Linklaters builds in Japan with corporate partner from Nishimura & Asahi

Hire of Yoshiyuki Asaoka follows magic circle firm adding Ashurst’s Tokyo M&A and Asia insurance sector lead last spring

Linklaters has bolstered its corporate offering in Japan with a partner hire from local heavyweight Nishimura & Asahi. 

Yoshiyuki Asaoka’s practice covers inbound and outbound M&A, other strategic transactions, corporate governance and corporate litigation. Qualified in Japanese law, he focuses on the private equity, financial services and TMT sectors. 

Linklaters’ Asia head of corporate, Sophie Mathur, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Yoshiyuki into our corporate practice. His arrival will enhance the joint-law capability of our Tokyo corporate practice and will bolster our capabilities and client servicing in Japan and across our network.”

Asaoka has joined as Linklaters’ ninth partner in Tokyo, where the firm has north of 45 lawyers. His practice dovetails nicely with the office’s capability in cross-border matters, particularly in the capital markets sphere. Chambers noted the Tokyo team is a “popular choice for its capacity to coordinate transactions into the European market” and frequently works on a mix of inbound and outbound deals for clients including major international. 

Recent transactions work includes advising the underwriters on Nippon Steel Corporation's issuance of ¥300bn zero coupon convertible bonds and French private equity company Ardian on the formation and private placement of Clean H2 Infra Fund, the world’s largest clean hydrogen infrastructure investment fund. 

Linklaters’ Japan managing partner, Peter Frost, added: “We are thrilled to welcome Yoshiyuki to our Tokyo office. His combination of skills and experience will reinforce our standing as an integrated dual law team and allow us to continue supporting our clients on their strategic growth and investment.”

Asaoka’s arrivals follows Linklaters’ adding Ashurst’s Tokyo M&A and Asia insurance sector lead, Tracy Whiriskey, as a partner  in the city last spring. 

And the previous December the firm also re-hired its former China practice head Betty Yap, who specialises in handling cross-border M&A, strategic investments, joint ventures and foreign direct investments involving China, from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison in Hong Kong. 

Top 40 UK law firm Watson Fraley & Williams added a team of lawyers including two partners from White & Case to open an office in Tokyo last month, which the firm said at the time would initially focus on asset and structured finance in the aviation and maritime sectors and offer both Japanese and English law advice. 

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