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Damien Roberts


Damien advises our Japanese clients on cross-border acquisitions, resource projects and infrastructure matters.



Damien helps our Japanese clients realise real value from their international investments. He does so by sharing his extensive experience in Australia, Japan and the regions in which both countries invest, and by offering industry-leading Japanese language and business fluency.

Throughout a career focused heavily on Japan, Damien has assisted many of this country's leading trading houses, manufacturers, resource companies and infrastructure players pursue growth in a variety of offshore jurisdictions and diverse market conditions.

Damien is licensed to advise in Japan as a Registered Foreign Lawyer (外国法事務弁護士).

Based in Tokyo since 2011, Damien leads multi-office teams to support our clients and their other professional advisers on strategic investments, joint venture operations and long-term project developments. His accumulated expertise spans a broad range of sectors important to Japan, and he regularly advises on matters in the manufacturing, machinery, food, consumer goods and healthcare sectors – in addition to guiding clients on a range of mining and large-scale infrastructure projects (including road, rail, airports and water).

Reflecting a deep understanding of Japanese corporates and their tolerance for risk, Chambers Global 2017 lists Damien as a Japan-based expert for Corporate M&A in Japan and Australia, and describes him as a "strong communicator" and "an exceptional adviser for Japanese clients".

Damien has formerly served as an Executive Councillor for the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and actively supports a number of key initiatives of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee. Leveraging his insights, together with colleagues throughout the Herbert Smith Freehills global network he plays a core role in further developing the firm's Japan-focused investment corridors to deliver end-to-end legal support for our Japanese clients and their business partners.

Damien has held a Level 1 JLPT certification in Japanese (日本語能力試験) for over 25 years, and is a NAATI-accredited interpreter.

Damien's experience includes advising:

  • Japan Pulp & Paper Co. Ltd on its acquisition of the Singaporean and Malaysian businesses of Spicers Paper
  • the Sumitomo Corporation-led consortium on the proposed Japanese bid for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail Project
  • Marubeni Corporation on the establishment of an OECD infrastructure fund and seeding with infrastructure assets
  • Fujitsu General on its acquisition of Precise Air Group AVAC
  • Toyota Tsusho Corporation on the acquisition of a 20% interest of the share capital in ASX and TSX dual-listed Orocobre Limited
  • Sojitz Corporation on the expansion of its investment (together with Nishat Mills Limited and certain of its group companies and others) in Hyundai Nishat Motor (Private) Limited in Pakistan, and the related financing arrangements, for an autos distribution business in Pakistan
  • Gulliver International Co, Ltd on its acquisition of a majority interest in Western Australia's second largest automotive group
  • Mitsui Matsushima International Pty Ltd on the proposed acquisition of an interest in the Eastern Coal Project in Australia
  • Teijin Limited on its acquisition of 39% stake in The Healthy Grain Pty Ltd
  • Yahoo! Japan on their joint venture with Skyscanner Ltd for the provision of web-based travel information and search engine services in Japan
  • a leading Japanese industrial/engineering corporation on its bid for a multi-jurisdictional water infrastructure business