In-house legal departments, once small and of little importance in corporate Japan, have grown substantially over the past decade, prompted by an increase in regulatory lobbying activity and the need for globally united legal departments.

“In recent years, an increasing number of Japanese companies have been trying to establish a global reporting line connecting the legal department of overseas branches and subsidiaries with that of the head office,” said Hideyuki Sakamoto, president of the Japan In-House Lawyers Association and chief legal officer of the Gibraltar Life Insurance Co. in Tokyo.