The group comprises lawyers, tax lawyers and other professionals well-versed to address all of the issues faced by Japan's automotive industry.

We (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) have launched a "Japan Automotive Industry Focus Group" to offer a comprehensive range of legal services to address increasing international issues faced by Japanese automotive companies.

As one of the results of the shrinking domestic market, the automotive industry, and particularly an increasing number of auto component manufacturers, has recently seen a rise in international sales which has amounted to over 50% of total sales. This is seen as an issue for some Japanese companies, as reflecting these profits back to the headquarter company has been a challenge.

Having said that however, with the inauguration of the ASEAN Economic Community and the conclusion of major free trade agreements (such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership), there is a growing need to consolidate overseas companies, establish regional headquarters and restructure supply chains. Under these circumstances, now is the right time to reorganize existing overseas offices and to consider proper tax planning options. This will assist Japanese companies to better compete with European and U.S. counterparts, which currently enjoy lower effective tax rates. Moreover, 2016 has been named "the first year of autonomous cars", thus introducing new legal risks such as cross-border collection and management of big data. This is in addition to ongoing problems such as international cartels, compliance violations and transfer pricing issues.

The Firm's new group is headed by Yaeko Hodaka, Partner of the Tokyo office's Corporate / M&A group and assisted by key members Daisuke Tatsuno (ITC), Toshio Ibaraki (Compliance), Junya Ae (Antitrust), Ryutaro Oka (Tax) and Koji Oshima (Transfer Pricing). The Japan Automotive Industry Focus Group will work closely with other Baker & McKenzie offices around the world to provide solutions to a full spectrum of needs that Japan's automotive industry may face. The team will leverage upon the Firm's strong global network and demonstrated success with various automotive companies around the world. Specifically, the group can provide services related to M&A; foreign investment restrictions; business alliances; setting up regional headquarters; advice on the collection, use and retention of big data; compliance measures; competition law issues; tax planning; and advice on transfer pricing. They will aim to address all legal and tax matters related to the expanding business of Japanese automotive companies, both in the international and domestic markets.

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