Withers has substantially grown its Asia practice with the hiring of two new teams led by six partners specializing in real estate and investment funds for its Tokyo and Hong Kong offices.

The lawyers in these teams have 10-20 years of experience working in Asia, assisting clients with structuring Japanese and cross-border investments in the Asia-Pacific.

Investment funds partners Koji Yamamoto and Yoshiyuki Omori will be based in the firm’s Tokyo office. Yamamoto has experience in advising clients in investment funds and investment management, while Omori advises domestic and foreign financial institutions and funds on Japanese securities regulations. They join Withers from Deloitte along with their team members Rie Nitta (counsel), and paralegals Hirokazu Miyamoto and Noriko Narahara.

Partner Junko Shiokawa, who joined Withers from Harneys on 3 September, will work from the firm’s Hong Kong and Tokyo offices. She has extensive experience acting as lead counsel for Japanese and other Asian financial institutions and investment managers in the structuring and formation of various types of funds, including private equity and hedge funds. She will be joined by associate Wataru Sasaki from Deloitte and paralegal May Ng-Quinn from Harneys.

The real estate team will be led by partners Gerald Fujii, Naoki Ueyama and Steven Wheeler, and counsel Hiroyuki Sakazaki. Fujii joins the firm from White & Case’s Tokyo office, while Ueyama joins from Masuda & Partners. Steven Wheeler, from Kaynex, will focus on property M&A and financing, while Hiroyuki Sakazaki will join the firm from Kanagawa International Law Office.

“With these talents on board, we are in a stronger position to offer our clients a full suite of services on their investment activities in Japan,” said Jeremy Wakeham, CEO of the firm’s Business Division.

Withers opened its Tokyo office in 2015, when it also grew its presence elsewhere in Asia, including in Singapore. The Tokyo office has historically focused on tax advice for international clients active in Japan.