Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (MHM), one of Japan’s “big four” law firms, is set to become the second Japanese law firm to have a base in Myanmar, after Nishimura & Asahi opened a Yangon office in May last year.
The firm said the move came in response to “a recent increase in demand for legal support from Japanese lawyers conveniently located to provide on-site services in Myanmar, as a result of rapid expansion in Myanmar by Japanese companies.”
MHM aims to open the new office in the spring of 2014 following regulatory approval from the Myanmar regulators.
The Yangon office will be headed by corporate and finance partner Takeshi Mukawa, currently a co-representative partner of the firm’s Singapore office. Mukawa will be joined in Yangon by several other attorneys, according to a statement issued by Mori Hamada.
Yangon will be the firm’s fourth office outside Japan after Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and a Bangkok desk, which is stationed in the offices of Thai firm Chandler & Thong-ek.
Mori Hamada is also primed for domestic expansion, and is scheduled to open an office in Osaka – its third office in Japan – on April 1.
The Osaka office will focus on corporate, M&A, finance, intellectual property, litigation and alternative dispute resolution matters. The office will initially be staffed by corporate and finance partner Takuya Eguchi, as well as associates Hirokazu Hayashi and Takamasa Sato.
As Japanese companies continue to expand in Southeast Asia, Japan’s “big four” law firms too are following their clients abroad.
Mori Hamada & Matsumoto and Nishimura & Asahi both opened offices in Singapore in 2012, while Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu and Anderson Mori & Tomotsune set up offices in Singapore in January and November last year, respectively.a