The Japanese economy was severely disrupted by the earthquake and resulting nuclear incident in 2011. The economy began to settle down by the middle of the year and by the end of 2011 it was business as usual; although a proportion of international offices were depleted after some associates chose to permanently relocate. 2012 has seen a growth in demand for international lawyers with project finance, corporate projects, energy and corporate M&A experience. After the earthquake, Japan has focused on sourcing alternative energy sources, either through joint ventures with international partners or increasingly, through utilising the strong yen to purchase stakes in power operations all over the world. Japanese language skills are not essential for projects lawyers due to the high level of interaction with stakeholders outside of Japan. Outbound corporate M&A work has also seen a sharp spike in 2012 and the corporate departments of many international firms are running at full capacity as Japanese companies look to make acquisitions overseas.
As one of the world's leading economies, Japan is still very much a player on the global stage. For lawyers with an interest or connections to the country, now is a good time to be looking at a move there.