Tokyo – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – As of 1 April 2005, the Tokyo office of global law firm Clifford Chance will no longer conduct its business under the name Clifford Chance Tanaka Akita & Nakagawa, but will instead be known simply as Clifford Chance*. The change, which coincides with the introduction of new regulations permitting enhanced cooperation between Western and Japanese qualified lawyers, reflects the success the firm has experienced in providing combined Japanese and international legal services.
Clifford Chance first established a presence in Tokyo nearly 20 years ago and was one of the first international law firms to take advantage of the Japanese regulations by entering into a joint law venture, firstly with Tanaka & Akita (in May 2001) and subsequently expanded to include Noboru Nakagawa and his practice (in March 2002).
We have since been operating one of the largest combined international/domestic law offices in Tokyo, with close to 50 Japanese and foreign legal professionals, almost half of whom are Bengoshi (Japanese lawyers). Our lawyers have played a leading role in some of the most high-profile deals in Japan in recent years, including advising:
• the mandated lead arrangers on the JPY198 billion leveraged acquisition by US private equity fund Carlyle Group of DDI Pocket from KDDI, one of the largest ever leveraged buy-outs in Japan to date;
• the mandated lead arrangers on the JPY140 billion financing and JPY225 billion refinancing of Jupiter Telecommunications, two of Japan’s largest ever leveraged financing deals to date;
• Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd. on its US$450 million acquisition of Aviva plc’s non-life operations in key Asian markets, the largest foreign acquisition by a Japanese non-life insurer to date;
• the lenders on Vodafone’s sale of Japan Telecom (its fixed-line business in Japan) to US investment fund Ripplewood Holdings L.L.C. for JPY262 billion (U$S2.2 billion), and
• Carrefour on its disposal of Carrefour Japan and recent commercial arrangements with Aeon for its Japan business.
Tim Jeffares and Keiji Isaji, joint managing partners of Clifford Chance’s Tokyo office, commented:
“The change in the regulations marks a new era in the Japanese legal community: one that recognises the significance of providing clients with access to consistent and coordinated advice that spans both domestic legal issues and international practice. That fits with our strategy. The adoption of the global name helps reinforce the point.”
“We adhere to the core values that are the cornerstone of Clifford Chance – quality, commitment, ambition and community – and will continue to deliver the commercially-attuned advice and integrated service that our Japanese and international clients expect of a premier law firm in Japan.”