So Saito

admitted in Japan and New York

So 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 2020 he was ranked for FinTech Legal in Japan by Chambers Asia Pacific and for financial institution regulatory law in Japan by Best Lawyers (2021).

Practice Areas

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


Japanese, English

2019 - Japan STO Association Auditor
2016 - Supervisory Director / Mitsubishi Estate Logistics REIT Investment Corporation
2015 Founder / So Law Office
2015 - 2018 Director / bitFlyer, Inc.
2015 - Corporate Auditor / Topaz Capital, Inc.
2014 - Legal Advisor / Japan Blockchain Association (Former name: Japan Authority of Digital Assets)
2014 - 2015 Compliance Officer / Funds (Type2 FIE Operator, Investment Advisor, Investment Manager)
2013 - Attorney Director / Cedyna Servicer Co., Ltd.
2012 - 2018 Lecturer / the Chuo Graduate School of Accounting, specifically the MBA Program in International Accounting & Finance
2011 - 2012 Member of Workshop on Construction Contract Management held by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
2008 Partner / Nishimura & Asahi
2005 - 2006 Employed by Debevoise & Plimpton, New York
1999 Admitted to the bar in Japan. Joined Nishimura & Partners (now Nishimura & Asahi)
2005 New York University, School of Law(LL.M.)
1997 The University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law(B.A.)
04/2021 Recognized for Financial institution regulatory law and FinTech practice by Best Lawyers in Japan 2022
12/2020 Ranked as a lawyer in the FinTech field 2021 by Chambers and Partner
04/2020 Recognized for Financial institution regulatory law and FinTech practice by Best Lawyers in Japan 2021
01/2020 Ranked as a lawyer in the FinTech field 2020 by Chambers and Partner
1999 Dai-ichi Tokyo Bar Association
2006 New York State Bar Association
2015 - FinTech Association Japan Individual / Supporting Member
2016 - Japan Association of the Law of Finance / Member
11/2017 ama University, The Center for Rule-making Strategies, “ICO (Initial Coin Offering) Business Research Group”
2016 - Japan UAS Industrial Development Association(JUIDA) / Individual Member
2005 - 2015 Securitization Forum of Japan Member of various committees
2011 - 2019 Association of Japanese Consulting Engineers (AJCE)(Currently, Engineering and Consulting Firms Associations, Japan(ECFA)) / Individual Supporting Member / Official Member
2012 - 2015 Japanese Conference on Overseas Development of Eco-Cities (J-CODE) Vietnam Working Group
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
03/2021 “Practice and Law of Custody of Crypto Assets” The Financial and Business Law Precedents No.1611 (March 2021 special issue)
2019 Legal Landscapes Governing Digital Tokens in Japan - Chamber of Digital Commerce
10/2019 Kinyu 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)
05/2019 “The basics of law in virtual currency”, Tokyo Omotenashi settai restaurant 50 /2020 (May 24th 2019 issue)
05/2019 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)
07/2014 Islamic business law and practice, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry
03/2014 ”Regulations under Existing Laws on Bitcoins”, Weekly Financial Affairs (March 31, 2014 edition)
02/2013 Vietnamese Real Property Law for Vietnam’s Urban Development, Shin-Toshi Vol.67 No.2 (February 2013 edition)
10/2011 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)
10/2011 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)
06/2011 Effects of the Basel 2.5 Accord on the Securitization Schemes, Kinzai Legal issue No.1924 (25th June 2011 issue)
06/2011 Tax reforms for Japanese Sukuk, Islamic Finance news
05/2011 Nuclear power operators’ damage compensation obligations, Business law July 2011 issue
05/2011 2011 edition of Q&A regarding credit derivatives, Tokyo Financial Exchange J-CDS (Website), Japan Securities Clearing Corporation (JSCC)(Website)
05/2011 The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Power Damage Compensation System, Kinzai Weekly No.2930 (May 16th 2011 issue)
02/2011 Islamic Finance and the 2011 Tax Reform, Kinzai Weekly No. 2918 (February 14th 2011 issue)
09/2010 Financial Regulation and Side Effects – Credit Rating Firms in Focus, (Nishimura & Asahi Legal Outlook Vol.10) Website Law and Finance Journal, Asahi Judiciary
07/2010 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)
06/2010 (New Practical Finance Introduction Series) Liquidation and securitization of assets and credit (2nd Edition), Kinzai Institute for Financial Affairs, Inc.
03/2010 Islamic Finance in Japan, Islamic Finance News Guide 2010
07/2009 Latest Financial Regulation, Commercial Law
05/2009 Effects of the Basel II Accord Revision on Securitization Exposure, Kinzai Weekly No.2835 (4th & 11th May 2009 joint issue) p.84-88
03/2009 CDS and the Counterparty Risk, Kinzai Weekly No.2829 (23rd March 2009 issue) pp. 60-61
02/2009 Q&A Regarding Credit Derivatives, Tokyo Financial Exchange J-CDS (Website) (co-author)
01/2009 Operation Managed by Banking Groups after the Lifting of the Islamic Banking Embargo, Banking Law Journal 21 No.697 (January 2009 issue)
12/2008 Bankruptcy of Securitized Products and Restructuring of Applicable Credit, Servicer Quarterly No.15 (December 25th 2008 issue)
11/2008 Recent changes to the Japanese banking regulations on Islamic (Website)
06/2008 Japanese Legal Issues Regarding the Entry of Domestic Financial Institutions into Islamic Financial System, Business Law August 2008 issue pp. 100-107
03/2008 Securities with Links to Insurances and Japanese Legal Considerations, Aioi Basic Research Review 4th issue
03/2008 Recent regulatory topics on Islamic finance in JapanAsian-Counsel
02/2008 The Use of Trusts in Regards to Corporate and Company Law, Citizens and Law No.49 (February 2008 issue) pp. 24-33
07/2007 The Extent of Regulated Transactions as Clarified by Cabinet and Cabinet Office Directives, Japan Compliance Officer Association July 2007 issue
03/2007 Asset Liquidation Law (SPC law) and Trust Finance and Commerce, Precedent No.1261 (March 2007 special issue)
12/2006 The Legal System of Securitization and Liquidation, Regional Banking December 2006 issue
02/2006 The Complete Finance Law Update, Commerce Law
10/2003 The Complete Finance Law, Commerce Law last volume
08/2003 The Complete Finance Law, Commerce Law first volume
07/2002 Practice of Securitization and Liquidization by Pertinent Asset, The Turnaround & Credit Management Quarterly Special Feature summer issue
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
09/2020 Fintech Engineer Training Seminar #10: "The Current Situation and Future of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)" [Handout in JP]
04/2020 ACCJ Webinar [Handout in EN]
04/2020 Results of Public Comments on Crypto Asset Derivatives Transactions and Crypto Asset Margin Transactions/JCBA [Handout in JP]
04/2020 STO Panel
04/2020 STO Seminar/Financial Facsimile News Seminar [Handout in JP]
06/2019 Financing through STO (Security Token Offering) - legal issues in and out of Japan / Financial Management Forums, Inc.
04/2019 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]
02/2019 “Will STO(Security Token Offering) bring blockchain a renewed prospority? ”/Jinse Meetup #JAPAN #VOL.2
01/2019 “Cross Chain decentralized exchanges how would they boost development of wallet blockchain industry?”/AtoX & TEAM Cross chain Event
09/2018 “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
07/2018 “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]
05/2018 Latest Trends Surrounding Virtual Currency and Its Legal System /JIPDEC [Handout in JP]
02/2018 “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]
12/2017 “Bitcoin and its criminal use – criminal cases”/National Police Agency, Cybercrime Division, Training Session
10/2017 “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
09/2017 “Summary of Japanese laws applicable to ICO” / Japan Blockchain Association Meetup VOL.2
08/2017 Study Sessions “Bitcoin and related criminal cases”/National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan
06/2017 Legal issues of Blockchain technology which is of current interest as a new IT infrastructure/Financial Management Forums
01/2017 Cabinet Order, Cabinet Office Ordinance and the Guidelines of the Virtual Currency Law/at Japan Blockchain Association Virtual Currencies Sector regular meeting [Handout in JP]
04/2017 Results of public comments: Virtual Currencies Act – Japan Blockchain Association Virtual Currencies Sector regular meeting [Handout in JP]
11/2016 Study 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]
09/2016 Latest Trends Surrounding Virtual Currency and Its Legal System / JIPDEC [Handout in JP]
08/2016 Current Situation, Specific Cases and Legal Issues of FinTech and Blockchain Businesses / Seminar-info
07/2016 Current Situation, Specific Cases and Legal Issues of FinTech and Blockchain Businesses / Seminar-info
06/2016 Legal issues of Blockchain technology which is of current interest as a new IT infrastructure/Financial Management Forums
06/2016 Current situation and future regulation of virtual currency/Chubu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry
06/2016 Bitcoin, Blockchain and Japanese Law/The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants
05/2016 New regulation of virtual currency in Japan/Monthly Party With Mrs And Miss Bitcoin
04/2016 New regulation of virtual currency in Japan/Japan Authority of Digital Assets Workshop [Handout in JP]
03/2016 Legal issues of Blockchain technology which is of current interest as a new IT infrastructure/Financial Management Forums
01/2016 Prospective expansion of Drone business and legislative issues in Japan/Financial Facsimile News Seminar
01/2016 Current situation and legal issues of FinTech business/Financial Management Forums
07/2015 Legislation and Infrastructure in Need of Fintech Reform – Trends and Prospects Surrounding Virtual Currency / GMS Forum 2015
07/2015 Current State of Digital Currency Regulation in Japan, Regulation Panel/The New Context Conference 2015 Tokyo
02/2015 The Rise of Bitcoin / Rakuten Financial Conference 2015
01/2015 Inside Bitcoins Singapore
09/2014 Bitcoin Regulation and Activities of the Japan Authority of Digital Assets/Bitcoin Center NYC
06/2014 Bitcoin business and the Japanese law / Financial Facsimile News Seminar
04/2014 Overview of Bitcoins and Handling under the Japanese Law / Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Seminar
02/2014 Outline of Bitcoins and Position under Japanese Law
03/2013 Practical Operation of Contract Management and Disputes for “New Managers” in Overseas Construction Businesses
12/2012 Vietnamese Law, Vietnamese Real Property Law and Urban Development Law for Vietnam’s Urban Development
10/2012 Capital Procurement (Contingent Capital) under Basel III
05/2012 Case Examples of Losses Suffered / Overseas Construction Projects Contract Management for “New Managers” in Overseas Construction Projects
03/2012 Legal Issues relating to the Default of Sovereign Debt
10/2011 Case Examples of Failures and Disputes of Overseas Construction seen in Publically Announced Materials and Future Risk Management
09/2011 Methods of Capital Procurement under Basel III
07/2011 Legal Issues and Future Corporate Responses relating to Reconstruction following the Great East Japan Earthquake
01/2011 Various Issues of CDS Practice and Credit Event Assessments
12/2010 Japan and the Islamic financial markets
11/2009 Japan and the Islamic financial markets
09/2009 Investments in Securitization / Bundled Products and Risk Management / Dispute Responses
04/2009 Financial Strategies Moving One Step Forward
02/2009 Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS) Endowed Class “Practical Aspects of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act”
02/2009 Islamic Finance and Japanese Legal System
10/2008 The financial crisis and practical remedies to the financial and economic situation in local areas
11/2008 The Emissions Trading System and Legal Points of Note as seen from the Perspective of Finance
11/2008 Issues under Japanese Law accompanying the Issuance, Composition and Investments of Sukuk
10/2008 The Collapse of Originator / Securitized Products and Opportunities for Servicers’ Activities
10/2008 Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS) Endowed Class “Practical Aspects of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act”
09/2008 Self-Procured Capital through Tier 1 Preferred Securities / Tier 2 Subordinated Bonds and BIS Regulations
07/2008 Self-Procured Capital through Tier 1 Preferred Securities / Tier 2 Subordinated Bonds and BIS Regulations
06/2008 Legal Issues of CDO, Synthetic CDO and Dealing with the Subprime Problem
12/2007 Islamic Finance and Project Financing
05/2008 Islamic Finance and Issues under Japanese Law
03/2008 Islamic Finance and Points to Consider under Japanese Law
09/2007 Islamic Finance and Considerations under Japanese Law
12/2007 Legal Considerations on Risk Management Financial Products such as Cat Bonds and Life Insurance Risk Securities
12/2007 Legal Issues relating to CDO, Synthetic CDO
09/2007 Issues on Japanese Law relating to Cat Bonds and Life Insurance Risk Securities
04/2007 Handling of Insurance Linked Securities under Basel II
06/2021 The Japan Times, June 9, 2021 NFT interest growing in Japan, but legal worries persist
04/2020 Hokkaido, April 12, 2020 page 26
09/2019 Nihon Keizai, September 24, 2019 page 8
07/2019 Yomiuri, July 26, 2019 page 6
06/2019 Nihon Keizai On-line, June 29, 2019
02/2019 Sanyo, February 24, 2019 Page 4
11/2018 Nihon Keizai On-line, November 18, 2018
11/2018 Asahi, November 14, 2018 Page 10
07/2018 Kobe, July 26, 2018
05/2018 Nikkei Business No.1940, May 7, 2018
05/2018 Nikkei, May 5, 2018 Page 26
03/2018 Weekly Toyo Keizai No.6781, March 17, 2018
02/2018 Sunday Mainichi dated February 13, 2018, The February 25, 2018 Issue
02/2017 Yomiuri, February 6, 2018 Page 7
12/2017 Nikkei, December 10, 2017 Page 2
11/2017 Toyo Keizai On-line, November 4, 2017
11/2017 Weekly Toyo Keizai No.6758, November 4, 2017
09/2017 Nikkei Sangyo Shinbun (Nikkei Industrial Journal), September 20, 2017
09/2017 AERA No.40, September 18, 2017
08/2017 Nikkei Business No.1907, September 11, 2017
08/2017 Nikkei Business No.1905, August 28, 2017
08/2017 Sankei, August 18, 2017
08/2017 Nikkei Online, August 18, 2017
08/2017 Asialaw Profiles, August 15, 2017
07/2017 Nikkei, August 4, 2017 Page 7
07/2017 Reuters News, July 21, 2017
07/2017 Nikkei, July 17, 2017 Page 11
06/2017 Nikkei Online, June 27, 2017
01/2017 Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (Nikkei Industrial Journal), January 6, 2017 Page 2
02/2016 Nikkei, February 17, 2016 Page 3
01/2016 Nikkei, January 25, 2016 Page 15
12/2015 Nikkei, December 7, 2015 Page 15
05/2014 “World Business Satellite” TV Tokyo aired on May 12, 2014
02/2014 The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2014 Pages 15 and 23