Greenberg Traurig has made its Asian debut after opening a Tokyo office and forging an exclusive alliance with Landwell-tied firm Hayabusa Kokusai Law Offices.

New York-based partner Kunichika Nakano, who has a licence to practise in both the US and Japan, will relocate to Tokyo to head the firm’s Japanese practice.

The firm has also created a ‘Japan desk’ in its US home, mirroring the ‘Italy desk’ established last month, which was designed to support the firm’s Italian alliance.

At the same time, Greenberg has formalised ties with five-partner corporate specialists Hayabusa. It is understood that the Japanese firm will continue its association with Landwell firms outside the US.

The two practices will field unified teams on deals, advising on both Japanese and US matters.

Regulatory changes that came into force this month allow foreign and bengoshi lawyers to advise together on both international and Japanese domestic transactions for the first time.

The move comes just a month after Greenberg concluded an Italian alliance with Studio Santa Maria, the former ally of Berwin Leighton Paisner-tied firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel.

Greenberg is the fourth-largest firm in the US. It is a relative newcomer to international expansion, opening its first European office in Amsterdam in 2003 and having yet to establish a London presence. However, the firm does have the stated ambition of beefing up its international capability.