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Independent Lawyers in Japan

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Shuji Yamaguchi


Okabe & Yamaguchi

5th Floor, Eiha Shinkawa
5-17, Shinkawa 1-chome
Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0033


Position within firm: Executive member

As the representative partner lawyer at Okabe & Yamaguchi, I handle various civil and commercial disputes, mainly in the areas of maritime, land and air transport and international multimodal transport, marine insurance and trade insurance, at the request of non-life insurance companies, trading companies, manufacturers, national and local authorities and others. My clients place deep trust in my experience and extensive knowledge accumulated through domestic and international court and arbitration proceedings, as well as execution proceedings such as ship arrests, and in the handling of cases by making full use of overseas networks, which are essential for international transactions. In particular, I am South East Asia Representative of Maritime and Transport Committee of the IBA (International Bar Association) and served as the Maritime Law Committee Chairperson of the IPBA (Inter-Pacific Bar Association), and established a network of competent lawyers in various countries virtually on a worldwide basis. I am also familiar with corporate legal matters and can handle these issues promptly and appropriately.

My experience and expertise as a practitioner have been recognized, and I have been appointed as a visiting professor at the Law School of Chuo University and as a member of the Commercial Law (Bills of Lading) Subcommittee of the Legislative Council.

With lawyers with experience and expertise in maritime, transport and commercial transactions, we respond promptly and appropriately to legal issues, problems and disputes faced by our clients.



Mar. 1980Graduated from Kyoto University (Faculty of Law)
Apr. 1982Completed Legal Training and Research Institute, registered as a lawyer (Kobe Bar Association) (34th term)
Apr. 1987Joined Clyde & Co in London
May 1988Registered with Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association
May 1988Joined Okabe Law Office (now Okabe & Yamaguchi) as a partner
July 2017Appointed representative partner upon establishment of the legal professional corporation
Apr. 2022Appointed Visiting professor, Chuo University Law School, in charge of ‘International Transaction Law’
Apr. 2022Appointed member of the Commerce Committee (Electronic Bills of Lading, etc.) of the Legislative Council of the Ministry of Justice
Jun. 2022Appointed Auditor of Japan Maritime Law Association

Member Organizations

  • Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association; International Bar Association; Japan Maritime Law Association; Association of Average Adjusters of Japan
  • Regular speaker of several international conferences, Inter-Pacific Bar Association, International Union of Marine Insurance, Asian Maritime Law Conference, International Dispute Resolution Conference and Cargo Recovery Conference
  • Chair of the Maritime Law Committee of IPBA from 2009 to 2011
  • Counselor of Commercial Code (Bill of Lading) for Ministry of Justice.
  • Member of Maritime Law Association, International Private Law Association, Aviation Law Association and The Average Adjuster Association of Japan.
  • Arbitrator of Tokyo Maritime Arbitration Commission and Japan Commercial Arbitration Association
  • Visiting Professor of Chuo University Law School (International Trade Law)


Arbitrator of The Japan Shipping Exchange, Inc., Arbitrator of Japan Commercial Arbitration Association, Arbitrator of Singapore Commission of Maritime Arbitration, Marine Counselor

Field of expertise

International maritime transport, bills of lading, combined bills of lading, charter agreements, international air transport, disputes relating to domestic and international land transport, etc. (including litigation proceedings, arbitration proceedings, etc.), international debt recovery, international trade, civil enforcement proceedings (including arrest and release involving ships), international litigation, international arbitration, civil commercial dispute resolution, corporate law, corporate compliance, insurance (general insurance, marine insurance, liability insurance, reinsurance)

Handling experience

  • Cargo recovery claim following the sinking of a large container ship (“MOL COMFORT”)
  • Ship stranding accident and cargo claim in Brazil (London arbitration)
  • Compensation for damages to shore and offshore facilities arising from ship dragging anchor caused by a large typhoon
  • Collision between a U.S. destroyer and a container ship
  • Response to accident occurring during transport of dangerous goods
  • Debt recovery cases against overseas debtors (China, South Korea, Malaysia, the UAE, Nigeria, etc.)
  • Insurance claims against the U.K. insurers (litigation and international mediation)


  • [Co-author] Maritime Law Handbook (Kluwer, 2022)
  • [Co-author] Getting the Deal Through Shipping in 35 Jurisdictions (Lexology Law Business Research, 2022)
  • [Co-author] Getting the Deal Through Aviation Law (Lexology Law Business Research, 2022)
  • [Co-author] Handbook for International Multimodal Transport [10th revised edition] (JIFFA, 2020)
  • “Arbitration in JAPAN: An Insight into Japanese Maritime and Arbitration Law” Maritime Arbitration Enforcement Series [2021 Edition] (p.32) (SCMA, 2021)
  • [Co-author] Guidebook for carriage of dangerous cargo – Practical guidance for Judicial precedents, laws/regulations and insurance (Seizando-Shoten, 2018)
  • “Amendment of Japanese Commercial Code” (in Chinese) Chinese Journal of Maritime Law Vol.27 No.1 (p.33) (2016)
  • “International Carriage of Goods by Sea” Jurist, Extra Edition ~ Selected Judgments Useful to International Business Practice (p.74) (2015)
  • [Co-author] The Rotterdam Rules in the Asia-Pacific Region (Shojihomu, 2014)
  • “Actions concerning Maritime Cases” Extra issue NBL No.138 ~ New Legislation on International Jurisdiction of the Japanese Courts – A Practitioner’s Perspective – (p.126) (edited by the study group for digitalization of commercial law, Japan Federation of Bar Association, 2012)
  • [Co-author] International Cargo Insurance (Informa, 2012)
  • [Co-author] Judgment Commentary of Civil Code Vol.1 General Rules (Seirin Shoin, 1994)
  • “Alternative Dispute Resolution” The Hokkaido Law Review Vol. XLⅡ 1992 No.4, Leading Cases in Private International Law [3rd Ed.] (p.97) (1992)
  • [Co-author] Commentary Maritime Law (Daiichi Hoki, Electric version (discontinued))


  • “Electronic Bills of Lading – What are they, how do they work and what next?” at the IBA Maritime and Transport Law Committee Mid-Year Conference: The new world of shipping post-Covid (Singapore) (Jun. 2022)
  • “Webinar: COVID-19 & Oil Price Collapse: A Double Whammy” organized by The Maritime Law Association of Singapore, Joint sponsorship: Rajah & Tann Asia (Singapore) (May. 2020)
  • “International seminar: The 10 countries’ Cargo Recovery Seminar” held by Okabe & Yamaguchi, Cho & Lee and Clyde & Co (Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai) (Oct. 2019)
  • “The 9th International Conference on Maritime Law” organized by the China Maritime Law Association [Session 9 Co-chairman] (Shanghai) (Oct. 2018)
  • “Rehabilitation proceedings and charterparties” at the Maritime Arbitration Conference organized by the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (Busan) (Jul. 2018)

Practice Areas

  • Banking and Financial
  • Company and Commercial Law
  • Competition Law
  • Cross-Border Mergers
  • Litigation
  • Maritime Law
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Patents and Trademarks
  • Private Client
  • Real Estate and Property
  • Tax Law

Languages Spoken

Japanese, English

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