Launch of Japan desk also strengthens the firm’s cross-border M&A practice, addressing end-to-end needs for Japanese companies in Singapore and Tokyo.
Withers KhattarWong, the Singapore office of international law firm Withers, has hired a new corporate partner Yutaka Sakashita, even as it prepares for regional expansion by Japanese companies that are based in Tokyo and Singapore.
The firm’s move to strengthen its cross-border mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) capabilities is based on its positive outlook on the growth of Japanese companies here and in Tokyo.
Withers’ view is supported by a recent Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) survey, which showed that more than 90% of Singapore-based Japanese companies will maintain or expand its presence here.
The number of Japanese companies planning to expand in Singapore has risen by 3.3% compared to 2021, indicating confidence in the growth potential within Singapore and the region, the survey added.
Singapore is home to the largest number of Japanese subsidiaries outside of Japan. The strong demand in the region from our Japanese clients drives Withers’ strategic move to launch the Japan Desk in Singapore. Over 40% of Japan’s outbound annual investment is focused on Southeast Asia, and Japan remains the region’s largest investor. We also foresee an increase in Japan-led projects across new economy sectors such as digital economy, technology, health services and green finance based on Japan’s Asia Energy Transition Initiative. With Yutaka’s appointment and the new Japan Desk, the firm is well-positioned to advise Japanese corporates based in Tokyo and Singapore.
Yutaka will lead the Japan Desk in Singapore and oversee its end-to-end service offerings for all inbound and outbound cross-border transactions and various corporate legal issues in the APAC region.
Yukata is one of a handful of Japanese lawyers based in Singapore who can advise on Japanese, Singapore and US law. His appointment will increase the depth and breadth of Withers’ global corporate capabilities, and create cross-border opportunities across offices in APAC, US and Europe.
Yutaka built his 15-year legal career with Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (“NO&T”) in Tokyo and Singapore, where he represented Japanese companies on their cross- border corporate transactions. At NO&T, he also advised private equity and venture capital firms based in Japan on their investments in APAC. He was named in the 2023 Edition of “The Best Lawyers in Japan” (International Business Transactions).
“I look forward to continue serving Japanese businesses that want to invest in the APAC region,” said Yutaka.
Yutaka’s hiring is the latest by Withers to strengthen its offerings to Japanese businesses. In October 2022, the firm hired Tokyo-based corporate M&A partner Kazumitsu (Kaz) Goto, followed by the November appointment of Hong Kong-based funds partner Simon Wong. Kaz, Simon and Yutaka will focus on building momentum for the firm’s international and cross-border M&A and funds practices.
Jeremy Wakeham, CEO of the Business Division, Withers, said: “Yutaka is well-
recognised among the vast but tightly-knit Japanese business community in Singapore for his track record in cross-border M&A work. His network and expertise is also valuable to our Tokyo office, which has established a stronghold in real estate and funds, and is growing its capabilities in corporate M&A. We are confident that our Japan Desk in Singapore, led by Yutaka and supported by our colleagues in Tokyo, will be a compelling value proposition to Japanese corporates with inbound and outbound cross- border transactional needs.”
“Withers provides a unique and strong proposition for Japanese clients, with its full- service offering in Singapore, leading corporate capabilities in Tokyo and a strong international network across Asia, Europe and the US,” said Yutaka.
Withers is an international law firm with a broad-ranging client base including multinational corporations, governments, international institutions and individuals and their businesses.
With over 200 partners and more than 450 other lawyers, we have unparalleled expertise in commercial, tax, trusts, estate planning, financial services, litigation and international arbitration, public international law, real estate, charities, philanthropy, employment, family law and other legal issues facing individuals and their families. The firm has advised 66% of the top 100 UK Sunday Times Rich List, 25% of the Forbes 400 List, 35% of the Hong Kong Forbes Rich List, and 35% of Forbes Asia’s Richest Families list.
In Asia alone, it has about 80 dedicated corporate lawyers across the region’s major financial hubs, with teams in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan that have the depth and diversity of expertise to advise on global M&As, JVs, strategic alliances, capital markets, corporate structuring and planning, private equity, corporate finance, financial services regulatory, real estate and international corporate tax.
Withers has 17 offices worldwide in London, New York, New Haven, Greenwich (Connecticut), Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Texas, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, the British Virgin Islands, Geneva, Milan, Padua and Cambridge.
For more, visit withersworldwide.com