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Особенности ведения бизнеса в Японии

Doing business in Japan can be profitable, but it often presents challenges to outsiders. Many companies find it essential to have local help and representation because of the country’s relationship-centered business climate, which makes it difficult for outsiders to break in.

Japan’s primary exports include motor vehicles and auto parts, iron and steel products, semiconductors, power generating machinery and plastics. Japan is widely recognized as the global leader in automotive technology.

The Japanese market is characterised by consumers with high levels of disposable income who are drawn to premium, high-end goods and services. Japanese companies often exhibit a global outlook and a willingness to invest long-term in viable products and services.

Japan is synonymous with quality and innovation and this goes hand-in-hand with Japanese companies’ commitment and loyalty to business partners. Furthermore, for many foreign companies, Japan has also become the place for development of new products and concepts.

Let's go over some potential issues that may occur while doing business in Japan.

Strict Cultural Mores

Japanese etiquette has strict protocols for many aspects of day-to-day business, covering everything from the correct way to handle business cards to where and how to put wasabi on your plate at meals. Even Japanese toilets can be confounding for foreigners, and it is easy to give offense without meaning to. The Japanese business community is tightly knit and built on relationships, so it is important to observe the cultural norms.

Red Tape and Taxes

While starting a business can be relatively simple, other aspects of doing business in Japan may not be as easy. Obtaining construction permits, for example, takes on average 197 days and requires at least 12 steps. Japan’s tax structures are complex and differ markedly from those of most other countries. Managing local taxes requires 14 different payments and can add up to more than 50 percent of net profits.

Language Barriers

While most Japanese people understand English, most do not speak it well unless they have regular contact with English speakers. However, Japanese etiquette prevents people from admitting they don’t understand the conversation, which can make communication difficult. It is best to speak in simple terms and offer business materials in writing since most people understand writing better than conversation. Be careful of putting anything in writing that could be construed as a commitment, however, since the Japanese may consider even simple statements as binding agreements that will stay in effect forever.

Relationship Barriers

Japan’s business structure is built on close relationships between companies that may go back for generations. Foreigners sometimes have a meeting with Japanese business people which seems to go well, and they hear a lot of “yeses” during it. However, saying yes is often merely a courtesy to avoid seeming rude or because the meeting participants do not wish to admit they don’t understand the conversation. It is unlikely that a new entrant to doing business in Japan will close a deal after one—or even several—meetings.

In addition, when doing business in Japan, most companies prefer local businesses to those at a distance. Ideally, they like their partners and suppliers to be within two hours of their facilities. That makes it imperative to have a local presence within all the major business districts, so many companies rely on a supply chain service partner to help.

The best way to avoid potential issues is to consult professionals! Join Japan will gladly help you to build a strong and profitable business in Japan. We are just one call away! :)