Business Law Department


The Business Law Department of Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law (HBL) was established in 2000. Its academic mission is to provide advanced business law education to practicing legal professionals currently living and working in Japan. HBL offers a rich curriculum of business law classes and focuses on combining theory with practice.

HBL’s regular faculty is comprised of academics distinguished in their respective fields. Many also have substantial experience working in the public or private sectors. Regular faculty and adjunct professors from practice provide lectures, seminars, and research guidance, grounding students in theoretical legal knowledge that enables them to handle advanced legal issues. The low student/faculty ratio of about 3:1 allows close faculty supervision of student work and enables intensive in-class interaction.

Classes are taught in the evenings and on weekends, enabling students to continue working while earning their degree. Classes are held at HBL’s convenient Chiyoda campus, just north of the Imperial Palace.

Specialization in Global Business Law

Students can earn a Master of Law degree by completing the following minimum requirements:

Thesis Seminar (Zemi) 8 Credits
Business Law Sogo Mondai 2 Credits
Electives 20 Credits

Students with sufficient English skill who are interested in developing themselves as international legal professionals can, in the course of their Masters studies, earn a Certificate in Global Business Law. The Certificate’s requirements are:

  • Thesis Seminar in English
  • Legal Research & Writing (Business Law Sogo Mondai) in English
  • At least eight elective credits in Global Business Law subjects taught in English (to maximize the impact of the degree, students are strongly encouraged to take as many courses as possible in English)
  • Research paper in English
    • Equivalent to a thesis and similarly supervised, albeit permitting alternative styles and formats
    • Successfully defended before a faculty committee

This concentration was designed in response to the growing need in Japan for internationally-minded business law professionals who can work effectively in English as well as to make Japanese business law and practice more accessible to non-Japanese legal professionals working in Japan. The program caters to working adults who intend to continue to work at a job in Tokyo while studying in English in our program at night.

( Download bilingual brochure here. )

Other Courses of Study

The Business Law Department also offers other Masters degrees as well as a PhD. Students can choose to specialize in a specific aspect of business law, such as corporate, intellectual property, financial, tax, or labor law. There is also a concentration available in Intellectual Property law that results in an award of a Certificate similar to that in Global Business Law. The PhD is available to a limited number of excellent students each year and requires development and completion of a substantial dissertation, under the close supervision of a faculty thesis advisor. Currently PhD dissertations in languages other than Japanese cannot be accepted.

Application and Admissions

The key qualifications for admission to our program are: 1) at least two years of experience working in a law-related field, 2) strong motivation to study and learn while continuing employment in Tokyo, 3) strong academic record, 4) strong English language skills, and 5) clear idea for a major research paper relating to global business law. For non-native Japanese speakers, strong Japanese language skills will be required if the student also wishes to take classes taught in Japanese (note: it is not necessary to take classes taught in Japanese, but doing so expands the student’s educational options).

The Global Business Law Program is not suitable for those who have only recently completed a law degree and have not yet gained practical work experience.

Application materials (Japanese only) can be accessed here.

Business Law Student Exchange Program

This student exchange program provides a limited number of non-Japanese law students from exchange partner law schools in Australia, Germany, Singapore and the U.S. with an opportunity to study Japanese and international business law in English during the Fall semester.

(Download Brochure here.)

Buisiness Law Faculty Professors

  • Vicki L. Beyer
    University of Nebraska at Omaha (BA, 1980), University of Washington (MA, 1987), University of Washington School of Law (JD, 1990), Bond University (LL.M. 1994)

    Professor Beyer, a lawyer admitted in Washington state, worked as an in-house lawyer for multinational corporations for 17 years, specializing in labor/employment and corporate governance. Before that, she ran and taught in the Temple University Law School Program in Japan and also taught at Bond University. She has been a research scholar at the University of Tokyo and a part-time lecturer at Keio University, Meiji Gakuin University, Nagoya University and Sophia University. Professor Beyer joined our faculty in 2017

  • Yuriko Inoue
    University of Tokyo (BA, 1986), University of Tokyo (LLB, 1990)

    Professor Inoue taught at the University of Tokyo (1993-1995), Tsukuba University (1995-2002), and Kobe University (2002-2010), and was a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Information, Amsterdam University (2006, 2007-2008). Her area of research is intellectual property law. Professor Inoue has recently co-authored a book on information law and a casebook on intellectual property law. She is a member of a number of advisory councils, including the Council for Industrial Policy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Professor Inoue joined our faculty in 2010.

  • Hiroya Nakakubo
    University of Tokyo (LLB, 1980); Harvard Law School (LLM, 1990)

    Professor Nakakubo has taught at Fukuoka University, Chiba University, and Kyushu University. He was a Visiting Scholar at University of Pennsylvania Law School (1989-1990), University of Washington Law School (1997), Cornell Law School (2010, and University of Glasgow (2013), and was a Visiting Professor at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University (1999). Professor Nakakubo has published widely on both Japan and the U.S. in his field of labor and employment law. He serves as a member of both Japan’s Central Labor Relations Commission and its Central Minimum Wage Council. Professor Nakakubo joined our faculty in 2007.

  • Chihiro Nunoi
    Hitotsubashi University (LLB, 1979); Hitotsubashi University (MA, 1981)

    Professor Nunoi taught at Tokai University (1984-1998), and has been a Visiting Scholar at Bonn University (1986-1987) and Munich University (1993-1994) in Germany. His research broadly covers international and comparative commercial law, and he has published articles in English, German, and French, in addition to those in Japanese. Professor Nunoi’s recent work has a focus on Vietnam and Southeast Asia. He served as chief committee member of the JICA legislative cooperative project in China (2004-2009). Professor Nunoi joined our faculty in 1998.

  • Masao Yoshimura
    University of Tokyo (LLB, 1999)

    Professor Yoshimura taught at Yokohama National University (2002-2012). His area of research is tax law. Among his publications, he recently co-authored a book in Japanese entitled “Tax Law” and produced an article in English on “The Debt-Equity Conundrum” for Cahiers de Droit Fiscal International. Professor Yoshimura joined our faculty in 2012.

  • Kei Amemiya
    (Professor from Practice)

    Chuo University (LL.B. 1989); University of Michigan (LL.M. 1998)

    Professor Amemiya is a partner at SHIMADA HAMBA & OSAJIMA. He previously served as an investigator at the Japan Fair Trade Commission where he led its investigations and administrative hearings. His practice areas include antitrust/antimonopoly law, international business transactions, disputes/litigation, compliance, and internal investigations. He counsels clients on various competition and business issues in both Japan and the United States. He is well known for handling complex competition law matters, and is a frequent speaker on competition law issues both in Japan and abroad. Professor Amemiya joined our faculty in 2019.

  • Masakazu Iwakura
    (Professor from Practice)

    University of Tokyo (LLB, 1985); Harvard Law School (LLM, 1993)

    Professor Iwakura is a partner at the law firm of TMI Associates. He has practice experience at Debevoise & Plimpton (New York, 1993-1994) and Arnold & Porter (Washington DC, 1994-1995). He has twice been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School (2007, 2013). His field of expertise is Mergers & Acquisitions. In addition to a variety of publications in that field, Professor Iwakura currently serves as the Dean’s Leadership Council of Harvard Law School. Professor Iwakura joined our faculty in 2006 and is admitted to practice in Japan and New York.

  • Ryutarou Nakayama
    (Professor from Practice)

    University of Tokyo(LLB,1995); University of Tokyo Graduate Schools for Law and Politics (LLM,1997); New York University School of Law(LLM,2006)

    Professor Nakayama is a partner at the law firm of Nishimura & Asahi where he specializes in corporate law and M&A, competition law and African law. He also practiced in New York with Weil, Gotschal & Manges from 2004 to 2005. He has been an adjunct law professor at Chuo University and Seikei University and has published widely on various aspects of transactional law within his areas of expertise.

  • Keisuke Seki
    (Associate Professor)

    Tokyo University of Science (BPharm, 2004); University of Tokyo (MSc, 2006); University of New Hampshire School of Law (LL.M., 2014), Japan Patent Office (2006-2019).

Global Business Law Course Offerings

Comparative Corporate Governance
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Beyer

This course will examine systems of corporate governance from a comparative perspective. In considering the allocation of responsibility among corporate actors, we will focus on the following: (i) internal corporate mechanisms, particularly the function and duties of directors, (ii) outside market pressures, including institutional investors and the market for corporate control, and (iii) the role of non-shareholder stakeholders. Our study will include U.S., U.K., Japanese and German governance models as well as an examination of governance in selected transitional economies. (Next Offered: Spring 2020)


Comparative Labor/Employment Law
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Beyer/Nakakubo

This course examines the fundamentals of employment law, comparing primarily Japan and the U.S., with other jurisdictions informing the comparison from time to time. Beginning with an overview of the employment systems of Japan and the U.S., the course goes on to make specific comparisons of a number of aspects of labor and employment law. (Next Offered: Fall 2020)


Corporate Law: Mergers and Acquisitions
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Murdock/Yukevich

This course introduces students to key legal aspects of mergers and acquisitions transactions between Japanese companies and foreign companies. We will look mainly at cross-border acquisitions of non-listed targets by Japanese companies (outbound), with some coverage of sales of or divestitures by Japanese companies to foreign buyers (inbound), and acquisitions of publicly-listed foreign companies. The course will have a practical orientation, with focus on how deals are actually negotiated and closed, and difficult issues resolved. (Next Offered: Fall 2020)


International Competition Law
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Smith et al

The purpose of this course is to teach students that antitrust laws have wide international implications. To be engaged in international business, it is essential that practitioners are aware that often antitrust laws of not just one country but several countries may be applicable and business persons should be aware of risks involved and be prepared to deal with them as cases arise. (Next Offered: Spring 2020)


International Contract Drafting
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Beyer/Kilner

This course helps prepare students to deal effectively with English language contracts, under both U.S. and U.K. law. The course is intended to be a practical, rather than theoretical survey, and actual contract provisions will be studied and practiced. (Next Offered: Spring 2020)


International Dispute Resolution
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Greer/Nonaka

This course will focus on selected topics in dispute resolution involving Japan and Asia, including the interpretation and drafting of contract provisions, dispute resolution procedures both within and outside Japan, and negotiation, litigation, and international commercial arbitration as means of resolving disputes. There will be a focus on real world case studies involving dispute resolution between Japanese and non-Japanese parties. (Next Offered: Fall 2020)


International Entertainment Law
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Rosen

This course will focus on the application of legal matters, such as contracts, torts, copyright and trademark, to the entertainment industry. A central concern of the course will be separating the artistic entity from the legal entity. The course will compare practices in the United States with those of the Japan and other countries, and consider whether a “global standard” exists in the world-wide entertainment market. (Next Offered: Fall 2020)


Introduction to American Business Law
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Beyer/Rosen

This course will provide both a general introduction to the American legal system and an introduction to U.S. business law. An American-style law school casebook will be used for the entire course. (Next Offered: Spring 2020)


Introduction to Japanese Business Law
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Beyer

To help equip students for transnational work involving Japan, this course will introduce the Japanese legal system, specific areas of law relating to business in Japan, and contemporary business issues. (Next Offered: Fall 2020)


Japanese Securities Law
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Martin

This course will provide an overview of securities law in Japan. It will examine the Financial Instruments Exchange Act and other laws and regulations to cover topics including the structure of the Japanese securities market, regulation of public offerings, public companies, investment companies and the securities business, as well as issues related to liability and enforcement for violations of securities laws. (Next Offered: Spring 2021)


Legal Aspects of IP Strategy
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Inge/Sagara

This course is designed to provide students a better understanding of the legal aspects of intellectual property (IP) in an international context. The course covers major issues and case studies in IP fields including patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and licensing. The course will also include a comparative law aspect. The entire course, to be conducted in English, is intended to be a practical, rather than theoretical survey. (Next Offered: Spring 2020)


Legal English
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): FitzGerald

The aim of this course is to assist non-native English speakers in developing a confident understanding of legal concepts and terms in English and in communicating about law effectively in both written and spoken English. This course is intended to be practical and will address real challenges faced by non-native English speakers. (Next Offered: Summer 2020)


Legal Practice in Japan
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Beyer

This course will introduce students to legal practice and the legal profession in Japan, examining various aspects of legal education and the structure of the profession. The course includes field trips to a number of legal institutions in Tokyo. This course is required for exchange students who wish to undertake an internship at a law firm or corporation during the exchange semester. (Next Offered: Fall 2020)


Legal Profession in Japan
Credits: 1
Instructor(s): Beyer

This course will introduce Masters students whose undergraduate education was not in Japan to legal practice and the legal profession in Japan, examining various aspects of legal education and the structure of the profession. The course includes field trips to a number of legal institutions in Tokyo. (Next Offered: Fall 2020)


Special Topics: Current Issues in Financial Regulation
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Higuchi

This course will introduce and examine the latest legal issues relating to cross-border financial regulations. We will discuss how these issues affect economic markets and how the law has evolved to adapt to new legal landscapes. We will be covering a diverse set of issues; from topics like cryptocurrency regulation and insider training, to the extraterritorial application of securities law. (Offered: Spring 2020)


Special Topics: International Privacy Law
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): FitzGerald

This course will provide students with an overview of privacy law and data protection principles, how nations interpret these principles, and the practical application of comparative privacy and data protection law in modern business. Students will develop an understanding of privacy law through examination of laws of Asian, European and North American nations, and gain an appreciation of how global privacy law and data protection continues to evolve. (Next Offered: Fall 2020)


Special Topics: Start-up Law and Practice – The Silicon Valley Model
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): Sasaki

The so called “Silicon Valley Model” has become the global standard start-up model. This course will provide students with an overview of the principles of the Silicon Valley Model, the laws on which it is based, and the practice of those laws. We will discuss specific issues relevant to start-ups, such as allocation of founders possessive stock, convertible debt and equity financings, venture capital financing, and exit transactions. We will also examine how the legal issues faced by startups are different than those of more mature businesses. (Next Offered: Fall 2020)


Directed Research
Credits: 2
Instructor(s): HBL Faculty

A student who wishes to conduct research in English on a topic of Japanese or Asian law that is not covered by existing English course offerings may do so upon securing the agreement of an ICS faculty member to act as adviser to such independent research. In such case the student, in consultation with the faculty adviser, shall create a reading list on the topic and shall produce a written report to be submitted to the faculty adviser for evaluation and grading. (Next Offered: to be decided)

Part-time Lecturers and Guest Speakers

The Business Law Department is honored to have a number of leading legal practitioners and scholars as part-time lecturers or guest speakers in its course offerings, including:

  • Pieter S. de Ganon (Morrison & Foerster) – Legal Aspects of IP Strategy
  • Evan M. FitzGerald (United Nations University) – Legal English, International Privacy Law
  • Joel Greer (ZeLo Law Firm) – International Dispute Resolution
  • Wataru Higuchi (Anderson Mori & Tomotsune) – Current Issues in Financial Regulation
  • John Inge (Orrick) – Legal Aspects of Intellectual Property Strategy
  • Arshad Karim (Twitter) – International Contract Drafting
  • Peter Kilner (Clifford Chance) – International Contract Drafting
  • J. Alexander Lawrence (Morrison Foerster) – Legal Aspects of Intellectual Property Strategy
  • Joel Lee (Automation Anywhere) – International Contract Drafting
  • Uwani Martin (Natixis Japan Securities Co.,Ltd.) – Securities Law
  • Mitsuo Matsushita (Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu) – Comparative Competiton Law
  • Mork Murdock (Squire Patton Boggs) – Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Takahiro Nonaka (DLA Piper) – International Dispute Resolution
  • Dan Rosen (Chuo University) – International Entertainment Law, American Business Law
  • Yuriko Sagara (Nakamura Law & Patent Office) – Legal Aspects of Intellectual Property Strategy
  • Jeff Shimamoto (U-NEXT Co., Ltd.) – International Contract Drafting
  • Allan Smith (RGA Reinsurance Co.) – Comparative Competition Law
  • Yoshihiro Takatori (Orrick) – Comparative Competiton Law
  • Stan Yukevich (Morrison & Foerster) – Mergers and Acquisitions