Kozo Kawai


Tokyo Office

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  • +81-3-6250-6339


Japanese   English   
Practice areas
M&ACross-border M&ACorporate and Commercial TransactionsIP LitigationPL LitigationAlternative Dispute ResolutionCivil Disputes Arising from Corporate ScandalsCompetition/Antitrust Civil Litigation Disputes Related to Trade SecretsInvestor-State Dispute SettlementInternational LitigationTrade Secrets/Unfair CompetitionTelecommunication & MediaCorporate Crisis ManagementComplianceInternal Investigations and Outside InvestigationsBreaches of Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Laws and RegulationsCartels and Bid-riggingOther Breaches of Antitrust LawsHandling Breaches of Antitrust Laws and Competition Law OverseasAct Against Delay in Payment of Subcontract Proceeds to SubcontractorsProtection of Commercial Secrets and Customer InformationHandling Overseas Corporate ScandalsCompetition Law/Antitrust LawCompetition/Antitrust Compliance and PlanningCompetition/Antitrust Merger Regulations and FilingsAct against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading RepresentationsWTO/Regional Trade AgreementsInternational Investment Agreements and ISDSTrade Remedies and Defenses (Anti-dumping, CVD and Safeguards)Customs and TariffsGovernment ProcurementSecurity Export ControlCross-border Transactions (General)Global ComplianceLobbying and Contributing to Planning and Enacting of Public PolicyElectricity/GasTelecommunicationsAutomotive and Auto PartsChemicalsEU and EU Member States
Admitted in Japan (1988, voluntarily deregistered in 1995 and readmitted in 1997)

Mr. Kawai is a partner and a member of the executive committee of the firm. For the past twenty years, Mr. Kawai’s practice has focused on anti-trust/competition matters and international trade affairs, and he has handled large scale dispute cases and domestic and foreign regulatory investigations.

Mr. Kawai’s anti-trust/competition practice covers every area of the practice, i.e., violation cases such as cartel and unilateral conduct, merger regulations, and compliance to prevent violations of Japanese and foreign competition laws. Mr. Kawai continues to be recognized by international law journals such as Chambers, Legal 500, GCR, Who’s Who, and the Global Competition Review as one of the top practitioners in Japan in the area of competition law.

In particular, in the area of international cartel cases, Mr. Kawai has been working as a global hub for Japanese clients and coordinating the work of foreign lawyers from various jurisdictions, and as a local counsel for foreign clients before the JFTC. In the area of merger regulation, Mr. Kawai successfully represented several major Japanese industries with regard to large scale merger and acquisition transactions, such as the merger between Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal, the JX Group integration, the business integration between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Hitachi, Ltd. on thermal power generation systems, the business integration of Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba on medium and small size TFT-LCDs as their global counsel and coordinated the work of lawyers from many jurisdictions before many competition authorities. In particular, Mr. Kawai represented a group of Japanese steel mills as lead counsel, strongly opposing BHP Billiton’ s proposed takeover bid for Rio Tinto, which was eventually abandoned by BHP Billiton.

In the area of international trade law, Mr. Kawai is widely recognized as a pioneer of trade law practice in Japan and has advised both the private sector and governmental agencies. Mr. Kawai has been involved in most of the trade remedy investigations conducted by the Japanese authorities to date, such as those for the imposition of anti-dumping duties and subsidy countervailing duties as counsel to Japanese and foreign clients, and in some overseas trade remedy investigations to defend Japanese clients. In addition, Mr. Kawai’s practice covers export regulations and disputes arising from the WTO Government Procurement Agreement for private sectors, as well as WTO dispute settlement procedures for government agencies.

In addition to the above, Mr. Kawai has been widely recognized as a leading lawyer in Japan by the business community and has been selected by The NIKKEI as one of the "Most successful lawyers” in the last several years. In particular, Mr. Kawai has represented Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal as its lead counsel with respect to its multinational trade secret litigation against POSCO, and in 2015 successfully negotiated a settlement favorably to the client.

Mr. Kawai has taught competition law as a lecturer at the Tokyo Univ. Law School for 10 years from 2006, and currently sits as a member on various councils and study groups organized by governmental agencies.

Recent activities


The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017



GCR Know how - Antimonopoly & Unilateral Conduct 2016 (Japan Chapter)



Who's Who Legal: Japan 2016



Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (LL.M., EC Law, magna cum laude)
Columbia University School of Law (LL.M.)
Legal Training and Research Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan
The University of Tokyo (LL.B.)

Professional experience

Lecturer, University of Tokyo, School of Law
Ad hoc Member of Industrial Structure Council
Ad hoc Member of Industrial Property Council
Deputy Director, Trade Agreement Administration Division, WTO Affairs, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Tokyo
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Brussels
Research Associate (Joshu) of The University of Tokyo