Shohei Tezuka

  • Lawyer (Kobe, Tokyo and Imabari offices)
  • Maritime Counsellor

Based on his experience of studying in the United Kingdom and training at foreign law firms, Shohei Tezuka mainly practices in maritime law and cross-border transactions, as well as corporate law, insolvency and corporate restructuring. Within the field of maritime law, Shohei can meet the wide-ranging needs of both Japanese and overseas clients in relation to maritime contracts (including charterparties, bills of lading, sale of vessel contracts and shipbuilding contracts), maritime accidents, ship financing, litigation and arbitration. In the area of cross-border transactions, Shohei supports companies that are active in the global market by providing advice in relation to contract negotiations and dispute resolution being conducted in English.

Professional History

1978 Born in Tokyo, Japan
2002 Graduated from Keio Gijuku University Faculty of Law; passed Bar exam
2004 Completed legal training; registered as a lawyer; joined Higashimachi Law Office
2005〜2007 Adjunct instructor, Kwansei Gakuin University Faculty of Law
2008 Registered as Maritime Counsellor
2010 Organiser of Maritime Law Study Group (Kobe) (hosted by the Japan Shipping Exchange)
2012 Completed LL.M. in International Commercial Law (University College London)
Seconded to shipping and insurance law firms and a P&I club
2014 Interned at Hong Kong firm W. K. To & Co. (Japan Federation of Bar Associations & Law Society of Hong Kong internship programme)
Kobe Asian Business Support Center advisor
2016 Promoted to Higashimachi LPC partner
2016~ Vice chairman of the International Relations Committee, Hyogo Bar Association
2018~ Member of the Foreign Lawyers & International Legal Practice Committee, Japan Federation of Bar Associations
2018〜 Lawyer in charge of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations “Overseas Deployment Support Project for Small and Medium Enterprises”
2020 Adjunct lecturer, Kobe University Graduate School of Law


“Safe port concerns and the master’s liability under English law – The Ocean Victory case”, Captain monthly magazine, No. 442, 2018
“Effect of the ‘Guideline on Revisions to the Commercial Code (Transportation and Maritime Commerce)’ on corporate practice – Focussing on Maritime Commerce”, Shoji Houmu, No. 2099, 2016
“Judgment: Japanese court jurisdiction over insolvency law issues despite London arbitration clause”,「Wave Length (JSE Bulletin No.61)」
“The Elements of the Tramper Shipping Business” by Shigeru Tamura; 2009, Inui Steamship Co., Ltd.

Seminars and Presentations

“Master’s responsibility regarding decision making and steering to avoid heavy weather, as seen in court judgments”
Masters’ training seminar for Japanese shipping company, March 2018
“An appeal judgment upholding that the obligation to pay hire is not a condition of a time charterparty – Spar Shipping AS v. Grand China Logistics Holding (Group) Co., Ltd. [2016] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 447 / [2015] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 407”
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Tanaka Seminar, February 2018
“Ship Arrest and Law Reform relating to Maritime Liens”
20th International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators, Copenhagen, September 2017
“Introduction to international maritime law”
Osaka Bar Association international law training seminar, November 2015
“An judgment finding that the obligation to pay hire is not a condition of a time charterparty (the Spar Shipping case)”
Kutsuna Maritime Law Research Group, July 2015, Maritime Law Study Group (Kobe), September 2015
“Ship finance seminar”
Internal training at a financial institution, July 2015
“An appeal overturning a judgment regarding breach of a charterer’s obligation to nominate a safe port (the Ocean Victory case)”
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Nagai Seminar, February 2015, Maritime Law Study Group (Kobe), March 2015
“Arbitration in London at the LMAA)”
Ocean Vessel Owners’ Association, March 2014
“Responsibility for stowing cargo (the Eems Solar case)”
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Nagai Seminar, October 2013
“Whether damage requiring repairs worth more than the vessel’s value but less that the agreed insured value frustrates a time charterparty (the Kyla case)”
Kutsuna Maritime Law Research Group, July 2013
“Describing the cargo’s condition on a bill of lading – The basic principles and an examination of a recent English decision (The Saga Explorer case)”
Maritime Law Study Group (Kobe), February 2013
“New Domestic Maritime Transportation Contract Forms” (co-presented with Yousuke Tanaka), Japan Shipping Exchange, October 2010
Has also acted as interpreter at seminars co-hosted with foreign maritime law firms

Major Maritime Cases

Drafting of time caharterparties and other contracts for ocean vessels
Negotiation and arbitration (at TOMAC and LMAA) regarding charterparty contracts for ocean vessels
Ship financing (New loans, refinancing, changing conditions, drafting mortgages, etc.)
Sale of vessel contracts (agent at closing, negotiations, arbitration, etc.)
Acting for the debtor or a creditor in insolvency procedures for shipping industry companies
Shipowner liability limitation cases (including the sinking of the container vessel MOL Comfort)
Cases involving collision, fire or sinking of vessels (liaising with authorities, negotiating claims for damages, arbitration, etc.)
Cases related to arrest of vessels (negotiating release of vessel, arbitration, etc.)
Accidents to and crimes committed by crew (negotiating with other parties, supporting ship’s master, etc.)
Drafting of vessel management contracts and dispute resolution
Negotiation and arbitration concerning domestic time charterparty contracts (contract negotiation stage, hire, termination, etc.)
Negotiating the transfer and acquisition of shares in affiliated shipping companies


Kobe Keio Club