Japanese Business Culture

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What do you do to prepare for this meeting?

In order to prepare for this meeting, apart from the usual prepaparation with regards to presentations, brochures and other information material, information about the product as well as the company, etc, I need to gather extensive information about the Japanese business culture as the peculiar characteristics of this particular trading company with whom we are meeting. It is extremely important in international business that one should pay attention to prevailing business culture, customs and peculiarities of the companies from other countries in order to conclude a successful business deal. Therefore, I need to peep into material describing the Japanese way of doing businesses, their negotiation styles, things which one should avoid during the meetings, etc.

What do you want to know about the trading company?

The first thing which I would like to know about the trading company is its similarity to the traditional Japanese companies which possess certain typical characteristics. For example, one of the important things to know about this trading firm will be whether it is part of Japanese Keiretsu or not. The knowledge of this information in advance will help me to identify key features of Japanese trading firms who are still part of the large groups or Keiretsu. Knowledge about few characteristics of the firm will help us to present ourselves in a more comfortable manner at deal stage.

I am presenting below few important characteristics of Japanese firms:
1) Connections are very helpful in this country, but choose your intermediaries carefully: the Japanese will feel obliged to be loyal to them. Select someone of the same rank as the person with whom he or she will have dealings. Moreover, an intermediary should not be part of either company involved with the deal.

2) If you know a highly respected, important person in Japan, use his or her endorsement and connection. Before you enter into negotiations, request a consultation, and then ask if you can use the endorsement and connection to further your business efforts. This method of using connections is standard practice among Japanese businesspeople.

3)Generally, the Japanese are not receptive to "outside" information. They will consider new ideas and concepts only within the confines of their own groups.

4)The Japanese tend to think subjectively, relying on feelings rather than empirical evidence.

5)Getting acquainted is the purpose of the initial meetings. You may, however, introduce your proposal during these preliminary discussions.

During presentations, and especially during negotiations, it is essential that one maintain a quiet, low-key, and polite manner at all times. The highest-ranking individual may appear to be the most quiet of everyone present. For a persuasive presentation, you must describe how your product can enhance the prosperity and reputation of the Japanese side. Making these claims effectively requires a thorough knowledge of Japanese economy, business, and product lines.

The Japanese will commit themselves to an oral agreement, which may be acknowledged by a nod or slight bow, rather than by shaking hands. Contracts can be renegotiated; in Japanese business protocol, they are not final agreements.

After gathering knowledge about these typical characteristics of Japanese firms, we will try to compare this particular firm with these characteristics by analyzing the available information.
source: http://www.executiveplanet.com/business-etiquette/Japan.html Comment to student: click on the link above. You will find many links on this page with respect to business culture in Japan.

The Japanese have been raised to think of themselves as part of a group, and their group is always dealing with other groups. This is viewed on many angles -- internationally it is "We Japanese" vs. everyone else (more on that later), but in schools, companies, sections of...
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