Japan's Atsumi & Sakai Launches Ho Chi Minh City Office


JapaneseJapanese law firm Atsumi & Sakai opened its first Southeast Asian office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, expanding into the burgeoning regional market. Based in the Bitexco Financial Tower, the new office known as Atsumi & Sakai Vietnam Law Firm will have two Japanese and one Vietnamese lawyer resident and shall handle such matters as cross-border mergers and acquisitions, legal due diligence, and dispute resolution.

Of counsel Katsunori Irie, a Japanese lawyer registered as a foreign lawyer in Vietnam, is to lead the Ho Chi Minh City office. Of counsel Thi Ngoc Anh Mai and associate Taisuke Oikawa will join him there. Atsumi & Sakai has operated since 2011 through its alliance with A-PAC International Law Firm in Hanoi, providing legal advice primarily to Japanese companies impacted by the need either to establish a presence in Vietnam or to consider the potential of Vietnam.

"Our Ho Chi Minh office will let timely, on-ground support be provided to our clients looking to grow their business in Vietnam and more widely across Southeast Asia", said the firm in a statement, saying the new office will help clients navigate regional legal issues.

The new office will become Atsumi & Sakai's fifth overseas office, joined by New York, London, Frankfurt, and Brussels—the latter was launched this May. It will use its worldwide network to handle big cases and it says it will continue to build up its Vietnam practice in line with demand from clients.

Japan is well out the third-largest source of foreign investment in Vietnam and its fourth-largest trading partner, as bilateral trade reached $50 billion last year. Japanese multinationals are among the largest foreign investors in Vietnam, including Canon, Honda, Panasonic, and Bridgestone, underscoring the strategic importance of Atsumi & Sakai's new office.

The move makes Atsumi & Sakai the most recent among some of Japan's most prominent law firms to establish a presence in Vietnam, joining Nishimura & Asahi, TMI Associates, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, and Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, all based either in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, or both cementing, if not already, that Japanese legal firms are fast expanding to the Vietnamese market.

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