Yoshihiro Uetani

Managing Partner
  • Lawyer (Kobe & Tokyo offices)
  • Maritime Counsellor

As well as being regularly involved in all aspects of corporate law, including dispute resolution, prevention and strategy, Yoshihiro Uetani is also at the forefront of advanced practice areas that are demanded by the modern era, such as shareholder meeting strategy, internal control systems (risk management and compliance), corporate governance and crisis response. He also has experience as an external company director and chairman of independent committees engaged to conduct corporate investigations. In the area of insolvency, Yoshihiro has been involved in most of the large-scale bankruptcy cases conducted within the jurisdiction of the Kobe District Court, either as the bankruptcy trustee or member of the supervisory committee, as well as handling various types of corporate rehabilitation cases. Further, he also has experience in domestic maritime law matters and is active as a maritime arbitrator. Yoshihiro’s experience also extends over many cases in the areas of general civil law, administrative law, intellectual property, and international negotiations. Yoshihiro also has a strong involvement in family law, including divorce cases, administrating the estates of the elderly, and advocating for “Wills Day” on April 15th.

As the managing partner of a full-service law firm in a medium-sized city, Yoshihiro has actively engaged in a wide variety of practice areas over the years in order to broaden the scope of the firm’s practice. However, as modern practice has seen the deepening and progression of specialisation, Yoshihiro now uses the insight he has gained from his broad personal experience, together with the latest knowledge and specialist skills of Higashimachi’s younger lawyers, in order to provide a higher quality service as a team.

Professional History

1954 Born in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan
1980 Passed Bar exam
1981 Graduated from Osaka University Faculty of Law
1983 Completed legal training; registered as a lawyer; entered Ohshiro Law Office
1990 Became partner of Ohshiro Law Office
1993 Became managing partner of Higashimachi Law Office
1993~1995 Member of the Investigation Committee of Amagasaki City Council Administration
1996〜1999 External auditor for Kawanishi Warehouse Co. Ltd
2000~2001 Vice president of Hyogo Bar Association
2001~2014 External auditor for Inui Steamship Co., Ltd.
2001~ Civil mediator (Kobe district court / Sumoto Summary Court)
2003~ Litigation officer for the Hyogo Social Insurance Office (currently the Hyogo Office of the Kinki Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare)
2004~ Adjunct instructor, Kwansei Gakuin University Faculty of Law
2010~ Managing partner of Higashimachi LPC
2010~2011 Member of Kobe City Accounting Rationalization External Examination Committee
2012~2012 Member of Kobe City Accounting Rationalization External Evaluation Committee
2012~2014 Member of Maiko Villa Real Estate Utilization Contractor Selection Committee
2013~2014 Member of Fruit Flower Park Hotel Building Contractor Selection Committee
2014~2015 Chairman of Third-Party Committee (Company listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange)
2015~2015 Member of the Aono Resort Tennis Sports Hotel Management Company Selection Committee

Publications

“Review of corporate internal control systems – From the perspective response to corporate misconduct” PROGRESS November Edition, Central Japan Industries Association
“Corporate Misconduct Index” (co-author) Shojihomu Co., Ltd., 2015
“Earthquake disaster response as seen from the perspectives of internal control, BCP and CSR” NBL No. 950 p6, 2011
”Practical Intellectual Property Business Law – IP Lawyers Network Japan 5th Anniversary” (co-author) 2010, Minjiho Kenkyukai
Co-editor of “The Elements of the Tramper Shipping Business” by Shigeru Tamura; 2009, Inui Steamship Co., Ltd.
“Practical business law – experience the cutting edge of corporate legal affairs” (co-author) 2007, Kwansei Gakuin University press
Coauthor of “An easy to understand guide to company law” (revised edition); 2006, Shin Nihon Hok
“Fostering Antitrust law spirit to realize sufficient function of the Anti-trust law”; 655 FAIR TRADE 46, 2005
Coauthor of “An easy to understand guide to company law”; 2003, Shin Nihon Hoki

Seminars and Presentations

“Corruption Investigations – the roles of and cooperation between lawyers and accountants”
Hyogo Bar Association’s 28th Lawyers & Accountants Exchange Meeting (March 2018)
“MORESCO Directors’ Seminar”
Lecture to the directors of MORESCO Corporation (November 2017)
“A Scandal Has Occurred! Things to know in advance so you don’t panic”
Hyogo Printing Industry Association risk management seminar (October 2016)
“A Scandal Has Occurred! What will you do?”
Hyogo Club members’ meeting (July 2016)
“The State of a Legal Department that can Respond to Management – Thoughts from my experience as an external director and corporate lawyer”
Keynote address at the exchange meeting of the Osaka members of the Association of Corporate Legal Departments (April 2016)
“How to approach corporate governance, internal control systems and corporate social responsibility – From the viewpoint of compliance and risk management”
Lecture to the directors of MORESCO Corporation (June 2016)
“Examples of methods to handle bankruptcy so that part of the business survives” (keynote address) and “Bankruptcy and business survival – Can even a little of that business survive?” (panel discussion)Third Kinki regional workshop of the National Insolvency Lawyers’ Network (May 2015)
Also published in “Jigyou Saisei to Saiken Kanri – Akigo” (Corporate Rehabilitation and Credit Control – Autumn Edition) (October 2015)
“2014 special compliance training for executive staff”
Kobe City (November-December 2014)
“Compliance measures required for group companies”
Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. (August 2014)
“A comparison of corporate information disclosure systems – points that staff should be aware of”
Association of Corporate Legal Departments, Tokyo monthly meeting (March 2014)
“Corporate social responsibility and business management”
Japan Audit & Supervisory Board Members Association, Nagoya Chapter regional information exchange meeting (in Hokuriku) (March 2014)
“Thoughts about cooperation between corporate legal departments and law firms – the A comparison of corporate information disclosure systems – legal departments that make good use of lawyers, and lawyers that make good use of legal departments” (Panelist)
Association of Corporate Legal Departments, monthly meeting (February 2014)
“Problems relating to group internal control and practical responses – responding to practical problems in risk management in subsidiaries” (panellist)
2013 third training seminar of the Japan CSR Promotion Association (January 2014)
“Local public bodies and internal control”
Otsu city internal control training (assistant manager level) (November 2013)
“A comparison of corporate information disclosure systems – points that staff should be aware of”
Association of Corporate Legal Departments, Osaka monthly meeting (August 2013)
“Fundamentals of internal control – internal control in the private sector” (keynote address)
Hyogo Bar Association symposium “Considering internal control in local public bodies” (February 2013)
“Practical response to corporate scandals – another examination of detailed establishment methods and effective operation of internal control systems”
Japan Audit & Supervisory Board Members Association, Kansai Chapter regional seminar (November 2012)
“Local public bodies and internal control”
Osaka city compliance training (bureau/department manager level) (August 2012)
“Practical response to corporate scandals” (panellist)
Japan CSR Promotion Association Kinki Chapter CSR seminar (February 2012)
“Prevention measures learnt from insider trading cases”
Kobe Corporate Legal Department Research Group (December 2011)
“Directors’ compliance training”
Takenaka Civil Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd. (December 2011)
“Prevention measures learnt from insider trading cases”
Association of Corporate Legal Departments, Osaka monthly meeting (December 2011)
“Risk management in practice as seen in food accident cases – Important points for the company’s response and how lawyers can help” (panellist)
2011 second training seminar of the Japan CSR Promotion Association (November 2011)
“The city’s internal control as seen from the ‘Kobe City Accounting Rationalization External Examination Committee Report’”
Second meeting of the Kobe City Accounting Rationalization Promotion Department (November 2011)
“Lessons SMEs should learn from the earthquake disaster – from the viewpoint of internal control, BCP and CSR”
Risk management seminar hosted by the Fukuoka Bar Association, Japan Finance Corporation and Fukuoka Prefecture Chamber of Commerce (September 2011)
“Earthquake disaster response from the viewpoint of internal control, BCP and CSR”
Comparative Law Research Centre compliance training (July 2011)
“Future trends in corporate law and how lawyers should be involved”
Cast/Higashimachi Global Corporate Law Series Lecture, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Law School (April 2011)

Major Published Cases

Whether a transferee is obliged to refund member deposits where they continue to use the name of a golf course which was run by the transferor under a deposit membership system
(Supreme Court Second Petty Bench, 20th February 2004, published in Hanrei Jihou No. 1855, p. 141; Hanrei Times No. 1148, p. 180; Kinyu Shouji Hanrei No.1195, p. 30, No. 1768, p. 81)
Whether the seller can demand an increase in payment from the buyer if the quantity is exceeded in a so-called designated quantity purchase, by reason of analogy to Article 565 of the Civil Code
(Supreme Court Third Petty Bench, 27th November 2001, published in Hanrei Jihou No. 1768, p. 81)
Case of copyright infringement for the use of a registered trademark, “Kinpai Kikumasamune”, that is similar to another registered trademark “Kikumasamune”
(Osaka high Court, 25th August 2000, published in Hanrei Master)
Case of successful claim for damages by a carrier against a consignee and freight forwarder based on a letter of guarantee jointly signed by the consignee and freight forwarder, which was signed in exchange for the carrier delivering the cargo to the consignee without the consignee presenting the bill of lading
(Osaka District Court, 23rd February 1999, published in Hanrei Times No. 1711, p. 158)
Case confirming the legality of a mayor’s actions to excuse a city employee of their appointed duties and dispatch the employee to a new “third sector” private-public partnership company
(Kobe District Court, 28th January 1998, published in Hanrei Chihou Jichi No. 188, p. 45)
Case confirming the legality of levying special local consumption tax against a resort development company on free accommodation at a time-share resort hotel
(Kobe District Court, 9th March 1994, published in Hanrei Times No. 857, p. 219)
Case seeking the suspension of the administrative order designating the Yamaguchi-gumi as a designated organised crime group
(Kobe District Court, 5th March 1993, published in Hanrei Jihou No. 826, p. 219)
Case that ruled that a guarantee issued by an agricultural cooperative association which exceeded the restrictions imposed by Article 10 (6) of the Agricultural Cooperatives Act was invalid, however the association asserting the invalidity was not permitted when equitable principles are considered
(Kobe District Court, 24th December 1987, published in Hanrei Jihou No. 674, p. 138)

Major Maritime Cases

Limitation of shipowner’s liability case (multiple-vessel collision in the Akashi Strait), Kobe District Court case numbers Heisei 20 (2008) (Maritime) 1 – 3
Case claiming compensation for damage due to the oil spill from the tanker Nakhodka, Fukui District Court case number Heisei 11 (1999) (Wa) 295
Diverse civil action cases on claims under letters of guarantee for the delivery of cargo (Admiralty Law Study Bulletin, No. 158 p. 66)
Case appealing against an arbitration decision (published in Hanrei Jihou No. 1396, p. 120)
Case seeking a provisional disposition order against a vessel (published in 1991 “Kaijihou Kenkyukai Journal” No. 111, p1-13)

Memberships

Japan CSR Promotion Association, CSR specialist committee
National Insolvency Lawyers Network
IP Lawyers Network Japan
Kobe Club (member and advisor)
Kobe Rotary Club
Kobe/Himeji Nikkei Discussion Group
Iue Memorial Foundation (Board of Councillors member)
Ito Bunka Zaidan (auditor)
Kobe Lifeline (auditor)
Japan-America Society of Osaka