AI Magazine Issue 1 2017

28 Acquisition International - January 2017 As one of the ‘Big Four’ law firms in Japan, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune offer a full range of legal services with a significant level of expertise in each discipline, providing an exceptionally powerful value proposition. This interview with the firm’s partner, Hitoshi Ishihara, reveals more about the wide-ranging and impressive expertise of this law firm which has won many prestigious awards, the most recent being the Leading Gaming Law Advisor of the Year award, and the firm’s focus on the upcoming change to the Japanese gaming regulation. irst of all, can you give an overview of what Anderson Mori & Tomotsune does? As one of the ‘Big Four’ law firms in Japan, we offer a full range of legal services with a significant level of expertise in each discipline, providing an exceptionally powerful value proposition. Housing all of these synergistic practices under one roof, we are well-positioned to: • Serve a wide client base; • Provide prompt and accurate advice across a broader spectrum of legal issues; and • Handle the largest transactions in Japan, including those which are cross-sector and extremely complex. Our combined expertise enables us to deliver advice on virtually all legal issues that may arise from a corporate transaction, including M&A, finance, capital markets, restructuring/insolvency and litigation/arbitration. As a result of our efforts to achieve excellence, Chambers and Partners have quoted us as “one of Japan’s leading commercial law firms with a strong international focus” having an “especially strong tradition of handling cross-border mandates, acting for offshore clients seeking to invest in Japan”. We have also been honoured with the ‘Japan Law Firm of the Year’ award multiple times by entities such as Chambers, Who’s Who Legal and Asian Legal Business. How long has the firm been going for and where are your offices based? We have one of the longest histories of serving overseas companies in Japan of all the Japanese international law firms today, tracing back for over 50 years. Our founding partners, James B. Anderson and Arthur Mori were lawyers who came to Japan in the 1950’s as two of the early American legal pioneers to establish a truly cross-cultural, cross-border practice. Quite naturally, their practice focused on serving foreign people doing business in Japan. To this day, we continue to build on our historical roots and experience in serving the overseas, multinational business community while continuing to expand our wide client base of Japanese firms. This is one of the features which distinguishes us from most (if not all) of the other major Japanese law firms. Our main office is in Tokyo. We also maintain offices in Nagoya, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bangkok, and also operate a Jakarta Desk. Can you tell me about your expertise as a gaming advisor? What areas do you advise on in terms of gaming? Under current Japanese legislation, once a game is viewed as gambling, it would become per- se illegal, so for gaming companies to conduct business legally in Japan, they must establish a ‘non-gambling’ business model. This requires very careful analysis of the laws and the facts, and also creative inputs understanding the Japanese legal system, which is one area of my expertise. I also have represented various clients seeking to conduct other gaming related operations in Japan. Some recent deals that I have advised in respect of, for instance, include M&A transactions, IP licensing/ acquisitions, development and introduction of various gaming apps, advertisements regulation, operation of quasi online-casino, and endorsement deals with brands and celebrities. In addition to such a barrier of entry in the gaming business, doing business in Japan in itself is quite a different proposition from doing business in ones own jurisdiction. The language, the culture and the legal system are all very different. I try to ‘de-mystify’ the experience of doing business in Japan by explaining things in terms which are both familiar and understandable to my overseas clients. I am familiar with the challenges faced by non-Japanese investors doing business in Japan and believe that our firm is a leader in providing the level of legal service in Japan to which overseas companies are accustomed to receiving in their home jurisdiction. Do you have any plans for the future that you would like to share with our readers? On December 15th 2016, the Japanese Diet enacted the Act Promoting Implementation of Specified Integrated Resort Areas, or more commonly referred to as the Japanese ‘casino law’, with the aim to establish an integrated resort including casino facilities to be operated by a private entity. Name: Hitoshi Ishihara Company: Anderson Mori & Tomotsune Email: hitoshi.ishihara@ Web: Address: Akasaka K-Tower, 2-7, Motoakasaka 1-chome Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0051, Japan Phone: +81 3 6888 1165 Japan’s Gaming Reform F 1701AI35 “I try to ‘de-mystify’ the experience of doing business in Japan.”