Yusuke TAKAMIYA is Partner at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, one of the biggest and top-ranked law firms in Japan. Yusuke is currently serving as the International Competition Network’s Non-Governmental Advisor to the Japan Fair Trade Commission (“JFTC”), and the former researcher at the Competition Research Center of the JFTC. Yusuke graduated from University of Tokyo (LL.B.), New York University (LL.M.) and King’s College London (Pg. Dip.). Yusuke has completed the doctoral course in Kobe University and obtained Ph.D. in the fields of Antitrust/Competition laws. Yusuke is vigorously providing legal advice in international trade laws and tourism laws as well as Antitrust/Competition laws. Yusuke has served as a research assistant to Professor Eleanor M. Fox, an international visiting attorney at Washington DC office of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher mentored by Scott Hammond and an international consultant at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Yusuke is listed in number of well-known legal rankings including Chambers Asia Pacific, Who’s Who Legal, Best Lawyers and Global Competition Review’s 40 under 40.
In this interview with Asia Law Portal, Yusuke describes his practice and explains key matters in Antitrust/Competition Laws, International Trade Laws and Tourism Laws based on his expertise. In the course of the interview, he looks back his career and provides advice for fresh lawyers as well.
You are a Partner at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto specializing in Antitrust/Competition, International Trade and Tourism Laws. Tell us more about your practice.
My primary focus is the Antitrust/Competition where I have been handling numbers of high profile domestic/international Antitrust/Competition laws cases including cartels, merger filings, private monopolies, abuse of dominant/superior bargaining positions, unfair trade practices. I’ve been serving as a core member of Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s Antitrust/Competition law practice group, I regularly take leadership of the team, collaborate with attorneys and officials in numerous jurisdictions and provide legal advice. In Antitrust/Competition law practice, I not only advise on clients’ issues with the Antitrust/Competition authorities, but also involved in consultation relating to clients’ compliance with Antitrust/Competition laws. In addition to traditional Antitrust/Competition law issues, I’m energetically engage in the analysis and examination of legal issues under Antitrust/Competition laws when companies start brand new attempts in the fields such as metaverse, GPTs and green economy.
I’m active in International Trade Law fields as well. In the fields of International Trade Law, I advise regularly on regulations for direct investment in Japan (and abroad). I’m knowledgeable about a variety of cases related to anti-dumping duties and safeguards. I’m serving as a member of the Study Group on Trade Remedy Cases, which includes government officials, professors, and practitioners in the international trade laws community in Japan. In addition, I advise clients about economic sanctions, national security export controls, and US policies and regulations regarding direct investment.
Furthermore, I built up Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s Tourism Laws practice group. Though tourism will be one of the most promising industries to the future in Japan, there does not exist law practice focusing on the fields among Japanese legal market. I have established Tourism Laws practice group several years ago as the first attempt among the Big-4 law firm in Japan. Since its establishment, our Tourism Laws practice group has been actively engaging in publishing a comprehensive book featuring Tourism Laws in Japan, issuing various newsletter describing latest updates in tourism industry and providing advice on the relevant laws including Travel Agency Act and Hotel Business Act.
What led you to specialize in these areas of law?
I have many reasons why I chose to practice Antitrust/Competition laws. First, I was able to be involved in many important and interesting competition law cases from the beginning of my career. At the time I started working as a lawyer in 2009, there were plenty of interesting cases in every field of Antitrust/Competition laws, such as international cartels. Thus, I gained a lot of colorful experiences by handling those cases. Second, I was deeply impressed by the range of knowledge that the Antitrust/Competition law cases require. It is apparent that Antitrust/Competition law cases call for extensive legal expertise. At the same time, Antitrust/Competition lawyers are required to have significant knowledge in various other fields such as marketing and economic analysis. Third, I was attracted by the international aspects of Antitrust/Competition laws, one of the few legal fields in which universal approaches transcend national borders. I love working closely with lawyers all over the globe when handling competition law cases.
I have intense interests in International Trade Laws since it handles competition matters like Antitrust/Competition laws. Authentic International Trade Law matters such as disputes under WTO rules and anti-dumping matters among countries, ensuring fair competition among companies in different jurisdiction is core value to pursue. In this regard, my expertise on Antitrust/Competition laws are prevailing in the field. At the same time, International Trade Law practice has been expanding to include new legal issues such as economic sanctions and foreign direct investment rules. I prefer advising in such areas as well since the legal issues in such fields directly reflect fast moving global geopolitics, which is quite exciting.
As I mentioned, Tourism is one of the key industries in Japan for coming decades. Tourism Laws, however, is not sufficiently advised by lawyers in Japan. Since I love travel and sightseeing and have been providing various advice on clients active in travel agency business, hotel and ryokan business and transportation business, it is quite natural for me to establish brand new Tourism Law practice group in my firm and am proactively broadening the practice.
What are some notable legal issues you have acted on in your current practice?
Most notable legal issues in Antitrust/Competition laws are apparently its relationship with ESG or green matters. ESG matters are one of the most important economic/social goals in the coming ages. We need to pay attention to the compliance of Antitrust/Competition law matters when businesses pursue business considering ESG. In my capacity of a member of the JFTC’s advising committee for establishing “Green Guidelines,” I’m energetically providing my expertise on the field to the relevant discussions in Japan and other jurisdictions. Other challenging issues in antitrust/competition laws may be the analysis of cross shareholding among competitors. Since shareholding structure in capital markets becomes extremely complex in these days. We perhaps need to address Antitrust/Competition law impacts of such shareholding structure although it is quite difficult and time-consuming tasks. In addition to above, how to ensure free and fair competition landscape remains one of the top Antitrust/Competition law issues still now.
In International Trade Law fields, supply chain management is probably one of the hottest issues as well as traditional trade law disputes including anti-dumping duties. Currently, more and more numbers of globally active companies are paying attention to strengthen their compliance in human rights, environmental issues, and other economic national security matters in their entire supply chains. In the process of such attempts, we need to pay attention to assess economic sanction laws and multijurisdictional export control regulations. To go through such assessment, we need to obtain supports from attorneys all over the world, but it is quite exciting challenge.
In Tourism Law fields, I assume that modernizing major rules regulating the industry is one of the most important challenges. As repeatedly mentioned, it is crystal clear that tourism is the top prioritized business in coming ages in Japan, relevant rules regulating the business seem a bit old-fashioned. To invite more and more entrants from rest of the business and rest of the world, we need to upgrade the structure of the relevant regulations in some days in the future.
What are some of the most important challenges and opportunities you currently see for businesses?
Businesses need to pay extra care on non-profit matters in conducting their business as well as profitable matters in recent or coming years. It is obvious that generating profit is the most important goal for business activities. I assume, however, without paying enough attention to matters which are not directly connecting to profitable activities such as ESGs, geo-political matters and compliance works, companies could not earn sufficient profits these years. Then, whether you like or not, businesses need to care about such “new” value when they conduct their business.
You are a Non-Government Advisor in International Competition Network. Tell us more about this.
Serving as a Non-Government Advisor in International Competition Network is exciting job. There are plenty of chances to speak with governmental officials in other antitrust/competition authorities and private practitioners focusing Antitrust/Competition laws in other jurisdictions. Since antitrust/competition laws are relatively universal compared to other legal fields as mentioned, I could make use of my expertise which I obtained when I advise to the clients and have a presentation in advisory board in Japan in front of my speaking engagement in the forum of International Competition Network. I would like to expand my engagement in the ICN more to the future.
What have been your keys to success in your legal career in Japan?
Well, perhaps finding the “right” field is a key to make success in one’s legal career in Japan. Apparently legal market in Japan is quite competitive like other jurisdictions. It seems worth noting that there are enough room for every lawyer to have a good position to involve in wonderful cases when he/she finds places he/she can dive in and devoting to for a long time. Japanese companies particularly trust lawyers who has good sense of the fields of law and good knowledge about what other companies are doing. Then, finding the “right” field and continue working in the area for certain time might be one of the key factors to make success.
How can clients and referral sources contact you?
Please feel free to email me via Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s website below:
You could also contact me via LinkedIn Messaging. Then, I will provide my professional email address in a timely manner.