Ayako Kawano

Partner, Tokyo



Ayako Kawano is a partner in the Tokyo M&A practice. She has extensive experience includes advising international and domestic clients on acquisitions, dispositions and restructuring of distressed loan and real estate portfolios, as well as in private equity investments, restructuring and cross-border bankruptcy-related M&A. She has a deep understanding of the complexities of international finance, and has worked on numerous cross-border transactions affecting clients with interests in Japan, Asia, Europe and the United States.

Ayako is widely recognized as a leading real estate expert across a broad range of practices, from formation of funds, to acquisitions and dispositions, including J-REITs and complex financing deals.

Ayako is a member of the Daini Tokyo Bar Association.

Bars and Courts
Japan Bar
Harvard Law School
Osaka University


gumi Inc., 2018
Ayako advised gumi Inc. in its joint venture gumi Cryptos LLC, a cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-focused fund company.

Skymark Airlines Restructuring, 2015
Ayako advised CIT Aerospace, a provider of leasing and financing solutions for aircraft fleets worldwide, in connection with the restructuring of Skymark Airlines, Japan's third largest airline which filed for bankruptcy in January of 2015.

Ellipsiz Ltd.'s acquisition of Tokyo cathode Laboratory Co., Ltd., 2014
Ayako advised Ellipsiz Ltd. and its US-based subsidiary, SV Probe Pte. Ltd., on the acquisition by business transfer of Tokyo Cathode Laboratory Co., Ltd. (TCL), a Japanese probe card manufacturer and supplier, out of TCL's Civil Rehabilitation Procedure filed with the Tokyo District Court. She also advised on and the further acquisition of the shares of or assets held by TCL's subsidiaries located in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Guangzhou, China.

Commerzbank's sale of Commerz Japan Real Estate Finance Corporation, 2014
Ayako worked as part of the international team which advised Commerzbank AG on the sale of its Tokyo-based subsidiary, Commerz Japan Real Estate Finance Corporation (CJREFC), to leading Asia-focused alternative investment manager PAG. As part of the transaction, the primarily subordinated loans held by CJREFC, which total around €700 million, are being transferred to the buyer.

Qualcomm's US$120 million investment in Sharp, 2012
Ayako led the team which represented US-based Qualcomm Incorporated in its investment of up to US$120 million in Sharp Corporation, listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Qualcomm invested US$60 million in exchange for newly issued shares, representing approximately 2.5% of Sharp's outstanding share capital at the end of 2012, and another US$60 million in 2013 contingent upon the satisfaction of certain milestones.

Awards and Recognition

Real Estate Lawyer of the Year, Women in Business Law Awards for Asia (2021) 

Leading individuals: Bengoshi, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2021)
Real Estate and Construction