Practice Contacts


Taft’s Japan practice is headed by Toshio Nakao, a partner in the firm’s Business group. For over 30 years, attorneys in Taft’s Japan practice have represented more than 120 Japanese-affiliated companies in the Midwest, as well as in Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, New Jersey, and California. We provide advice on the establishment of new businesses, land purchase, obtaining tax incentives, construction contracts, immigration, employee handbooks, mergers, acquisitions, distributorship, agency, licensing, joint venture, labor and employment, product liability, and corporate reorganization.

Since the U.S. legal system is substantially different from that of Japan, simply hiring an attorney who can speak Japanese is not sufficient to eliminate potential problems that can result from miscommunication or not understanding the perspective of a Japanese client doing business in the U.S. or an American client doing business with a Japanese company. In addition to speaking English and Japanese, attorneys and professional staff in our Japan practice also understand the concerns and key issues unique to Japanese companies. We also provide advice to American companies who are considering or doing business with Japanese companies. Since our Japan practice draws from the substantial experience of attorneys in other departments of the firm, it is fully equipped to handle virtually any legal issue that may arise.

Taft’s Japan practice also provides general consultation on matters related to day-to-day management of Japanese companies currently operating in the U.S., as well as labor and employment law issues such as common labor disputes, labor union issues, workers’ compensation, or discrimination claims.

Attorneys in the Japan practice also represent Japanese-affiliated companies in the increasing number of litigation and arbitrations involving matters of distributorship agreements, Title 7 discrimination, joint ventures, confidentiality, antitrust investigations by the Department of Justice, and licensing. We also provide comprehensive immigration services — various non-immigrant visas and immigrant visas — to public companies, privately held corporations, and individuals. In addition, we assist U.S. employees with obtaining non-immigrant visas to foreign countries, including Japan, Brazil, Thailand, and China.

Partner Toshio Nakao graduated from Duke University School of Law (J.D.). He has extensive experience in all aspects of corporate law, including corporate formation, tax incentives for entering the U.S. market, real estate sales, and purchases, lease agreements, sales contracts, mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy law, and other legal issues that Japanese companies face after incorporation, including compliance, wrongful termination, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and disability law. He also advises clients on obtaining business visas as well as complex immigration issues associated with corporate restructuring. He has been selected as the Best Lawyers in America since 2003.  He is also listed as one of the 2021 Leading Lawyers by Cincinnati Magazine. He is a board member of the Japan-America Society of Greater Cincinnati, a board member of the Tri-State International Educational Fund, and an advisor to the Japanese Language School of Greater Cincinnati.

Sayuri Duff, a legal assistant, earned a B.A. degree in English Language from Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka. She was a professional translator for a large law firm in Osaka specializing in intellectual property, where she was engaged in the translation of official legal documents. She currently serves as Mr. Nakao’s primary assistant to provide extended services to Japanese clients.

Related Practices

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