Chicago-based accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP has launched a business group to assist Japanese companies making investments in the U.S. with audit, tax and advisory services.

The firm, which has offices in 50 American cities including Atlanta, has appointed International Client Services Director Kumiko Watanabe to head the group.

It will initially focus on Japanese companies in the manufacturing and technology sectors.

Ms. Watanabe is treasurer of the Japan America Society of Chicago. She worked with Japanese clients as a tax director with London-based accountancy PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd.’s Chicago office before joining Grant Thornton in October.

Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of London-based Grant Thornton International Ltd., which serves as an umbrella organization for companies in about 104 countries.