Mina Arai-Ito


Innovation Strategy Partner / Attorney-at-Law


International lawyer

-Founder and CEO of ZENMONDO Co., Ltd. and Special Advisor to Baker & McKenzie

-As a partner at Baker & McKenzie, she led a team of lawyers and other professionals in M&A and other transactions for nearly 30 years.

-She has been described by clients as having “exceptional leadership and management skills” and has led a number of major transactions to a success.

-She has worked in Cairo, Brussels, Taipei, Washington DC, Tokyo, and other locations around the world, using her expertise to advise and solve problems.


Business Strategy Advisor

– Her long experience and wide range of activities in many countries in the world have set her apart from other lawyers in the field, and she is able to assist both domestic and foreign companies with their global business and growth strategies.

-As one of the pioneering experts on Middle East and Africa business in Japan, she has shared her knowledge and experience on investment and expansion in the region together with Japanese ministries and embassies in Tokyo.

-She also serves as an independent board member of listed companies in Japan.

Investment Partner

– In recent years, together with embassies in the Middle East and Africa, she has focused on fostering the next generation of business leaders and creating new businesses through open innovation, aiming to take partnership one step further by investing “together” as well as providing hands-on support to these businesses.

See details

Representative clients, cases or matters


・Japan Egypt Business Council – Committee Member

・Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Tokyo – Strategic Advisor

・Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Japan – Special Advisor

・Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Istanbul & Cairo – Legal Counsel

Government/ Public matters:

・Represented the United States government and assisted Mickey Kantor, then US Trade Representative, in strategizing trade negotiations.

・Advised MiSK Foundation(chaired by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince) in M&A deals and for its daily management and negotiations.

・Advised the Egyptian government on its national public infrastructure project.

・Assisted in the Taiwan High Speed Rail BOT Project.

Middle East and Africa matters:

・Advised corporates’ management in launching new businesses, bringing synergies, and creating growth strategies.

・Advised startups and corporates such as CVCs for investments and business expansions.

・Provided structuring advice and conducted pre-investment due diligence and risk analysis.

・Advised on entry and business expansion strategies such as distributorships, acquisitions, joint ventures, and establishing manufacturing plants.

・Provided hands-on assistance in PMI and day-to-day business management/ operations.

・Assisted in multijurisdictional global reorganizations/ restructuring of worldwide operations in more than 20 countries.

・Setting up regional headquarters by reorganizing/ restructuring existing subsidiaries and distributors.

・Conducted world-wide multijurisdictional researches, on issues such as employment, sanctions, anti-trust, and other compliance regulations.

・Negotiated and advised on litigations, arbitrations, and dispute resolutions such as termination/ dissolution of joint ventures and distributorship.

・Advised on acquisition of companies with advanced technologies, technology licenses and transfers, and intellectual property issues.

M&A and Investments:

・Assisted in M&A and other transactions for a number of companies in a variety of fields, such as Japanese and non-Japanese pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, medical equipment manufacturers, trading companies, automakers, electronics manufacturers, renewable energy, telecommunication, tech-startups, banks, insurance, media, entertainment, and food companies, etc.


Publications, presentations and articles

Middle East/Africa Newsletters

・Co-author, “Series: No. 4 Middle East & Africa Healthcare Investment Report – Egypt” 25, March 2018
・Co-author, “Series: No. 3 Middle East & Africa Healthcare Investment Report – Turkey” 24, December 2017
・Co-author, “Series: No. 2 Middle East & Africa Healthcare Investment Report – Saudi Arabia” 23, July 2017
・Co-author, “Series: No. 1 Middle East & Africa Healthcare Investment Report – UAE” 22, April 2017
・Co-author, “Space Business and Law: No. 1 Space Businesses by Private Entities” 21, April 2016
・Co-author, “Focus on Iran: European Union, Switzerland, and the United States Relax Sanctions Targeting Iran on “Implementation Day”; Canadian Sanctions Under Review,” 20, February 2016
・Co-author, “Seminar Report : Competition Law in the Middle East (Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, Jordan),” 19, December 2015
・Co-author, “Preliminary insights -the new UAE commercial companies law,” 18, August 2015
・Co-author, “Turkey update (Part 1),” 17, March 2015
・Co-author, “Current status and trends of arbitration practice in the UAE (Part 2),” 16, December 2014
・Co-author, “Corruption and bribery in Africa – risks and solutions,” 15, May 2014
・Co-author, “Legislative and commercial development in the second half of 2013 – UAE, Ghana, Qatar, Kuwait, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, Nigeria, Bahrain and South Africa,” 14, March 2014
・Co-author, “Current status and trends of arbitration practice in UAE (Part 1),” 13, January 2014
・Co-author, “Foreign exchange control regulations in South Africa,” 12, October 2013
・Co-author, “Legislative and Commercial Development in the first half of 2013 – UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa, Morocco and COMESA,” 11, August 2013
・Co-author, “Turkey’s New Hospital PPP Regime is expected to increase foreign investment and improve bankability,” 10, June 2013
・Co-author, “Issues posed by local agent protection laws in Egypt,” 9, May 2013
・Co-author, “South Africa’s Merger Control Regime – Possibly applicable when entering into South Africa by means of M&A,” 8, April 2013
・Co-author, “Issues and solutions for the termination of a local agent or distributor agreement in Turkey,” 7, March 2013
・Co-author, “Anti-counterfeiting issues in Egypt,” 6, February 2013
・Co-author, “Legislative and Commercial Development in 2012 – UAE, Egypt, Kuwait, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain, South Africa and Morocco,” 5, February 2013
・Co-author, “Saudization – Requirement of employing Saudi Arabian citizens – You may be required to reconsider your employment structure in Saudi Arabia by February 2013,” 4, November 2012
・Author, “Government businesses or state-owned firms: Issues to be aware of regarding litigation and mediation systems,” 3, September 2012
・Author, “Important last minute changes made to the New Turkish Commercial Code prior to enactment,” 2, September 2012
・Author, “Major revisions to the Turkish Commercial Code effective July 1, 2012,” Vol.1, June 2012


Publications and Articles

・Co-author, “Part I, Section 4 Middle East Business and the Law,” International Business Law – 2nd Edition, LexisNexis Japan, July 2015
・Co-author, “Exporting Japanese medical service packages to emerging countries”: Overview of regulations for establishing and operating medical institutions in the Asia Pacific region,” Baker McKenzie, March 2013
・Co-author, “World Legal & Business Guide No.15 Turkey,” Business Law Journal, LexisNexis, June 2012
・Co-author, “World Legal & Business Guide No.10 Egypt,” Business Law Journal, LexisNexis, January 2012
・Co-author, Doing Business Guide in Egypt, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), March 2011
・Author, Managing Cross-Border M&A Risk – EU Competition Law Perspective, December 2005
・Co-author, Doing Business Guide in Taiwan, Baker McKenzie, May 1998



・Moderator, “TICAD 7 Preview: Symposium: Japan’s New Strategies to Africa Businesses” hosted by Nikkei Shimbun, Nikkei BP, Co-sponsored by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, May 2019
・Speaker, “Japan-Egypt Business Workshop” hosted by Embassy of Egypt in Japan, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan-Egypt Business Council (JEBC), Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI), Tokyo Chamber of Commerce & Industry (TCCI), Sep 2018.
・Speaker, “Innovation as a Bridge between and among Japan, the Middle East & Africa ~ Introduction to a New World and New Yourself~” hosted by ZENMONDO global business community, co-sponsored by Embassy of Egypt in Japan, Embassy of the UAE in Tokyo, Baker & McKenzie, July 2018.
・Speaker, “Business and investment environment in Turkey” hosted by Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT), EY Turkey, Baker & McKenzie, March 2018.
・Speaker, “Investment and M&A in Turkey” hosted by Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT), JETRO, PRAGMA Mizuho Bank, Baker & McKenzie, Feb 2017.
・Speaker, “Investment in Renewable Energy Projects in Africa” hosted by Japan Institute for Overseas Investment, Baker & McKenzie, Feb 2017.
・Speaker, “International Arbitration in the Middle East: Perspectives from the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” hosted by Baker & McKenzie, May 2016.
・Speaker, “Iran’s current market economy: Legal experts from Japan, U.S. and Europe define the business environment after sanctions are lifted” hosted by Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO), Jan 2016.
・Speaker, “Competition laws in Africa: South Africa, COMESA, Morocco, Kenia, Nigeria, Mozambique” hosted by Fair Trade Institute, Jan 2016.
・Speaker, “Competition law in the Middle East: Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan” hosted by Fair Trade Association, November 2015.
・Speaker, “Investment strategies in Africa – the go/no-go risk process: Discussing successes and failures of foreign companies with anti-corruption experts” hosted by IDE-JETRO, Oct 2015.
・Speaker, “The current Islamic Region business landscape and utilizing Turkey as a hub for operations: Agency law complexities and success/failure in the bidding process” hosted by Nihon Kougyou Keizai Shinbun, May 2015.
・Speaker, “A legal seminar on investments in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the UAE” hosted by Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME), March 2015.
・Moderator, “South Africa – Japan Innovation Business Forum” hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Japan and South African Chamber of Commerce in Japan, November 2014.
・Speaker, “Turkey Business Forum” hosted by Baker McKenzie and the Japan Export and Trade Organization (JETRO), November 2014.
・Speaker, “Japan Africa Business Forum 2014,” hosted by African Development Bank and External Representation Office for Asia (ASRO), June 2014.
・Speaker, “South Africa as a gateway to Africa’s mega market: A summary of the politics, economy and laws,” hosted by the Japan Institute for Overseas Investment (JOI), March 2014.
・Speaker, “South Africa as a gateway to Africa’s mega market: A summary of the politics, economy and laws ” hosted by FN Communications, February 2014.
・Speaker, “Strategic investments in Middle East Arab countries: Enhancing Japanese competitiveness through analysis of past success” hosted by Baker McKenzie and supported by JCCME, December 2013
・Speaker, The 3rd Japan-Arab Economic Forum “Strategic investments in Middle East Arab countries: Enhancing Japanese competitiveness through analysis of past success” hosted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and The League of Arab States
・Speaker, “Nikkei Business Africa Conference 2013”, hosted by Nikkei BP, July 2013
・Speaker, “Africa Investment and Risk Management Strategies Seminar”, hosted by Baker McKenzie and supported by JICA, June 2013
・Speaker, TICAD, “Investment Strategies in Africa: Mitigating risk and maximizing opportunities by entering the market through Egypt, South Africa and Morocco”, hosted by JICA, June 2013
・Speaker, “UHHA Professional Business Seminar: The forefront of African business as well as business on resources”, co-hosted by UHHA Symposium Executive Committee and the MOFA, supported by Ministry of Land etc, Sponsored by Baker McKenzie, May 2013
・Speaker, “Anti-counterfeiting measures in Egypt,” commissioned by METI and sponsored by JETRO, December 2012
・Speaker, “Latest developments concerning investing into Africa” hosted by JOI, October 2012
・Speaker, “Global Management Seminar – Attractions and Legal Risks in investing in Africa”, co-hosted by The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Toyo Keizai Inc. and JICA, June 2012



・TICAD7 Preview Symposium-New Strategies for African Business-Business Model Built on New Partnerships”, Financial Times, August 28, 2019, Nikkei Asian Review August 26, 2019
・”TICAD7 Preview Symposium-New Strategies for African Business-Business Model Built on New Partnerships”, Nikkei Business, July 26, 2019, The Nikkei Newspaper, August 28, 2019
・”<Legal Talk>New Organization set up to exchange information on Middle East”, Interview, The Nikkei Newspaper, June 25, 2018
・Comments, “Japanese companies’ Africa Strategies from a globalization perspective”, Africa News publication issued by Africa Society, January 15, 2016
・Comments, “Practical issues on the ground: Japan develops its presence in Africa”, Africa Law & Business (ALB), January 4, 2016
・Comments, “Iran Businesses: Japan, the US, and European Sanctions: What has changed?”, Asahi Judiciary, September 29, 2016
・Comments, “Legal Section – Japan, Europe, the US – Iran Sanctions”, Nikkei Newspaper, February 8, 2016
・Comments, “Look out – Legal issues in Emerging countries (South Africa)”, The Nikkei Newspaper, December 29, 2014
・Comments, “Africa ABC – Bribery and Corruption – risks for corporations”, The Nikkei Newspaper, December 31, 2013
・Comments, “Corporate governance – social responsibility”, The Nikkei Newspaper, September, 5, 2013
・”Promotion of investments into Africa – Emphasis on risk management”, The Nikkei (Online), June 1, 2013
・”Close up Africa – Business events in Tokyo”, The Nikkei Newspaper, June 1, 2013


Professional affiliations

・State Bar of New Jersey – Member
・State Bar of Washington, D.C. – Member
・Tokyo Bar Association – Member
・Research Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in the Middle East (appointed by the Japan Patent Office) – Committee Member
・Research Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in Africa (appointed by the Japan Patent Office) – Committee Member
・University of Tsukuba, Graduate School of Business Sciences – Lecturer


Education and admission


・College of Europe in Belgium (completed a post graduate program on E.U. Law) (2006)
・Washington College of Law (Juris Doctor) (1996)


・Foreign Registered Lawyer (gaikokuho jimu bengoshi)~Japan (2004-2008, 2011-present)
・District of Colombia~United States (1999)
・New Jersey~United States (1997)