During 2020, Japan felt the effects of the covid-19 pandemic on its patent scene keenly. According to statistics released by the Japan Patent Office (JPO), June 2020 marked the first month when patent applications increased year on year – by just 0.5% – but this figure dropped again by a precipitous 6% in the following month. By November, the JPO had received over 17,000 fewer applications throughout the first 11 months compared to the same period the previous year. In response, JPO Commissioner Toshihide Kasutani advised Japanese companies to reduce their maintenance costs by cutting back on patent renewals so as to free up investment for patent rights to protect new inventions. However, local businesses had other plans. Kasutani later acknowledged in his 2021 new year’s greeting that nearly half of Japanese companies planned to reduce patent filings for the coming year. Consequently, 2021 looks set to be another challenging year for Japanese innovation.
- AOYAMA & PARTNERS
- Nakamura & Partners
- Shiga International Patent Office
- TMI Associates
- YUASA and HARA
- Abe, Ikubo & Katayama
- Fukami Patent Office
- ITOH International Patent Office
- Saegusa & Partners
- SUGIMURA & Partners
- Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Kyowa Patent & Law Office
- RYUKA IP Law Firm
- Seiwa Patent & Law
- Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office
- SOEI Patent & Law Firm
- Sonderhoff & Einsel Law and Patent Office
- Sonoda & Kobayashi Intellectual Property Law
Abe, Ikubo & Katayama
Dominating the litigation table for the 10th year running, Abe, Ikubo & Katayama is a premium contentious outfit for resolving domestic and multi-jurisdictional patent problems. A standout for its specialisation in the life sciences field, the illustrious set has no trouble handling a broad range of technology. “Well known in and outside Japan,” managing partner Eiji Katayama steals the spotlight for his terrific track record in high-stakes cross-border lawsuits. Star litigator Junichi Kitahara has his hands full representing the likes of Radiometer and Apple in patent infringement suits, while collaborating with “healthcare specialist and fluent English speaker” Mami Hino in an invalidation trial for Eli Lilly. Not to be outdone, New York-qualified Makoto Hattori has defended Fujifilm Corporation against Sony in multiple patent infringement cases and obtained a judgement that awarded the second highest damages in the history of such cases in Japan. On the non-contentious front, Hiroshi Kobayashi captains the IP prosecution department, bringing years of in-house experience at Dow Japan and Pfizer Japan to bear, drafting ironclad patent specifications.
Full-service law firm Anderson Mōri & Tomotsune is one of the biggest in Japan, with an equally comprehensive IP practice that counts prosecution, dispute resolution and transactions among its full suite of services. IP practice leader Yasufumi Shiroyama is “the firm’s leading IP lawyer”. While Miki Goto is trained in physics and engineering, his colleagues Yoshikazu Iwase and Masayuki Yamanouchi focus on the fields of life sciences and chemistry respectively. PhD holder in biochemistry Makoto Ono is someone to have on speed dial when it comes to prosecuting agro-chemistry and pharmaceutical patents.
“Aoyama & Partners is a leading full-service patent firm in Osaka. Their advice is practical and service is of very high quality – very responsive, with fast turnaround.” “I have always been of the opinion that they are one of the best, if not the best patent law firm in Japan. What we value most is their dedication, professionalism, kindness and in particular, their language skills.” On the back of such effusive feedback from foreign associates on its “very strong patent practice”, Aoyama & Partners rises to the gold tier of the prosecution table. Home to an ever-growing army of patent attorneys – the side recently added another nine to a total of over 100 – group is kept busy prosecuting a rising volume of Japanese patent applications. Making his way up the prosecution table, Hiroshi Tamura wins accolades for being “a very good strategist” and “an excellent communicator who understands the deepest technical and legal nuances.” He is increasingly involved in advising on multi-jurisdictional oppositions involving medical devices. “Hiroshi is indeed outstanding: his English is almost as good as his Japanese. He is a very good engineer, with excellent technical skills. And he works for his clients with an extremely high level of dedication. In several instances, he has worked until and after the middle of the night to provide highly-valued contributions that culminated in us winning the case.” “Hiroshi is the best Japanese lawyer I have ever met. Sometimes, he provides ideas that we have not even thought of. He is truly experienced in overseas cases.” Fellow co-CEO Norihito Yamao is another patent expert, especially in the fields of metallurgy, materials science and solid-state chemistry. “Undoubtedly a leading figure in patents in Japan, Norihito provides very sound legal advice and we are highly impressed.” Sanae Genba and Masayuki Okunishi, experts in the fields of chemistry and material processing respectively, deserve a mention too. “An extremely hard working and knowledgeable lawyer, Sanae facilitates productive meetings with Japanese clients, while Masayuki assists in uncovering difficult-to-find Japanese prior art and providing excellent validity analyses.”
Fukami Patent Office
Fukami Patent Offices is one of the largest patent firms in Osaka, staffed by 88 patent attorneys, including 47 IP infringement litigators, and 10 patent engineers spread across outposts in Tokyo and Nagoya. It offers the full range of patent services, with a prolific patent filing practice – involving over 1,800 foreign clients and associates and filings in over 180 jurisdictions – a particular stand out. Yoshitake Kihara presides over the firm.
From its humble beginnings over half a century ago as a specialist destination for electrical and mechanical patents, ITOH International Patent Office has transformed into a full-service offering covering cutting-edge technologies, from AI to fintech. With an extensive team of 61 patent attorneys, including 14 IP litigation attorneys, along with a handful of patent attorneys qualified in the United States, China and Korea, the Tokyo-based firm is always on standby to meet the IP needs of clients. President Tadashige Itoh is a name for the address book.
The small but mighty KUBOTA makes its sophomore appearance in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. Since going independent in 2015, the firm has never looked back – recently adding another two lawyers to its agile team of 13. The side is largely preoccupied with sophisticated lawsuits in the pharmaceuticals and telecoms fields. Its impressive track record includes resolving a FRAND litigation for IP Bridge and emerging victorious in a patent dispute on behalf of Honeywell. At the same time, it is representing Broad Institute in a series of patent cases regarding the CRISPR Cas 9 technology, as well as Merck in a high-profile invalidation action against Pfizer. Eiichiro Kubota is the mastermind behind much of this meteoric rise. Peers acknowledge that he is “a good lawyer”, who enjoys “an excellent reputation with both Japanese and foreign companies, especially since he speaks English very well”. One happy client proclaims: “I like Eiichiro and his work a lot and I wanted to keep working with him after he started his own firm. On our multi-jurisdictional cases, he is heavily involved in preparing legal documents and appearing in court. His team joins calls with legal teams in other countries to share advice and strategy, even when the timing of the calls is not very convenient for them.”
Established in 1908, Kyowa Patent & Law Office has roots in the JPO – founder Tatsujiro Uchimura was a former examiner. Constantly reinventing itself, the historic outfit prosecutes patents through 60 patent attorneys divided into three broad technical groups in the mechanical, electrical and chemical fields. Not only do they collaborate actively across departments, they even form special teams for every client to ensure that all their IP needs are met. Managing partner Yukitaka Nakamura is the person to keep on speed dial.
Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
Full-service firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s six outposts across Asia allow it to address a host of patent issues seamlessly. With its multiple licensing deals and agreements spearheaded by Atsushi Okada, the outfit moves into the highly recommended tier this year. The trusted advisor to massive Japanese conglomerates negotiating cross-border licence agreements with multinational corporations, Okada is also the favoured litigator for pharmaceutical patent lawsuits. With “his deep knowledge in the area of life sciences and consideration towards clients”, he often appears before the IP High Court and Supreme Court on behalf of brand name drug manufacturers. Garlanded with heartfelt praise from foreign associates, Yoshifumi Onodera has the ear of marquee clients. “Yoshi is a very entrepreneurial lawyer, which is hard to find in the Japanese market. He understands that Western clients expect clear business advice, not just a thorough legal analysis. He is also an excellent negotiator, and I strongly recommend him when complicated licensing negotiations are stuck.” “Yoshi does a great job of keeping on top of internal and external deadline, making sure that everything is properly reviewed in time for filing. He is also very good at explaining Japanese procedures.”
Nakamura & Partners
Nakamura & Partners is not only gold ranked in both the prosecution and litigation tables, it features the highest number of ranked individuals in the Japan: domestic chapter. “Very experienced” and a titan in all things intellectual property, the leading firm is backed by 59 patent attorneys and 19 attorneys at law spread across three technical departments in the Tokyo office. As a true one-stop shop, the team handles a large volume of incoming patent filing matters on behalf of famous foreign corporations. It is no stranger to resolving egregious patent disputes – Yoshio Kumakura is “very energetic” in the local IP scene, with an impressive track record at the Supreme Court. Leading the way are representative partners Kazuhiko Yoshida and Hiroyuki Suda. While star litigator Yoshida recently represented SIG Technology AG in a patent revocation case before the IP High Court, Suda busies himself with prosecuting patents for polymer materials and semiconductors. Covering all bases, Hironobu Hattori takes the lead on chemical and biotech matters, complementing California-qualified Takeo Nasu who takes the lead for cases in the fields of electronics, computers and telecommunication engineering. International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) president Koichi Tsujii rounds off the set.
Nishimura & Asahi
The largest general law firm in Japan, Nishimura & Asahi is reaching ever greater heights with a new office in Germany and a formal law alliance with a Singapore outfit. Its expansive geographic reach enables the multitalented IP group to easily manage multi-jurisdictional patent issues, especially in the disputes and transactions spaces. Serving as global legal counsel, the set recently conducted IP due diligence and negotiated complex, billion-dollar IP licence agreements for Honda Motor. Besides leading the trademark team, Hitomi Iwase often dispenses advise on IP-related M&A deals. Yoshiyuki Miyashita takes centre stage for patent litigation cases.
For its second appearance in the IAM Patent 1000, Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners remains preoccupied with pharma-related patent disputes on behalf of a largely domestic clientele. Supported by 28 IP lawyers stationed in the Osaka headquarters and Tokyo outpost, IP captain Takamitsu Shigetomi and his right-hand man Toshiya Furusho make a formidable duo. Having successfully obtained a favourable decision from the IP High Court for B Braun against CR Bard, Inc, they continue to represent Genentech in a pioneer case regarding patent infringement litigation that involves biosimilar products. Their patent disputes practice is not limited to Japan either – they advised Ono Pharmaceutical against the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on US proceedings. Shigetomi is a member of the AIPPI standing committee on standards and patents, while Furusho is a new face in the Japan: domestic chapter who currently leads as vice chairman of Osaka Bar Association’s IP committee.
OHNO & PARTNERS
Founded by gold-ranked litigator Seiji Ohno, the eponymous Tokyo-based OHNO & PARTNERS has set its sights on IP disputes since its inception in 2000. Companies of all stripes will find nine IP lawyers and 17 patent attorneys cooperating closely to ensure that IP rights are defended in the courtroom. Besides lecturing on IP law at the Keio Law School, Ohno is an authoritative figure in the local IP community, revered for his phenomenal track record.
RYUKA IP Law Firm
“Visionary founder Akihiro Ryuka set up Ryuka IP Law Firm in 1998, where he cultivates a professional team of patent attorneys to take on challenges and responsibilities by providing legal and technical insights as well as practical business advice to clients.” With the addition of two US attorneys to its arsenal of 38 Japanese patent attorneys, the IP boutique prosecutes patents in the fields of electronics and mechanics effortlessly, working through an in-house translation team and software to maintain stellar quality. President Ryuka himself is an electrical engineer and a California attorney at law.
“Saegusa & Partners is responsible, reliable and very experienced, with good advice on difficult cases.” “It is a great advantage to have skilful Japanese patent attorneys communicating directly with local inventors. This has guaranteed efficient patent drafting and high-quality applications wherein details are not lost in translation.” Over the past 75 years, the Osaka-based firm and its 24 patent attorneys have been working mostly with Japanese companies – especially those in the chemical, biotech and pharmaceutical fields – but they are quickly gaining ground worldwide. They recently added a German chemical company to their list of clients. Foreign associates wax lyrical about the “personal touch” that chemical division captain Masaki Morishima brings. “The specialty of Masaki’s service is his individual approach. He puts in effort to provide us with an overview of the Japanese IP system that we can use to our business’s benefit. He is familiar with the patent systems in Europe as well, which makes our cooperation easier.” “I’m impressed by Masaki’s knowledge and practical approach. He does not only present Japanese patent law, he provides practical examples and tips on avoiding pitfalls before the JPO. In particular, I truly appreciate that I communicate directly with Masaki and not via paralegals.” Morishima also wins plaudits for communicating well with inventors, contacting them directly to discuss invention details so as to draft watertight applications.
Sakurazaka Law Offices
Despite its young age – having been established only in 2015 – Sakurazaka Law Offices comes highly recommended by peers for being “very active and a really good choice, especially with their strengths in the pharmaceutical and electronics fields”. Laser-focused on IP litigation, the compact but mighty set of five founding, seasoned lawyers are no stranger to resolving complex IP disputes. Formerly an IP judge at the Tokyo High Court, the “highly respected” Harumi Kojo is a commanding presence in the local IP community. “She is the firm’s top lawyer, handling a lot of IP cases. She’s also a very nice person!”
Seiwa Patent & Law
Focused on the life sciences space, Seiwa Patent & Law provides “responsive and strategy-oriented” advice to companies seeking to protect their IP rights in Japan. Through an impressive 100 patent attorneys and five attorneys at law, as well as an extensive global network, the IP firm habitually achieves excellent filing results. Specialising in chemistry and biology, Yoichi Watanabe helms the life sciences practice.
Shiga International Patent Office
Shiga International Patent Office needs no introduction in the Japan: domestic chapter. The largest patent filing firm in the country garners fervent praise from foreign associates for “always producing solid and reliable work” through its vast ensemble of 144 Japanese patent and trademark attorneys. “A highly trusted partner for our prosecution work, Shiga has a strong reputation in Japan with enviable international clients. They are well-respected throughout the world, particularly the United States, Europe and China.” “Shiga provides professional, high-quality work for a reasonable price, backed by a lot of experience with international clients. They also have the capability to work on German cases and fully adapt to our processes.” “The team demonstrates strong technical skills, whereas the firm is recognised for providing thought leadership in Japan on IP issues.” President Yasuhiko Murayama is often singled out by foreign associates and clients alike for his outstanding leadership, which has placed Shiga firmly on the map. “It is always a pleasure to work with Yasuhiko. Not only is he very patent savvy, he is an extremely hardworking businessman and patent attorney, with a genuine kindness about himself. The firm is reflective of his work ethic and interpersonal style.” “My go-to person for patent prosecution in Japan, Yasuhiko is friendly and trustworthy. I know he will expertly handle my clients’ patent portfolios in Japan and provide timely and accurate information.” He is supported by vice presidents Shinya Jitsuhiro and Masato Iida – the former used to be a JPO examiner specialising in chemistry and biotechnology, while the latter is an expert in the life sciences field. “Masato has a deep understanding of patent prosecution and case law in the immuno-oncology space, especially those related to therapeutic antibodies. I have recommended him to many colleagues and I will continue to do so.” “His work is very impressive. Besides communicating promptly and dealing with cases in good time, he provides professional and applicable advice regarding pharmaceutical and cutting-edge technologies to the satisfaction of our clients. He also offers different options to office actions alongside comments on the consequences, which helps our clients to make a decision.” Trained in engineering, Tatsuhiko Abe brings up the rear with his specialty in materials science.
Thanks to founder Masayuki Shobayashi’s close connections to the JPO, Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office boasts the highest number of former JPO personnel – 24 – among local patent firms. Working alongside the team of 67 patent attorneys spread across 11 departments, these seasoned patent practitioners navigate the Japanese patent landscape with ease. The patent firm was also recently the first in the country to be welcomed as a WIPO GREEN partner. While Shobayashi has his eye on expanding IP portfolios and asset management, former IBM in-house counsel Satoshi Watanabe and licensing group captain Hiro Takahori advise on IP transactions. Biochemist Yuichi Niiyama deserves a mention too: “Yuichi’s strong expertise in the healthcare industry gave me a very good impression when we worked together on a technical due diligence matter.”
SOEI Patent & Law Firm
Founded in 1988, SOEI Patent & Law Firm has blossomed into a substantial IP practice made up of over 120 Japanese and foreign lawyers and patent attorneys stationed in Japan, Washington DC and Bangkok, who work together seamlessly to prosecute patent applications for both foreign and domestic companies. Former chief justice of the IP High Court Ryuichi Shitara chairs the side.
Sonderhoff & Einsel Law and Patent Office
German roots and strong European ties characterise Sonderhoff & Einsel Law and Patent Office. Not only does the team provide services in English, German, Chinese and Japanese, they know the cultural ins and outs of Europe, the United States, China and Japan. The full-service law firm is also a member of MSI Global Alliance, allowing it to draw upon the advice of more than 250 legal and accounting firms to serve client needs in audit, corporate and IP issues. Managing partner Felix-Reinhard Einsel is a name to have on standby.
Growing from strength to strength, Sonoda & Kobayashi Intellectual Property Law recently added a former US patent examiner to its ranks and expanded its translation and interpretation services beyond intellectual property. Backed by nearly 40 highly trained patent professionals and a multicultural roster of employees from 13 countries, with nine languages between them, the firm prosecutes patents for a predominantly foreign clientele. Managing partner Yoshitaka Sonoda is most comfortable working in the fields of physics, nuclear technology and fluid mechanics.
IP boutique SUGIMURA & Partners is well known among foreign associates. “The team has a deep knowledge and understanding of automobiles, industrial technology and advanced driver-assistance systems. They are well organised and highly flexible in responding to customer requests and requirements too, with very well-structured processes to handle cases professionally.” “Besides being very communicative and working in a very accurate and timely manner, they have an in-depth understanding of complex technology which leads to successful results. Their ideas are useful and they take efficiency into consideration, striking a balance between the two. They’ve also cultivated a very close relationship with our German representatives, facilitating our daily work.” “Through its in-house translation team, the firm can better capture technical accuracy and linguistic nuances to produce high quality patent specifications. Communication with the team is smooth and clear as well – I especially like that most attorneys and administrators are very proficient in English and have strong communication skills.” Kenji Sugimura presides over the ensemble of 79 patent attorneys and six attorneys at law in the Tokyo headquarters, as well as the handful of US-qualified patent professionals in the Silicon Valley outpost. An active member of the local IP community, he is the vice president and secretary general of the International Federation of IP Attorneys, Japan.
For top-notch patent services in prosecution, litigation and transactions at “competitive charges”, clients need look no further than TMI Associates. One of the Big Five law firms in town, it is the only entry in the Japan: domestic chapter to sweep up the top spots in all the tables for its comprehensive patent offering enjoyed by multinational corporations around the world. Satisfied clients cannot help but gush: “TMI has always shown the utmost dedication and professionalism. Their speed and quality of service is excellent too. I highly recommend them.” “Attentive, competent and pleasant to work with, TMI is one of our favourite teams for SEP cases in the telecom field.” The firm just opened its sixth office in Fukuoka to accommodate its arsenal of 200 patent professionals, including 65 patent attorneys and 80 IP lawyers, who file 2,500 patent applications and over 20 IP lawsuits a year. Managing partner Yoshiyuki Inaba is an old hand at all things intellectual property, with “unique insight of Japanese patent law through more than 45 years of experience. It is great to cooperate with him.” Familiar faces in Japanese courts, Hiroshi Nemoto and Makoto Okada are occupied with resolving IP disputes for foreign and domestic entities. Where New York-qualified Nemoto shines for his high-profile cases, Okada successfully defended Digi-Key Corporation and RayVio Corporation in a cross-border patent infringement dispute against Nitride Semiconductors. “Makoto may not have an engineering degree but he understands the gist of technology well enough, and with the support of an excellent team, he has represented us to our satisfaction.” On the licensing front, Toyotaka Abe wins plaudits: he is “prompt and very well versed in local patent laws”. Japanese patent attorney Yukio Oishi is singled out as “another notable partner”.
YUASA and HARA
Gold-ranked IP boutique YUASA and HARA excels in the disputes space. “Based on their expertise and extensive experience, the team shares their views on litigation and legal opinions with us in a timely manner.” Despite the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, the contentious practice has hardly slowed down – preeminent litigator Kozo Yabe is representing Sonix in patent infringement and invalidation trials against Gridmark, while on the life sciences front, Tsuyoshi Sueyoshi has raked in wins for Chugai Pharmaceutical Co, Ltd in a high-profile patent infringement suit at the IP High Court. “Tsuyoshi knows many relevant Japanese case laws and decisions, taking into consideration many cases structurally and assuming future decisions. He also has a good understanding of US and European cases. I believe he is one of the best Japanese IP lawyers in the field.” The winning disputes team of 13 IP lawyers is helmed by luminary Toshiaki Iimura, a former chief judge of the IP High Court held in high esteem in the local IP community. In a similar vein, the prosecution practice continues to busy itself with filing and drafting patents for well-known multinational corporations such as Robert Bosch GmbH, Honeywell and Suntory Holdings. Taking her first bow in the IAM Patent 1000 this year, Minako Matsuyama is one of the few women to feature in the Japan: domestic chapter. A chemist by training, she prosecutes patents for the likes of Microsoft and Ebara Corporation, while captaining the patent department with colleagues from the mechanical and electrical divisions after IP veteran Shinjiro Ono retired in 2020.
Other recommended experts
- Junichi Kitahara - Abe, Ikubo & Katayama
- Seiji Ohno - OHNO & PARTNERS
- Yasufumi Shiroyama - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Kazuhiko Yoshida - Nakamura & Partners
- Mami Hino - Abe, Ikubo & Katayama
- Hitomi Iwase - Nishimura & Asahi
- Yoshikazu Iwase - Anderson Mōri & Tomotsune
- Harumi Kojo - Sakurazaka Law Offices
- Eiichiro Kubota - KUBOTA
- Makoto Okada - TMI Associates
- Takamitsu Shigetomi - Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners
- Tsuyoshi Sueyoshi - YUASA and HARA
- Wataru Sueyoshi - Sueyoshi & Sato
- Koichi Tsujii - Nakamura & Partners
- Kozo Yabe - YUASA and HARA
- Masayuki Yamanouchi - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Toshiya Furusho - Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners
- Miki Goto - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Makoto Hattori - Abe, Ikubo & Katayama
- Yukio Nagasawa - The Tokyo-Marunouchi Law Offices
- Hiroshi Nemoto - TMI Associates
- Atsushi Okada - Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
- Yoshifumi Onodera - Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
- Masahiro Samejima - Uchida & Samejima Law Firm
- Hajime Watanabe - SHIOMIZAKA
- Hiroshi Kobayashi - Abe, Ikubo & Katayama
- Yasuhiko Murayama - Shiga International Patent Office
- Hiroshi Tamura - AOYAMA & PARTNERS
- Tatsuhiko Abe - Shiga International Patent Office
- Toyotaka Abe - TMI Associates
- Satoshi Hashimoto - Hiroe & Associates
- Hironobu Hattori - Nakamura & Partners
- Yusuke Hiraki - Hiraki & Associates
- Masato Iida - Shiga International Patent Office
- Yoshiyuki Inaba - TMI Associates
- Shinya Jitsuhiro - Shiga International Patent Office
- Yoshihiro Kiyohara - Kiyohara & Co Patent Attorneys
- Minako Matsuyama - YUASA and HARA
- Masaki Morishima - Saegusa & Partners
- Masashi Moriwaki - MORIWAKI IP, PC
- Koji Murai - Shinjyu Global IP
- Takeo Nasu - Nakamura & Partners
- Yasunori Ohtsuka - Ohtsuka Patent Office
- Makoto Onda - ONDA TECHNO Intl Patent Attys
- Makoto Ono - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Kan Otani - Roppongidori Patent & Trademark Attorney
- Akihiro Ryuka - RYUKA IP Law Firm
- Masayuki Shobayashi - Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office
- Yoshitaka Sonoda - Sonoda & Kobayashi Intellectual Property Law
- Hiroyuki Suda - Nakamura & Partners
- Kenji Sugimura - SUGIMURA & Partners
- Hiro Takahori - Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office
- Satoshi Watanabe - Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office
- Yoichi Watanabe - Seiwa Patent & Law
- Norihito Yamao - AOYAMA & PARTNERS
- Toyotaka Abe - TMI Associates
- Hitomi Iwase - Nishimura & Asahi
- Yoshikazu Iwase - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Yoshiyuki Miyashita - Nishimura & Asahi
- Atsushi Okada - Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
- Toshiaki Iimura - YUASA and HARA
- Eiji Katayama - Abe, Ikubo & Katayama
- Yoshio Kumakura - Nakamura & Partners