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Doing Business in Japan - Part I

These Top Tips below gives a comprehensive description of Japanese business culture which will help you to interact more effectively with your Japanese clients and colleagues:

Tip 1

Relationships drive business in Japan. Without the right depth of relationships with the right people, it can be very difficult to achieve anything.

Tip 2

It is important to show respect appropriately. Age brings its own dignity and should be respected. It is probable, therefore, that more will be achieved with a delegation that contains some older members.

Tip 3

Try to be polite and diplomatic at all times. Avoid showing irritation, annoyance or impatience. These negative emotions could put a strain on the development of the relationship.

Tip 4

Avoid putting the Japanese in situations where they might be forced to lose 'face'. Do not try to push for decisions or deadlines.

Tip 5

Decisions are arrived at through a lengthy consensus-building process. As it is almost impossible to speed up this process, patience is needed.

Tip 6

Perform as many favours for people as possible. Favours must always be repaid.

Tip 7

Be humble and apologetic rather than arrogant and brash. Modesty is a characteristic much admired whereas forwardness and being overly self-confident can be seen as childish behaviour.

Tip 8

As the Japanese are loath to say 'no' or disagree, it can be very difficult to be completely confident that a decision or agreement has been reached.

Tip 9

Do not overestimate the levels of comprehension when speaking English in Japan. There are many fluent speakers of English but many people do not understand even when they indicate that they have.

Tip 10

Go over the same point several times from different angles to check the situation. Ask lots of open questions to test for understanding.


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