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Providing Bespoke Advice Based on Your Business Needs

➢Band 1 – Employment in Japan
Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022

➢Tier 2 – Labour and Employment : Independent local firms
The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2022

➢Labour and Employment Law Firm of the Year
Asian Legal Business (ALB)-Japan Law Awards 2022

Advice to help you

We are fully aware of the areas of employment law that are unique in Japan and can provide you with practical and strategic advice on how to deal with employment and benefits issues that arise “only in Japan”. We provide proactive advice on how to deal with any issues that you may have, rather than just pointing out the risks.

Kazuki Okada has a unique background in that he used to represent employees and trade unions for twenty years before joining a global law firm in 1999. Such background gives us helpful insight on how employees and unions will act in employment disputes. This allows us to provide you with practical advice on how to deal with such disputes. Increasingly, disgruntled employees in Japan join external unions, so Kazuki’s experience has been very useful to clients when strategizing about how to deal with unions.

Akiko Yamakawa has been working on employment and labour matters for her whole career. She is fully bilingual and provides practical and proactive advice on issues that international companies operating in Japan commonly face. She also has extensive experience in representing clients in labour tribunals and employment related litigation and dealing with the labour authorities.

Terminations and overtime are key concerns

Termination based on redundancy or poor performance and managing the costs of overtime work are the most common issues faced by global companies operating in Japan. We can provide you with strategic advice on how to deal with them. While it is often said that “termination is difficult” in Japan, we take a proactive approach and provide strategic advice on how to manage out poor performers or carry out large scale redundancies. We won a ground-breaking court decision on overtime issues relating to white-collar employees and have extensive experience in providing advice on how to structure overtime compensation, dealing with overtime disputes and negotiating with the labour authorities.

Clients turn to us with sensitive matters

We are regularly called upon to advise international and domestic clients on sensitive corporate governance matters and boardroom issues. We have advised a number of major corporations on high-profile executive appointments and terminations. Clients often seek our assistance in their most worrisome cases, including criminal and regulatory investigations where misconduct by executives or employees is suspected.

A strong record of success

Our lawyers thrive on challenging work. Many of our cases are complex disputes requiring high quality, co-ordinated advice. We also frequently deal with legal issues when there is no precedent and when standard legal advice has run out. If your employment issue or employment dispute involves complex facts or difficult legal issues then we have the experience to help you.

A full service practice

We can advise you on all other aspects of employment and benefits related issues, from documentation, such as offer letters and work rules, advice on how to amend the terms and conditions of employment and structuring executive pay and incentive schemes. We can also advise you on other common concerns such as managing employees with performance or disciplinary issues, structuring non-compete clauses, dealing with new hires who have non-compete obligations, advising on sexual harassment and power harassment, managing employees who claim they have mental illness problems and dealing with inspections by the labour authorities.

We also provide employment and labour law advice in relation to corporate transactions, including conducting due diligence on employment and labour law issues, negotiating with labour unions and advising on integration of working terms and conditions.

Our employment group is highly regarded for its services. We offer practical commercial advice – our lawyers understand the legal and practical realities in Japan as well as corporate cultures of international companies.

Representing you in Japanese court

Our lawyers are fully licensed to practise Japanese law and we represent both local and international clients in litigation proceedings covering a wide range of issues and industry sectors. We have been involved in some of the most high-profile disputes in Japan, many of which involved cutting-edge legal issues. We have won landmark decisions in the Japanese courts, in particular a ruling on overtime compensation for white-collar employees – a decision affecting all of corporate Japan.

Selected matters

Our experience includes advising:

  • ・various multinational companies on large scale redundancies
  • ・on employment related matters in connection with a joint venture between a multinational investment bank and a Japanese financial institution
  • ・a major Japanese bank on various employment related issues and litigations including sexual harassment and reinstatement claims by former officers and employees
  • ・a major UK retail company on various employment issues including advising on their plans for restructuring
  • ・a major US financial information services firm on various employment issues including termination of poor performers, plans for restructuring and representing the firm in various employment related litigations
  • ・a major US manufacturing firm on its disputes with a trade union relating to the closure of its plant in Japan
  • ・a global technology company in court to win a dismissal case; and
  • ・a major global financial institution on various litigations, including successful litigations relating to overtime work and various reinstatement claims by former employees