So Saito

Akasaka Office President
admitted in Japan and New York

So Saito set up the firm, formerly So Law Office, in 2015 after practicing law primarily in finance, such as securitization, funds, and derivatives, for sixteen (16) years at one of the biggest Japanese law firms. He currently advises domestic and international clients in Web3, fintech, venture finance, etc. He also assists startups and tech companies such as AI, VR/AR, drone, MediTech, and BioTech companies.

He has been constantly ranked for FinTech, banking and finance law, and finance regulatory law in Japan by Chambers Asia Pacific, Best Lawyers, and Legal 500.

Practice Areas

Innovation, Technology, FinTech and Blockchain, Finance, Funds, M&A, General Corporate, Corporate Governance, Security, Construction and Infrastructure.

Languages

Japanese, English

04/2024Kurihara Gakuen School / Association Auditor
09/2023Tokyo Financial Award, Financial Innovation Category Mentor
09/2022HashPort, Inc. / Corporate Auditor(23/6/30~HashPalette, Inc. / Corporate Auditor)concurrent position
05/2022Metaverse Japan Association / Association Auditor
12/2021LiB Consulting co.,ltd /Corporate Director and Audit Committee Member(22/3/23~Director and Audit Committee Member)(23/7/24~Corporate Auditor)(24/5/30~Director and Audit Committee Member)
10/2019Japan STO Association / Auditor(23/6/20~Public Director)
07/2016Mitsubishi Estate Logistics REIT Investment Corporation / Supervisory Director
04/2015So Law Office(present So & Sato Law Offices) Founder
04/2015Topaz Capital, Inc. / Corporate Auditor
09/2014Japan Blockchain Association (Former name: Japan Authority of Digital Assets) / Legal Advisor
2014-2015J-Will Partners Co., Ltd. / Compliance Officer
06/2013Cedyna & Servicer Co.,Ltd / Attorney Director(23/10/1~Abilio Servicer Co., Ltd. / Director)
04/1999-03/2015Nishimura & Partners(present Nishimura & Asahi) Associate / Partner / Counsel
2005-2006Debevoise & Plimpton LLP / Foreign Intern
2005New York University, School of Law(LL.M.)
1997Bachelor of Laws, the University of Tokyo (Tokyo)
04/2024Recognized for Banking and Finance law, Financial institution regulatory law, and FinTech practice by Best Lawyers in Japan 2025
01/2024Recognized for FinTech Practice by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2024
12/2023Ranked as a lawyer in the FinTech field 2024 by Chambers and Partners
04/2023Recognized for Banking and Finance law, Financial institution regulatory law, and FinTech practice by Best Lawyers in Japan 2024
01/2023Recognized for FinTech Practice by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023
12/2022Ranked as a lawyer in the FinTech field 2023 by Chambers and Partners
04/2022Recognized for Financial institution regulatory law and FinTech practice by Best Lawyers in Japan 2023
01/2022Recognized for FinTech Practice by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022
12/2021Ranked as a lawyer in the FinTech field 2022 by Chambers and Partners
04/2021Recognized for Financial institution regulatory law and FinTech practice by Best Lawyers in Japan 2022
12/2020Ranked as a lawyer in the FinTech field 2021 by Chambers and Partners
1999Dai-ichi Tokyo Bar Association
2006New York State Bar Association
2015 -FinTech Association Japan Individual / Supporting Member
2016 -Japan Association of the Law of Finance / Member
11/2017ama University, The Center for Rule-making Strategies, “ICO (Initial Coin Offering) Business Research Group”
2016 -Japan UAS Industrial Development Association(JUIDA) / Individual Member
2005 - 2015Securitization Forum of Japan Member of various committees
2011 - 2019Association of Japanese Consulting Engineers (AJCE)(Currently, Engineering and Consulting Firms Associations, Japan(ECFA)) / Individual Supporting Member / Official Member
2012 - 2015Japanese Conference on Overseas Development of Eco-Cities (J-CODE) Vietnam Working Group
05/2024"Fintech -Decentrailzed Autonomous Organization(DAO) with Legal Entities-" LIR Japan -vol-4 P28~
04/2024"Current Status, Future and Legislation of RWA" SBI Institute for Financial and Economic Research
04/2024"Japan’s AI regulation for businesses" Asia Business Law Journal
02/2024Innovating Fundraising: The True Nature of RWA Tokens," Nikkei FinTech, Feb
01/2024"Fintech -Applicable Japanese Laws to a Blockchain Game-" LIR Japan -vol-3 P40~
10/2023"Fintech -RWA Token and Japanese Laws-" LIR Japan -vol-2 P18~
08/2023"SFJ JOURNAL Vol.27" Securitization Forum of Japan
08/2023"Securitization Handbook (2023 Edition),” ecuritization Forum of Japan
07/2023"Fintech -Staking and Securities Regulation-" LIR Japan -vol-1 P16~
03/2023"Virtual Currency for Massive Power Consumption Transition to Environmental Type, Even After U.S. Lawsuit" NIKKEIGX
02/2023"Anonymization service for virtual currency, sanctioned one after another for money laundering abuse." Nkkei
12/2022“Metaverse & NFT” Impress Corporation
10/2022"Legal Application of Metaverse Space Facing Many Issues and Considerations," Kinzai Weekly No. 3467 (October 11-18, 2022, Fall Issue)
07/2022"Web 3.0 as Japan's Growth Strategy," NBL Magazine No. 1221 (July 1, 2022) 
10/2021“Textbook of NFT” Asahi Shimbun Publications
03/2021“2019 revised FIU and security tokens” Q&A A course to become strong in the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law and the Financial Instruments Sales Law
“Practice and Law of Custody of Crypto Assets” The Financial and Business Law Precedents No.1611 (March 2021 special issue)
Legal Landscapes Governing Digital Tokens in Japan - Chamber of Digital Commerce
05/2019Kinyu Homu Jijo "The appearance of the virtual currency Libra and Japanese laws and regulations on it "Financial Law Journal No.2123 (October 10th 2019 issue)
2019“Life after Google” Supervision of Japanese translation (May 24th 2019 issue)
2019“The basics of law in virtual currency”, Tokyo Omotenashi settai restaurant 50 /2020 (May 24th 2019 issue)
Chambers and Partners Global Practice Guide FinTech 2019 - Japan Chapter
07/2018“Widespread use of cryptocurrency – current status and challenge for future” Website of National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan, July 2018 No.72 (2018 July 17 Issue)
06/2018“Regulatory trends on virtual currency trading and/or ICO – by country/ region” “REGULATIONS” June 2018 vol.13 (2018 June 18 Issue)
12/2017“Fundraising in the era of FinTech – Bank loans and VC remain to be the mainstream. For further development of ICO self-regulation is awaited” “REGULATIONS” December 2017 vol.11 (2017 December 11 Issue)
06/2017“Symposium Ⅱ Legal issues surrounding transactional Fintech” Journal of the law of finance vol.33 (2017 June 26 Issue)
04/2017“Effects of Payment Services Act, as amended”, Nikkin Journal No.732 May 2017 issue
10/2016”Virtual Currencies, Blockchain and their Financial Practices”, Financial Law Journal No.2051 (October 10th 2016 issue)
07/2015”Answers to the Seven Most Frequently Asked Questions on Bitcoins”, Nikkin Journal No.708 (July 2015 issue)
06/2015”Recent trends in regulation of cryptocurrencies in Japan and other countries”, Kinzai Weekly No.3123 (June 15th 2015 issue)
07/2014Islamic business law and practice, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry
10/2011”Regulations under Existing Laws on Bitcoins”, Weekly Financial Affairs (March 31, 2014 edition)
Vietnamese Real Property Law for Vietnam’s Urban Development, Shin-Toshi Vol.67 No.2 (February 2013 edition)
05/2011Foreign national debt default and bond essentials, CDS, credit ratings and other legal complications, The Turnaround & Credit Management Quarterly No.134 (October 5th 2011 issue)
The opinions of large law firm attorneys regarding intermediate summary of issues of Civil Code (concerning credit) revision, Brief Summary of the opinions of Nishimura & Asahi Law Office Attorneys, NBL No.962 (October 1st 2011 issue)
10/2011Effects of the Basel 2.5 Accord on the Securitization Schemes, Kinzai Legal issue No.1924 (25th June 2011 issue)
05/2011Tax reforms for Japanese Sukuk, Islamic Finance news
06/2011Nuclear power operators’ damage compensation obligations, Business law July 2011 issue
05/20112011 edition of Q&A regarding credit derivatives, Tokyo Financial Exchange J-CDS (Website), Japan Securities Clearing Corporation (JSCC)(Website)
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Power Damage Compensation System, Kinzai Weekly No.2930 (May 16th 2011 issue)
02/2011Islamic Finance and the 2011 Tax Reform, Kinzai Weekly No. 2918 (February 14th 2011 issue)
09/2010Financial Regulation and Side Effects – Credit Rating Firms in Focus, (Nishimura & Asahi Legal Outlook Vol.10) Website Law and Finance Journal, Asahi Judiciary
07/2010ADR and CDS Business Revitalization – The Issue of Relevance to Credit Events and Acquiring Public Information, Kinzai Legal issue No.1902 (25th July 2010 issue)
06/2010(New Practical Finance Introduction Series) Liquidation and securitization of assets and credit (2nd Edition), Kinzai Institute for Financial Affairs, Inc.
03/2010Latest Financial Regulation, Commercial Law
05/2009Effects of the Basel II Accord Revision on Securitization Exposure, Kinzai Weekly No.2835 (4th & 11th May 2009 joint issue) p.84-88
03/2009CDS and the Counterparty Risk, Kinzai Weekly No.2829 (23rd March 2009 issue) pp. 60-61
02/2009Q&A Regarding Credit Derivatives, Tokyo Financial Exchange J-CDS (Website) (co-author)
01/2009Operation Managed by Banking Groups after the Lifting of the Islamic Banking Embargo, Banking Law Journal 21 No.697 (January 2009 issue)
02/2024Web3 and Marketing," Japan Marketing Association
06/2024"RWA Tokens and Japanese Law "Fintech Training Community and Study Session
09/2023Related Regulations -Environment of Japan FinTech Regulations-" Tokyo Financial Awards
09/2023"RWA Tokens and Japanese Law"Fintech Training Community and Study Session
07/2023"Dao and Japanese Law"WebX by Dev3 Japan - NFTStudio24
07/2023“Web3 Legal Updates” WEB3BB
05/2023"Changes and possibilities for exchanges due to the development of Web3" TEAMS WEB3 SUMMIT
03/2023"DAOs and Japanese Law – Current Status and Future” Liberal Democratic Party’s Parliamentarians for Blockchain Promotion
03/2023"Recent Trends and Further Development of Web3" SBI Financial and Economic Research Institute Co., Ltd.
03/2023"The Future of Finance - The Revolutionary Role of AI" FinGATE
02/2023"Recent Trends and Future Prospects of Web3 - including Similarities with Securitization Transactions -" Securitization Forum of Japan
02/2023"Fintech x web3 x Sustainability" Fintech Association & Japan Blockchain Association co-hosted event
02/2023"Metaverse Business Potential and Laws and Regulations: Relationship between Domestic and Foreign Cases and Japanese Laws" InfoCom Research, Inc.
02/2023Japan Empowerment Summit 2023 presented by Metaverse Japan "Standardization of the Metaverse From Japan to the world"
01/2023"Metaverse Business Potential and Laws and Regulations: Relationship between Domestic and Foreign Cases and Japanese Laws"Japan Research Institute for New Systems of Society
12/2022NFT Summit Tokyo 2022 "Regulations and Issues Companies Need to Know When Entering Web 3"
12/2022Legal Plus Smmit event JAPAN "Crypto & Blockchain Disputes in Japan – Whats Coming in 2023"
10/2022"Token regulation in Japan" THE TOKENIZER
10/2022GC Summit Japan event "Emerging Tech - Web3, AI, Metaverse, Robotics etc."
10/2022"What is the "Metaverse"? [Business Trends]" LiB Consulting co.,ltd
09/20221st Cocone web3 event "Anatomy of the web3 business scheme in Japan".
09/2022"NFT, Metaverse and Japanese Law" Society for the Study of Finance and Treasury
05/2022"The regulatory requirements with regard to the use of DeFIs" Liberal Democratic Party’s Parliamentarians for Blockchain Promotion
02/2022EY Japan FinTech Seminar "How to Establish the NFT Market in Society”
02/2022“Study Session on Attracting International Financial Functions” held by Fukuoka Prefecture.
02/2022“DeFi and Japanese Law“ at SBI Financial and Economic Research Institute
07/2021“Sports NFT and Japanese Law” / Mobile Content Forum(MCF) Lecturer
02/2021“Embedded Finance”/ Fintech Association of Japan Moderator
10/2020“DeFi and Japanese law”/ Fintech Association of Japan Presenter/ Panelist
09/2020Fintech Engineer Training Seminar #10: "The Current Situation and Future of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)" [Handout in JP]
04/2020ACCJ Webinar [Handout in EN]
04/2020Results of Public Comments on Crypto Asset Derivatives Transactions and Crypto Asset Margin Transactions/JCBA [Handout in JP]
STO Panel
06/2019STO Seminar/Financial Facsimile News Seminar [Handout in JP]
02/2019Financing through STO (Security Token Offering) - legal issues in and out of Japan / Financial Management Forums, Inc.
EAMZ Blockchain Summit 2019 Discussion, “STO’s - The New Kid On The Block”
02/2019“Comparative Analysis on STO (Security Token Offering ) in Japan and in Korea - Commentary on STO Regulations by attorneys from both countries”/CoinBeneJapan Sponsored Event [Handout in JP]
“Will STO(Security Token Offering) bring blockchain a renewed prospority? ”/Jinse Meetup #JAPAN #VOL.2
“Cross Chain decentralized exchanges how would they boost development of wallet blockchain industry?”/AtoX & TEAM Cross chain Event
01/2019“Widespread use of crypto currency – current status and challenge for future”/2018 Asia Pacific Blockchain (Tokyo) Summit [Handout in JP]
09/2018“Crypto Crimes and Investigatory methodologies”/Aichi prefectural police headquarters
“Understanding Blockchain Investments: Virtual Currencies and Japan Regulations” / The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) [Handout in EN]
06/2018“Role of Crypto-currency Exchange and Japanese VC Act”/ASEAN+3 BOND MARKET FORUM (ABMF) [Handout in EN]
Latest Trends Surrounding Virtual Currency and Its Legal System /JIPDEC [Handout in JP]
“ICO in Japan: Current Trend and Regulations” /Blockchain for Enterprise 2018 in Nagoya [Handout in JP]
02/2018“Virtual Currency Market in Japan” /PRC-Japan Virtual Currency Conference No.1 [Handout in JP]
“Bitcoin and its criminal use – criminal cases”/National Police Agency, Cybercrime Division, Training Session
“ICO and Japanese Law”/Financial Facsimile News Seminar [Handout in JP]
10/2017“Legal Framework for ICO”/ICO Conference [Handout in JP]
09/2017“Bitcoin and its criminal use – criminal cases”/Gunma prefectural police headquarters
“Summary of Japanese laws applicable to ICO” / Japan Blockchain Association Meetup VOL.2
08/2017Study Sessions “Bitcoin and related criminal cases”/National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan
01/2017Cabinet Order, Cabinet Office Ordinance and the Guidelines of the Virtual Currency Law/at Japan Blockchain Association Virtual Currencies Sector regular meeting [Handout in JP]
04/2017Results of public comments: Virtual Currencies Act – Japan Blockchain Association Virtual Currencies Sector regular meeting [Handout in JP]
11/2016Study Sessions of Investment Contract for Entrepreneurs “Funding, Investment Contract and Shareholders’ Agreement of Startups” / Fin Book Camp [Handout in JP]
10/2016“Comments on New Virtual Currency Regulation and Treatment of Bitcoin in Bankruptcy Proceedings” [Handout in JP]
09/2016Latest Trends Surrounding Virtual Currency and Its Legal System / JIPDEC [Handout in JP]
08/2016Current Situation, Specific Cases and Legal Issues of FinTech and Blockchain Businesses / Seminar-info
Legal issues of Blockchain technology which is of current interest as a new IT infrastructure/Financial Management Forums
07/2016Current situation and future regulation of virtual currency/Chubu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry
Bitcoin, Blockchain and Japanese Law/The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants
04/2016New regulation of virtual currency in Japan/Monthly Party With Mrs And Miss Bitcoin
New regulation of virtual currency in Japan/Japan Authority of Digital Assets Workshop [Handout in JP]
01/2016Prospective expansion of Drone business and legislative issues in Japan/Financial Facsimile News Seminar
Current situation and legal issues of FinTech business/Financial Management Forums
07/2015Legislation and Infrastructure in Need of Fintech Reform – Trends and Prospects Surrounding Virtual Currency / GMS Forum 2015
Current State of Digital Currency Regulation in Japan, Regulation Panel/The New Context Conference 2015 Tokyo
02/2015The Rise of Bitcoin / Rakuten Financial Conference 2015
01/2015Inside Bitcoins Singapore
09/2014Bitcoin Regulation and Activities of the Japan Authority of Digital Assets/Bitcoin Center NYC
06/2014Bitcoin business and the Japanese law / Financial Facsimile News Seminar
04/2014Overview of Bitcoins and Handling under the Japanese Law / Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Seminar
02/2014Outline of Bitcoins and Position under Japanese Law
03/2013Practical Operation of Contract Management and Disputes for “New Managers” in Overseas Construction Businesses
12/2012Vietnamese Law, Vietnamese Real Property Law and Urban Development Law for Vietnam’s Urban Development
10/2012Capital Procurement (Contingent Capital) under Basel III
05/2012Case Examples of Losses Suffered / Overseas Construction Projects Contract Management for “New Managers” in Overseas Construction Projects
03/2012Legal Issues relating to the Default of Sovereign Debt
10/2011Case Examples of Failures and Disputes of Overseas Construction seen in Publically Announced Materials and Future Risk Management
09/2011Methods of Capital Procurement under Basel III
07/2011Legal Issues and Future Corporate Responses relating to Reconstruction following the Great East Japan Earthquake
12/2022ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS Japan Edition (December 2022)
06/2022ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS Japan Edition (June 2022)
06/2022Nihon Keizai newspaper On-line, June 10, 2022
06/2022Asahi newspaper, June 6, 2022
01/2022Nikkei X Trend, January 17, 2022
12/2021SBI Financial and Economic Research Institute, December 24, 2021
12/2021CoinDesk, December 17, 2021
12/2021The Finance, December 17, 2021
11/2021TBS "news23", November 10, 2021
10/2021ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS Japan Edition (October 2021)
09/2021Nihon Keizai newspaper, September 29, 2021 page 38
06/2021The Japan Times, June 9, 2021 NFT interest growing in Japan, but legal worries persist
04/2020Hokkaido newspaper, April 12, 2020 page 26
09/2019Nihon Keizai newspaper, September 24, 2019 page 8
07/2019Yomiuri newspaper, July 26, 2019 page 6
06/2019Nihon Keizai newspaper On-line, June 29, 2019
02/2019Sanyo newspaper, February 24, 2019 Page 4
11/2018Nihon Keizai newspaper On-line, November 18, 2018
11/2018Asahi newspaper, November 14, 2018 Page 10
07/2018Kobe newspaper, July 26, 2018
05/2018Nikkei Business No.1940, May 7, 2018
05/2018Nikkei newspaper, May 5, 2018 Page 26
03/2018Weekly Toyo Keizai No.6781, March 17, 2018
02/2018Sunday Mainichi February 13, 2018, The February 25, 2018 Issue
02/2018Yomiuri newspaper, February 6, 2018 Page 7
12/2017Nikkei newspaper, December 10, 2017 Page 2
11/2017Toyo Keizai newspaper On-line, November 4, 2017
11/2017Weekly Toyo Keizai No.6758, November 4, 2017
09/2017Nikkei Sangyo newspaper(Nikkei Industrial Journal), September 20, 2017
09/2017AERA No.40, September 18, 2017
09/2017Nikkei Business No.1907, September 11, 2017
08/2017Nikkei Business No.1905, August 28, 2017
08/2017Sankei newspaper, August 18, 2017
08/2017Nikkei Online, August 18, 2017