3 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JAPAN E-MAGAZINE WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM promising investment returns from the early investments. They have also accumulated practical experiences and witnessed the different ways to operate with their Vietnamese partners during their ‘testing’ small investments,” says Ngoc. Nguyen Anh Tuan, partner of LNT & Partners tells ALB that although Japanese investors are shifting their focus to other sectors and industries, manufacturing remains the most attractive, accounting for more than 60 percent of total Japan foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020. Kazuhide Ohya, partner at Nishimura & Asahi, says that the energy sector, in particular the transition to renewable energy, has attracted a lot of attention from Japanese companies in Vietnam as the country’s national power development plan VIII (PDP VIII) was approved earlier this year. The plan estimates that $135 billion in investments will be necessary by 2030, and an additional $400 billion to $520 billion will be required by 2050. LEGAL CHALLENGES When implementing projects locally, Japanese companies might encounter various legal and regulatory challenges due to inadequate laws and regulations and wide administration discretion, says Matsutani. As the economy becomes more complex, Vietnam’s legal system is also becoming more sophisticated and complicated, says Ngoc of VILAF. For example, the transition towards an auction-based approach for selecting investors in new projects has made it harder for prospective Japanese investors to discover new and untapped opportunities. “The new investment areas, such as LNG to power, which require a huge amount of capital and the reliance on Vietnamese partners, such as Vietnam Electricity, has exposed new regulatory aspects for implementation and for project financing. Merger filings have also become more and more regulatory challenging and time-consuming,”says Ngoc. But Nguyen of LNT says that issues related to legal ambiguity, predictability and reliability in the judicial system could bring challenges for Japanese companies. “They may find navigating the Vietnamese legal landscape challenging, especially for issues or areas on which the law remains grey due to lack of guiding instruments or precedents. In practice, legal ambiguity may result in inconsistency in the application of the laws across the regions,” he says. Nguyen of Indochine says that Japanese investors should seek assistance from law firms to minimise risks. “They would help Japanese investors to understand the legal system, respond to specific legal requirements, and can act as a bridge between investors and governmental agencies in seeking policy or law interpretations.” Matsutani of One Asia says that when starting a new business without any existing laws or regulations, there are often difficulties in determining whether or not it should be pursued, which requires assistance from law firms. “We work with experts who have experience in similar cases in the past to analyse the risks and support the clients’ business decisions. Also, building strong relationships with our clients is critical to proceed with such a case,” Matsutani says. コロナ禍のダメージから回復しつ つあるベトナムに、投資もいち早く戻って きている。 その多くは日本からであり、規模 としてはベトナムへの海外直接投資 (Foreign Direct Investment/FDI)の うちで第3位だ。ベトナム国営メディアの 報道によれば、日本が現在ベトナム国内 で運営している法的に有効な事業の数は 5,000件以上にのぼり、その投資額は690 億ドルを超えるという。