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Japan's top law firm to open European offices in post-Brexit push

Nishimura & Asahi expects greater M&A demand on the Continent

Frankfurt's financial district: The German city is expected to become Europe's financial center after Brexit.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's largest law firm opens its first European offices in June, targeting Japanese businesses that want to boost their presence on the continent after the U.K. leaves the European Union.

Nishimura & Asahi plans an office in Frankfurt, which is expected to become continental Europe's financial hub after Brexit, and another in the fellow German city of Duesseldorf, where many Japanese companies have offices. These locations will advise on acquisitions and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, among other topics.

Japanese companies are actively acquiring European concerns, with Takeda Pharmaceutical buying Ireland's Shire last year. With the U.K. now officially on track to leave the EU, Japanese businesses will increase their investment into continental Europe, including Germany and the Netherlands, said Dominik Kruse, a partner at Nishimura & Asahi.

Higher barriers for Chinese companies, triggered by concerns over technology leaks, will work to Japan's advantage as well, he said.

Nishimura & Asahi has offices in New York and many around Asia, and it acquired a major Thai competitor in summer 2019. The firm has about 700 lawyers.

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