[Event] Building a Business in Japan: Key Legal & Business Perspectives - Seattle, WA

Oct 13, 2016




This seminar will highlight key legal and business concerns foreign companies face when expanding their business presence to Japan. The discussion will primarily focus on intellectual property, corporate, labor, and tax law concerns.


This event is recommended for C-level executives, business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups with plans to establish a branch or office in Japan. Companies who have not yet developed a business plan but want to learn more about going abroad are also encouraged to attend. 


November 4, 2016

12:45-4:00 p.m. PDT

University of Washington School of Law
4293 Memorial Way, Seattle, WA 98195



The UW School of Law is located in William H. Gates Hall near the northwest corner of the University of Washington campus near the intersection of 15th Avenue NE and NE 43rd Street.  The address is 4293 Memorial Way, Seattle WA 98195.


Check in and the presentations will be delivered in Room 138. The reception will be held in Room 115.





12:45-1:00 Registration

Welcome Remarks & Moderator/Speaker Introductions


Presentations & Panel DiscussionsClosing Remarks
Topic 1: "Top 7 Legal Concerns When Conducting Business in Japan"

Topic 2: "Sending Employees to Japan: Immigration and Employment/Labor Law Perspectives" 
Topic 3: "The Use and Benefits of the U.S.-Japan Income Tax Treaty in Your

Successful Business Expansion to Japan and Reshaping Your International Strategies"

Topic 4: "Protecting Your Business in Japan Through Patents and IP Portfolios"

2:30-3:00 Q&A and Closing Remarks
3:00-4:00 Reception & Networking






Partner, TMI Associates 

"Protecting Your Business in Japan Through Patents and IP Portfolios" 


Toyotaka Abe supports Japanese and overseas clients in patent prosecution, IP consultations, patent licensing, patent litigation and government relations, as well as other related areas, with legal and business acumen acquired through both significant in-house and law firm experience. Clients range from small and midsized companies to big companies worldwide.


Before joining TMI Associates in 2014, which is one of the Big Five law firms in Japan, Mr. Abe was the Director of IP at Microsoft Japan. Mr. Abe originally joined Microsoft in 2007 at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, where he was engaged in international patent matters. Prior to joining Microsoft, Mr. Abe practiced patent law at law firms in Japan and in the U.S. for 10 years in total, and handled patent matters in the fields of electrical engineering, semiconductors, software and mechanical engineering, amongst others. He is licensed as a patent attorney in Japan and an attorney-at-law in California.



Attorney, Garvey Shubert Barer

"Top 7 Legal Concerns When Conducting Business in Japan"


Sara Sandford is an owner (shareholder) of Garvey Schubert Barer and works with clients from around the world in all stages of establishing, acquiring and operating businesses across borders. She concentrates her practice on representing Japanese companies and individuals in their business activities in the United States and on advising U.S. clients concerning business activities in Japan, Canada and other Pacific Rim countries.  Much of her work relates to joint ventures and M&A activity. Sara has served for many years as a leader of Garvey Schubert Barer’s International Group and Business Group, and has served on the firm’s Executive Committee and as the firm’s Seattle Office Managing Director.

Sara is the Chair for the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law, a Board member for the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative and the ABA’s representative to LawAsia. Sara was the chair of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington in 2002-2003 and has served on the organization’s board or in an executive capacity for more than twenty years. In addition to other pro bono work, she serves on the Advisory Board of the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington and the Global Business Law Institute, Industry Advisory Board of the University of Washington School of Law.  She is a graduate of UW’s Jackson School of International Studies and Columbia University School of Law.  By virtue of time spent living and working in Japan, Ms. Sandford speaks, reads and writes Japanese.



Attorney, Baxter Law International PLLC
"Sending Employees to Japan: Immigration and Employment/Labor Law Perspectives" 


Eriko “Elly” Baxter is the founder and business attorney of Baxter Law International PLLC. She focuses on US-Japan business, corporate and transactional matters.  From 2005 to 2010, she was an in-house counsel of IBM Japan, where she handled countless legal business matters, including IT transactions and M&As, within the dynamic of a Japanese business with US-influenced culture.  

Prior to her time with IBM and after obtaining a bachelor of law degree from Gakushuin University in Tokyo, she worked as a legal specialist at Toshiba Corporation’s R&D Center in Japan, handling numerous contracts as well as government approvals and licenses for various research activities including experiments utilizing a nuclear
reactor.  In the Seattle area, she continues to work with CEOs, managers, and engineers on cross-border and domestic transactions.  She has given advice to Japanese companies on, for example, choice of entity in the US along with immigration and tax issues, and assisted local Japanese business owners on a wide range of business matters, including employment issues, commercial lease agreements, dissolution, and change of entity structure.  She has also assisted US business owners in the sale of their products in Japan through alliance with Japanese companies.  Currently, she serves as an Executive Committee member of the International Practice Section of the Washington State Bar Association.  Born, raised, and having work experience in Japan, Elly (Eriko) is committed to working to nourish US-Japan businesses through legal support.  



Founder & Managing Member, Washington International Law Group
"The Use and Benefits of the U.S.-Japan Income Tax Treaty in Your Successful Business Expansion to Japan and Reshaping Your International Strategies"


Masahiro “Max” Yoshimura is the Founder and Managing Member of Washington International Law Group, a boutique corporate and tax focused law firm.  Before establishing WILG, Mr. Yoshimura, also a CPA, worked for prestigious international law firms and largest international accounting firms in New York, Denver and Seattle.  He is also the founding president of International Incubation Inc., an US-Japan business consultancy, and the Asia Business Forum in Seattle.


Mr. Yoshimura, a native of Japan, graduated from a Tokyo university with a business degree in 1983, and the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison with a law degree in 1994.  He served on the boards of the Japan America Society of Washington, World Trade Club of Seattle, a Japanese business association, and a Japanese alternative school in the past.



JETRO Seattle Advisor



From Interstate 5:

From I-5, exit east onto NE 45th Street. Travel east on NE 45th Street to 17th Avenue NE. Turn right onto 17th. W. H. Gates Hall is located on the right just past the parking gate.


From Highway 520:

From Highway 520, exit north onto Montlake Boulevard NE. Turn left onto NE Pacific Street. Turn right and head north on 15th Avenue NE. Turn right and head east on NE 45th St. Take your next right on 17th Avenue NE. W. H. Gates Hall is located on the right just past the parking gate.



The closest parking to William H. Gates Hall is in lots N5 and the Central Parking Garage. Visitors should check-in at a parking gate upon entry to campus. The daytime fee for parking on campus is $15.00 until 5:00 p.m. 



The building is located on campus between 15th Avenue NE and Memorial Way, near the intersection of 15th and NE 43rd Street, just south of the Burke Museum. More information on bus schedules and fare can be found at Metro Transit.



This event is co-hosted by the University of Washington School of Law and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).