Albert Katsuaki Gustafson has years of business legal experience in Japan and the U.S., including software industry experience. Fluent in spoken Japanese and English, Gustafson has a wealth of experience in the practical aspects of setting up shop in Japan. He was born in Tokyo in 1949, but was raised in the U.S. He returned to Japan for visits in 1960 and 1972, but it was in 1985 that he established offices in Tokyo and Taipei, after five years of private business law practice in Seattle.
In 1986 he moved to Japan to teach negotiations and provide editing services to NTT, NEC, Nissan, Hakuhodo, and other Japanese corporations. His negotiations seminar at NEC was featured in a front page article of the Asia Wall Street Journal in February 1987. In 1987 he returned to the U.S. briefly to study Japanese law in the Asian Law LLM program at the University of Washington, having previously received a JD degree from there in 1980, in addition to a BA with honors from Stanford University in 1972.
In 1988, he returned to Japan to work for Endo and Mamba, a small Japanese law firm with extensive overseas real estate clients. During this time he was also retained as the only in-house counsel for NTT, the largest corporation in the world, which due to domestic legal difficulties, retained his international transactional expertise for one year. He also taught international business law and conference interpreting at Nichibei Kaiwa Gakuen.
Mr. Gustafson became a key player in assisting major Japanese clients, including Mitsui Real Estate, Kawasho Corporation, and Kato Chemical, in structuring major real estate investments in the U.S., Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Transactions included the Bush House in London for 130 million pounds sterling and the Chicago Hyatt Regency hotel for 255 million dollars. He also negotiated a joint venture distribution agreement between NTT and Contel for distribution of the TRADENET dealer system in Japan, the joint venture manufacturing agreement between NTT and Schlumberger for the manufacture of ASIC verification equipment, and an aluminum can manufacturing agreement between Coca-Cola (Japan), Yamamura Glass, and Ball Corporation.
Since 1994 he has formed over 50 Japanese corporations, primarily for European and Southeast Asian investors, and was representative director of Akihabara Electric Corporation, a subsidiary of a Singapore-based electronics manufacturer, Shomei Kokusai K.K., a translation and management consulting company, and Multipro (Japan) K.K. He has also extensively researched regulation of the Japanese electricity industry and the regulation of Internet providers under the Electric Communications Industry Law. He also taught intellectual property law at the Idemitsu Intellectual Property Research Center and advised on trademark, patent, and copyright issues.
In 1997, Mr. Gustafson joined the Washington, D.C. law firm of Barkats & Associates on a one-year sabbatical basis, and also became Vice-President for BND Sea & Airlines Corporation, a “speed newspaper” distribution and telecommunications marketing company based in Washington, D.C. In the latter position, he was responsible for managing seven international terminal distribution managers in the Boston, JFK, Newark, Dulles, Philadelphia, Miami and Houston international terminals with a total staff of 60 persons, in the complex process of distributing 30,000 newspapers a day.
At Barkats & Associates, Mr. Gustafson negotiated the acquisition of a Montana laser technology firm by Quantel S.A., drafted licensing agreements and credit card settlement agreements for Christophle with Harley Davidson and VISA, coordinated patent licensing for Structure in conjunction with worldwide trademark licensing negotiations with Wal-Mart, and performed merger negotiations and target due diligence, including 10K analysis, for a French systems integration firm seeking an acquisition in the U.S.
After returning to Japan in July 1998, Mr. Gustafson helped form IPTelcom, an Internet and E-commerce solutions company with a proprietary e-commerce software (IP Webshop), and remains a director and legal counsel of that company. He also has previous experience with software localization contracts for clients such as Tangent Computing and Japan ExClone.
Mr. Gustafson’s current offices are in New York and Clinton.