Japanese heavyweight Anderson Mori debuts in Brussels

Tokyo-based firm follows up 2022’s London launch with new base offering Japanese law advice to clients across Europe

Big Four Japanese firm Anderson Mori & Tomotsune (AMT) is to open an office in Brussels as it seeks to broaden its ability to offer Japanese law advice to clients across Europe.

The new office will begin operation early next year and is the Tokyo-based firm’s second in Europe, where it debuted last autumn with the launch of an office in London, and also marks its second location outside of Asia.

The office will be led by corporate partner Ko Hanamizu, who has been the head partner of AMT’s Singapore office since 2013, and will also house M&A partner Ryoichi Kaneko. It will offer Japanese law advice to European companies and investors regarding investment projects in Japan, alliances with Japanese companies and entry into the Japanese market. 

The firm said the office will also advise on legal issues relating to existing businesses and investments in Japan, including day-to-day corporate matters, labour issues and disputes, and will leverage “the close network of relationships that we have established with various leading firms in Europe over the past decades”. 

“Brussels is the regulatory as well as political centre of the EU and the place where the European Commission is seated,” AMT said. “It is attracting leading law firms from not only Europe but also from all over the world and, with its superior access to major European cities, our Brussels office makes it possible for us to promptly provide practical and strategic Japanese law advice.” 

For his part Hanamizu has been with AMT since 2002 and focuses his practice on corporate matters including corporate finance and structured finance. He also advises on financial regulations such as the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law and during his time at AMT has been seconded to Mannheimer Swartling in Stockholm and legacy firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques in Sydney. 

Meantime Kaneko, who joined AMT in 2012, brings experience in domestic and cross-border M&A, private equity, venture capital and competition law. AMT noted that his secondments at Slaughter and May in London and Uría Menéndez in Madrid as well as his qualification in common law and civil law jurisdictions strengthened his ability to advise international clients on doing business in Japan. 

Alongside Hanamizu and Kaneko, AMT also said that Tokyo-based partner Vassili Moussis, who was raised in Brussels and focuses his practice on EU and international competition law, will support the office and spend some of his time there. 

The Brussels office is AMT’s 10th outside of Japan, adding to its presence in Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Jakarta and Hanoi, where it opened last November. It also has three offices in Japan in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

AMT is one of the largest full-service international firms in Japan, home to more than 600 legal professionals. In December 2020, the firm set up a foreign law joint enterprise to allow its foreign lawyers to become partners, using the same structure that international law firms use to hire local lawyers in Japan.

In June that year, the firm launched an alliance with Singapore practice DOP Law Corporation to allow it to offer local legal advice, adding to similar arrangements in its Jakarta and Hong Kong offices where it has alliances with H&A Partners and Nakamura & Associates respectively.

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