So Saito

Mr. Saito set up the firm, formerly-named So Law Office in 2015 after having practiced law primarily in finance area, 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 blockchain, fintech, venture finance, etc. He also assists startups and tech-companies such as VR/AR, AI, drone, MediTech, BioTech companies.
In 2019 he has been ranked for FinTech Legal in Japan by Chambers Asia Pacific (2019) and for financial institution regulatory law in Japan by Best Lawyers (2020).

Education

1997
The University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law(B.A.)
2005
New York University, School of Law(LL.M.)

Background

1999
Admitted to the bar in Japan. Joined Nishimura & Partners (now Nishimura & Asahi)
2005 – 2006
Employed by Debevoise & Plimpton, New York
2008
Partner / Nishimura & Asahi
2011 – 2012
Member of Workshop on Construction Contract Management held by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
2012 – 2018
Lecturer / the Chuo Graduate School of Accounting, specifically the MBA Program in International Accounting & Finance
2013 –
Attorney Director / Cedyna Servicer Co., Ltd.
2014 – 2015
Compliance Officer / Funds(Type2 FIE Operator, Investment Advisor, Investment Manager)
2014 –
Legal Advisor / Japan Blockchain Association (Formername:Japan Authority of Digital Assets)
2015
Resigned / Nishimura & Asashi
2015
Founder / So Law Office
2015 –
Corporate Auditor / Topaz Capital, Inc.
2015 – 2018
Director / bitFlyer, Inc.
2016 –
Supervisory Director / Mitsubishi Estate Logistics REIT Investment Corporation

Awards

March 2019
Recognized for financial institution regulatory law in Japan (2020) by Best Lawyers Web Page
December 2018
2019 Ranked for FinTech Legal in Japan (2019) by Chambers Asia Pacific

Professional Affiliations

Dai-ichi Tokyo Bar Association (1999)
Securitization Forum of Japan Member of various committees (2005 – 2015)
Association of Japanese Consulting Engineers (AJCE)(Currently, Engineering and Consulting Firms Associations, Japan(ECFA)) / Individual Supporting Member / Official Member (2011 – 2019)
JJapanese Conference on Overseas Development of Eco-Cities (J-CODE) Vietnam Working Group (2012 – 2015)
FinTech Association Japan Individual / Supporting Member (2015 – )
Japan UAS Industrial Development Association(JUIDA) / Individual Member (2016 – )
Japan Association of the Law of Finance / Member (2016 – )
Tama University, The Center for Rule-making Strategies, “ICO (Initial Coin Offering) Business Research Group”(November 2017 – ) Web Page

Publications

2019
Articles
Chambers and Partners Global Practice Guide FinTech 2019 - Japan Chapter Web Page
July 2018
Articles
“Widespread use of crypto currency – current status and challenge for future” Website of National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan, July 2018 No.72 (2018 July 17 Issue)
June 2018
Articles
“Regulatory trends on virtual currency trading and/or ICO – by country/ region” “REGULATIONS” June 2018 vol.13 (2018 June 18 Issue)
December 2017
Articles
“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)
April 2017
Articles
“Effects of Payment Services Act, as amended”, Nikkin Journal No.732 May 2017 issue
October 2016
Articles
”Virtual Currencies, Blockchain and their Financial Practices”, Financial Law Journal No.2051 (October 10th 2016 issue)
July 2015
Articles
”Answers to the Seven Most Frequently Asked Questions on Bitcoins”, Nikkin Journal No.708 (July 2015 issue)
June 2015
Articles
”Recent trends in regulation of cryptocurrencies in Japan and other countries”, Kinzai Weekly No.3123 (June 15th 2015 issue)
July 2014
Books
Islamic business law and practice, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry
March 2014
Articles
”Regulations under Existing Laws on Bitcoins”, Weekly Financial Affairs (March 31, 2014 edition)
February 2013
Articles
Vietnamese Real Property Law for Vietnam’s Urban Development, Shin-Toshi Vol.67 No.2 (February 2013 edition)
October 2011
Articles
Foreign national debt default and bond essentials, CDS, credit ratings and other legal complications, The Turnaround & Credit Management Quarterly No.134 (October 5th 2011 issue)
October 2011
Articles
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)
June 2011
Articles
Effects of the Basel 2.5 Accord on the Securitization Schemes, Kinzai Legal issue No.1924 (25th June 2011 issue)
June 2011
Articles
Tax reforms for Japanese Sukuk, Islamic Finance news
May 2011
Articles
Nuclear power operators’ damage compensation obligations, Business law July 2011 issue
May 2011
Article
2011 edition of Q&A regarding credit derivatives, Tokyo Financial Exchange J-CDS (Website), Japan Securities Clearing Corporation (JSCC)(Website)
May 2011
Articles
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Power Damage Compensation System, Kinzai Weekly No.2930 (May 16th 2011 issue)
February 2011
Articles
Islamic Finance and the 2011 Tax Reform, Kinzai Weekly No. 2918 (February 14th 2011 issue)
September 2010
Articles
Financial Regulation and Side Effects – Credit Rating Firms in Focus, (Nishimura & Asahi Legal Outlook Vol.10) Website Law and Finance Journal, Asahi Judiciary
July 2010
Articles
ADR and CDS Business Revitalization – The Issue of Relevance to Credit Events and Acquiring Public Information, Kinzai Legal issue No.1902 (25th July 2010 issue)
June 2010
Books
(New Practical Finance Introduction Series) Liquidization and securitization of assets and credit (2nd Edition), Kinzai Institute for Financial Affairs, Inc .
March 2010
Articles
Islamic Finance in Japan, Islamic Finance News Guide 2010
July 2009
Books
Latest Financial Regulation, Commercial Law
May 2009
Articles
Effects of the Basel II Accord Revision on Securitization Exposure, Kinzai Weekly No.2835 (4th & 11th May 2009 joint issue) p.84-88
March 2009
Articles
CDS and the Counterparty Risk, Kinzai Weekly No.2829 (23rd March 2009 issue) p.60-61
February 2009
Articles
Q&A Regarding Credit Derivatives, Tokyo Financial Exchange J-CDS (Website) (co-author)
January 2009
Articles
Operation Managed by Banking Groups after the Lifting of the Islamic Banking Embargo, Banking Law Journal 21 No.697 (January 2009 issue)
December 2008
Articles
Bankruptcy of Securitized Products and Restructuring of Applicable Credit, Servicer Quarterly No.15 (December 25th 2008 issue)
November 2008
Articles
Recent changes to the Japanese banking regulations on Islamic financeComplinet.com (Website)
June 2008
Articles
Japanese Legal Issues Regarding the Entry of Domestic Financial Institutions into Islamic Financial System, Business Law August 2008 issue p.100-107
March 2008
Articles
Securities with Links to Insurances and Japanese Legal Considerations, Aioi Basic Research REVIEW 4th issue
March 2008
Articles
Recent regulatory topics on Islamic finance in JapanAsian-Counsel
February 2008
Articles
The Use of Trusts in Regards to Corporate and Company Law, Citizens and Law No.49 (February 2008 issue) p.24-33
July 2007
Articles
The Extent of Regulated Transactions as Clarified by Cabinet and Cabinet Office Directives, Japan Compliance Officer Association July 2007 issue
March 2007
Articles
Asset Liquidization Law (SPC law) and Trust Finance and Commerce, Precedent No.1261 (March 2007 special issue)
December 2006
Articles
The Legal System of Securitization and Liquidization, Regional Banking December 2006 issue
February 2006
Books
The Complete Finance Law Update, Commerce Law
October 2003
Books
The Complete Finance Law, Commerce Law last volume
August 2003
Books
The Complete Finance Law, Commerce Law first volume
July 2002
Articles
Practice of Securitization and Liquidization by Pertinent Asset, The Turnaround & Credit Management Quarterly Special Feature summer issue
July 2001
Articles
Outline of the Securitization Scheme of Housing Loan Credit, The Turnaround & Credit Management Quarterly 93rd issue
2001
Articles
Outline and Practical Consideration of Asset Liquidization Law, 2000 Investigation Report on Asset Liquidization and Investor Protection Display all discussion data

Seminars

April 2019
Panelist
TEAMZ Blockchain Summit 2019 Discussion, “STO's - The New Kid On The Block” Web Page
September 2018
Lecturer & Panelist
“Widespread use of crypto currency – current status and challenge for future”/2018 Asia Pacific Blockchain (Tokyo) Summit [Handouts in Japanese]
September 2018
Lecturer
“Crypto Crimes and Investigatory methodologies”/Aichi prefectural police headquarters 
July 2018
Lecturer
“Understanding Blockchain Investments: Virtual Currencies and Japan Regulations” / The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ)[Resume]
June 2018
Lecturer
“Role of Crypto-currency Exchange and Japanese VC Act”/ASEAN+3 BOND MARKET FORUM(ABMF) [Resume]
May 2018
Lecturer
Latest Trends Surrounding Virtual Currency and Its Legal System /JIPDEC [Handouts in Japanese]
February 2018
Lecturer
“ICO in Japan: Current Trend and Regulations” /Blockchain for Enterprise 2018 in Nagoya [Handouts in Japanese]
February 2018
Lecturer & Panelist
“Virtual Currency Market in Japan” /PRC-Japan Virtual Currency Conference No.1 – [Handouts in Japanese]
December 2017
Lecturer
“Bitcoin and its criminal use – criminal cases”/National Police Agency, Cybercrime Division, Training Session
October 2017
Lecturer
“ICO and Japanese Law”/Financial Facsimile News Seminar – [Handouts in Japanese]
October 2017
Lecturer
“Legal Framework for ICO”/ICO Conference – [Handouts in Japanese]
September 2017
Lecturer
“Bitcoin and its criminal use – criminal cases”/Gunma prefectural police headquarters
September 2017
Lecturer
“Summary of Japanese laws applicable to ICO” / Japan Blockchain Association Meetup VOL.2
August 2017
Lecturer
Study Sessions “Bitcoin and related criminal cases”/National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan
April 2017
Lecturer
Results of public comments: Virtual Currencies Act – [Handouts in Japanese] at Japan Blockchain Association Virtual Currencies Sector regular meeting
June 2017
Lecturer
Legal issues of Blockchain technology which is of current interest as a new IT infrastructure/Financial Management Forums
January 2017
Lecturer
Cabinet Order, Cabinet Office Ordinance and the Guidelines of the Virtual Currency Law/at Japan Blockchain Association Virtual Currencies Sector regular meeting [Handouts in Japanese]
November 2016
Lecturer
Study Sessions of Investment Contract for Entrepreneurs “Funding, Investment Contract and Shareholders’ Agreement of Startups” / Fin Book Camp [Handouts in Japanese]
October 2016
Commentator
“Comments on New Virtual Currency Regulation and Treatment of Bitcoin in Bankruptcy Proceedings” [Handouts in Japanese]
September 2016
Lecturer
Latest Trends Surrounding Virtual Currency and Its Legal System / JIPDEC [Handouts in Japanese]
August 2016
Lecturer
Current Situation, Specific Cases and Legal Issues of FinTech and Blockchain Businesses / Seminar-info [Handouts in Japanese]
July 2016
Lecturer
Current situation and Legal issues of FinTech Businesses/Nagano Employers’ Association [Handouts in Japanese]
June 2016
Lecturer
Legal issues of Blockchain technology which is of current interest as a new IT infrastructure/Financial Management Forums
June 2016
Lecturer
Current situation and future regulation of virtual currency/Chubu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry
June 2016
Lecturer
Bitcoin, Blockchain and Japanese Law/The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants
May 2016
Lecturer
New regulation of virtual currency in Japan/Monthly Party With Mrs And Miss Bitcoin [Handouts in Japanese]
April 2016
Lecturer
New regulation of virtual currency in Japan/Japan Authority of Digital Assets Workshop [Handouts in Japanese]
March 2016
Lecturer
Legal issues of Blockchain technology which is of current interest as a new IT infrastructure/Financial Management Forums [Handouts in Japanese]
March 2016
Lecturer
Current situation and legal issues of FinTech and Blockchain businesses/Tokyo Risk Manager Association Seminar [Handouts in Japanese]
January 2016
Lecturer
Prospective expansion of Drone business and legislative issues in Japan/Financial Facsimile News Seminar
January 2016
Lecturer
Current situation and legal issues of FinTech business/Financial Management Forums
July 2015
Panelist
Legislation and Infrastructure in Need of Fintech Reform – Trends and Prospects Surrounding Virtual Currency / GMS Forum 2015
July 2015
Lecturer Panelist
Current State of Digital Currency Regulation in Japan, Regulation Panel/The New Context Conference 2015 Tokyo
February 2015
Panelist
The Rise of Bitcoin / Rakuten Financial Conference 2015
January 2015
Panelist
Inside Bitcoins Singapore
September 2014
Lecturer
Bitcoin Regulation and Activities of the Japan Authority of Digital Assets/Bitcoin Center NYC
June 2014
Lecturer
Bitcoin business and the Japanese law / Financial Facsimile News Seminar
April 2014
Lecturer
Overview of Bitcoins and Handling under the Japanese Law / Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Seminar
February 2014
Lecturer
Outline of Bitcoins and Position under Japanese Law
March 2013
Lecturer
Practical Operation of Contract Management and Disputes for “New Managers” in Overseas Construction Businesses
December 2012
Lecturer
Vietnamese Law, Vietnamese Real Property Law and Urban Development Law for Vietnam’s Urban Development
October 2012
Lecturer
Capital Procurement (Contingent Capital) under Basel III
May 2012
Lecturer
Case Examples of Losses Suffered / Overseas Construction Projects Contract Management for “New Managers” in Overseas Construction Projects
March 2012
Lecturer
Legal Issues relating to the Default of Sovereign Debt
October 2011
Lecturer
Case Examples of Failures and Disputes of Overseas Construction seen in Publically Announced Materials and Future Risk Management
September 2011
Lecturer
Methods of Capital Procurement under Basel III
July 2011
Lecturer
Legal Issues and Future Corporate Responses relating to Reconstruction following the Great East Japan Earthquake
January 2011
Lecturer
Various Issues of CDS Practice and Credit Event Assessments
December 2010
Panelist
Japan and the Islamic financial markets
November 2009
Lecturer
Islamic Finance and the Japanese Legal System
September 2009
Lecturer
Investments in Securitization / Bundled Products and Risk Management / Dispute Responses
April 2009
Lecturer
Financial Strategies Moving One Step Forward
April 2009
Lecturer
Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS) Endowed Class “Pratical Aspects of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act”
February 2009
Lecturer
Islamic Finance and Japanese Legal System
February 2009
Panelist
The financial crisis and practical remedies to the financial and economic situation in local areas
January 2009
Lecturer
The Emissions Trading System and Legal Points of Note as seen from the Perspective of Finance
November 2008
Lecturer
Issues under Japanese Law accompanying the Issuance, Composition and Investments of Sukuk
November 2008
Lecturer
The Collapse of Originator / Securitized Products and Opportunities for Servicers’ Activities
October 2008
Lecturer
Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS) Endowed Class “Practical Aspects of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act”
October 2008
Lecturer
Status of the Development of the Legal Infrastructure for Emissions Trading and Future Outlook
September 2008
Lecturer
Self-Procured Capital through Tier 1 Preferred Securities / Tier 2 Subordinated Bonds and BIS Regulations
July 2008
Lecturer
Self-Procured Capital through Tier 1 Preferred Securities / Tier 2 Subordinated Bonds and BIS Regulations
June 2008
Lecturer
Legal Issues of CDO, Synthetic CDO and Dealing with the Subprime Problem
June 2008
Lecturer
Islamic Finance and Project Financing
May 2008
Lecturer
Islamic Finance and Issues under Japanese Law
March 2008
Lecturer
Islamic Finance and Points to Consider under Japanese Law
December 2007
Lecturer
Islamic Finance and Considerations under Japanese Law
December 2007
Lecturer
Legal Considerations on Risk Management Financial Products such as Cat Bonds and Life Insurance Risk Securities
December 2007
Lecturer
Legal Issues relating to CDO, Synthetic CDO
September 2007
Lecturer
Issues on Japanese Law relating to Cat Bonds and Life Insurance Risk Securities
April 2007
Lecturer
Handling of Insurance Linked Securities under Basel II
February 2004
Lecturer
Legal Issues of Balance Sheet Type Synthetic CDO’s
February 2004
Lecturer
New Trends in Securitization Schemes
July 2003
Lecturer
Legal Issues relating to CDO, CLO and Synthetic CDO
May 2003
Lecturer
Sorting Out Legal Issues relating to CDO, CLO and Synthetic CDO

Media

February 2019
Newspaper/Comments
Sanyo, February 24, 2019 Page 4
November 2018
Internet / Comments
Nihon Keizai On-line, November 18, 2018
November 2018
Newspaper / Comments
Asahi, November 14, 2018 Page 10
August 2018
Newspaper / Comments
Kobe, July 26, 2018
May 2018
Magazine / Comments
Nikkei Business No.1940, May 7, 2018
May 2018
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei, May 5, 2018 Page 26
March 2018
Magazine / Comments
Weekly Toyo Keizai No.6781, March 17, 2018
February 2018
Magazine / Comments
Sunday Mainichi dated February 13, 2018, The February 25, 2018 Issue
February 2018
Newspaper / Interview
Yomiuri, February 6, 2018 Page 7
December 2017
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei, December 10, 2017 Page 2
November 2017
Internet / Comments
Toyo Keizai On-line, November 4, 2017
October 2017
Magazine / Comments
Weekly Toyo Keizai No.6758, November 4, 2017
September 2017
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei Sangyo Shinbun(Nikkei Industrial Journal), September 20, 2017
September 2017
Magazine / Comments
AERA No.40, September 18, 2017
September 2017
Magazine / Comments
Nikkei Business No.1907, September 11, 2017
August 2017
Magazine / Comments
Nikkei Business No.1905, August 28, 2017
August 2017
Newspaper / Comments
Sankei, August 18, 2017
August 2017
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei Online, August 18, 2017
August 2017
Internet / Comments
Asialaw Profiles, August 15, 2017
August 2017
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei, August 4, 2017 Page 7
July 2017
Internet / Comments
Reuters News, July 21, 2017
July 2017
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei, July 17, 2017 Page 11
June 2017
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei Online, June 27, 2017
January 2017
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun(Nikkei Industrial Journal), January 6, 2017 Page 2
February 2016
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei, February 17, 2016 Page 3
January 2016
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei, January 25, 2016 Page 15
December 2015
Newspaper / Comments
Nikkei, December 7, 2015 Page 15
May 2014
Television / Comments
“World Business Satellite” TV Tokyo aired on May 12, 2014
February 2014
Newspaper / Comments
The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2014 Pages 15 and 23
April 2011
Internet / Comments
Reuters News UK Electronic Version April 4, 2011

Language

Japanese・English