen a surge during the pandemic, we have been very busy this year. Though currently one of our focuses is health and beauty e-commerce, we also have received more inquiries from clients who aim to enter different e-commerce sectors. Therefore, we have provided information through measures such as online seminars to expand our client base in order to embrace e-commerce comprehensively. Since online shopping is likely to remain a part of everyday life even after COVID, we expect another busy year in 2022.

Traditionally, Japanese lawyers and law firms have looked down on self-promotion, but that is changing. The number of lawyers has surged from about 29,000 to 42,000 in the past decade, a roughly 45 percent growth. As a result, competition among law firms has been intensifying, and lawyers and law firms should enhance their presence to clients along with widening and enhancing expertise in order to survive. To that end, we have created several short and easy-to-understand videos about our opera-tions and posted them on the Internet in addition to seminars. While many law firms use social networking now, they still use text to provide information on important trends. But videos are much more effective in conveying messages to a wide range of clients, therefore we aim to continue and enhance providing video messages next year.

Our strength is primarily advertisements, especially online ads for health and beauty that have explosively increased in recent years. We have found that ads, in general, is a new market where there are very few lawyers with relevant experiences. So, this is a large new frontier with many opportunities for us.














他方、海外から見ると、日本市場は潜在的な成長力を有する魅力的な投資対象が海外と比較して相対的に多く、ガバナンス改革の進展と相まって、引き続き海外投資家の日本市場への投資意欲は堅調に推移するものと思われます。脱炭素社会の実現に向けた産業構造の転換やデジタル・トランスフォーメーション(DX)に伴う日本企業の事業構造変革ニーズに伴うカーブアウト案件の受け皿として、また、日本企業の優れた技術力やノウハウなどをグローバルに展開するうえでグロ ーバル投資ファンドが果たす役割は大きく、out-inの局面でグローバル・ローファームが果たしうる役割の重要性が高まっているといえます。








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