Major Practice Areas
Corporate / Mergers & Acquisitions / Risk Management and Compliance / Dispute Resolution
Other Practice Areas
Restructuring and Insolvency / Manufacturing / Trading Companies


As a partner, Toru Watanabe practices mainly in the area of corporate law. He provides corporate support, from both the offensive and defensive perspective, in various M&A, squeeze-outs, shareholder meetings, response to activists, management disputes, corporate litigation, commercial non-litigation disputes, shareholder derivative actions, capital policy, risk management, corporate governance, and many other areas.  He has also been appointed by the Commercial Division of the Osaka District Court as an inspector for shareholder meetings, as well as an inspector of operations. general meetings and business execution by the Commercial Specialty Division of the Osaka District Court. Based on this experience, he has served as a Bar Examiner on the subject of corporate law and has lectured a Visiting Professor at the law school of his alma mater, Kyoto University, on corporate law practice. 

Recently, Mr. Watanabe has been certified as a Certified Fraud Examiner by the Japan Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and has been focusing on dealing with matters relating to corporate misconduct. 

Work Highlights

  • Investigation regarding a violation of the Building Standards Act by Daiwa House Industry (as an external investigative committee member)
  • Sale by a major Japanese manufacturer of its local subsidiary in Germany
  • Consolidation of the three regional banks in the Kansai area – Kansai Urban Bank, Kinki Osaka Bank, and Minato Bank
  • Establishment of a joint venture company between the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma
  • Inspector of shareholders meetings of Diamond Electric MFG.
  • Acquisition of 100% ownership of Daihatsu Motor by Toyota Motor
  • Investigation of corporate misconduct of a Japanese textile manufacturer (as a third-party committee member)

Education & Professional Career

Jan 2018 Qualified as a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
Jan 1998 – PresentKitahama Partners, Partner
Apr 1993Admitted to practice in Japan; Joined Kitahama Partners
Mar 1993Graduated from the Legal Training and Research Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan
Mar 1991Kyoto University (LL.B.)

Other Activities

2020 – 2022Adjunct Professor, Kyoto University Law School (Corporate Law Practice)
2017 – 2019Visiting Professor, Kyoto University Law School (Corporate Law Practice)
2009 – 2016Adjunct Professor, Kyoto University Law School (Case Study for Corporate Law)
2011 – 2013National Bar Examination Examiner (in charge of Commercial Code)


  • Compliance Committee Member of Japan Mint
  • Former Vice-Chairperson, Committee on Procedures for Civil Cases, Japan Federation of Bar Associations
  • Vice-Chairperson, Council of Practice of Civil Procedure Code, Osaka Bar Association
  • Member, Council of the Improved Procedures for Civil Cases on Appeal in the Osaka High Court, Kinki Federation of Bar Associations
  • Vice-Chairperson, Management Committee for Legal Aid Service Center