Japan’s Mori Hamada & Matsumoto to launch in Myanmar

Japanese ’big four’ firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is in the process of opening an office in Yangon, the largest city of Myanmar.

It is Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s latest expansion in South East Asia following its 2012 launch in Singapore. The Yangon office will be initially staffed by partner Takeshi Mukawa, who is co-representative of the firm’s Singapore office. Mukawa’s practice focuses on finance, general corporate and M&A transactions and is experienced in Myanmar-related matters.

The firm said the move came in response to the rapid expansion of Japanese companies in Myanmar. It aims to open the new office in the spring of 2014 following regulatory approval from the Myanmar regulators.

Yangon will be the firm’s fourth office outside Japan after Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and a Bangkok desk, which is stationed in the offices of Thai firm Chandler & Thong-ek.

The opening of the new office will make Mori Hamada the second Japanese firm to have a base in Myanmar. Last year, another “big-four” firm Nishimura & Asahi became the first to open an office in Yangon (30 April 2013).

In Japan, Mori Hamada has also expanded with a new office in Osaka, the vibrant commercial hub of the country’s western region. The Osaka office will initially have three lawyers, partner Takuya Eguchi and associates Hirokazu Hayashi and Takamasa Sato.

In recent years, Osaka-based Japanese companies have been active in outbound M&A transactions and investments. In 2013, Osaka-based stationary maker Kokuyo has acquired Indian notebook manufacturer Riddhi Enterprises (28 October 2013) and drinks maker Suntory has acquired US spirits group Beam for $16bn (£9.7bn) (13 January 2014).