Top 15 Tips On Doing Business In Tokyo

Top 15 Tips on Doing Business in Tokyo
(Last Updated On: November 10, 2023)

Every country has to make up different rules about foreign nationals. Some don’t allow foreigners to own businesses, while others tax foreign companies. Although taxes are essential, and everyone should be willing to pay them, they should not burden startups too much. A few countries make simple rules and tax laws for foreigners to motivate people to contribute to their economy. When the state gives such relaxations, they attract foreign investors. Japan is one such country where it is elementary for foreigners to own businesses. If someone has the right amount of money and a good business plan, they can succeed in Japan.

Top 15 Tips on Doing Business in Tokyo:

Tokyo is the capital and the most populous city of Japan and the country’s economic center. It attracts millions of tourists every day. People from all over the country come to Tokyo for work. These are some reasons the city is ideal for starting a new company. However, if you come to Japan from a foreign country, you must learn about the native culture. You won’t be able to run a company successfully if you are unfamiliar with the local business culture. Here are the top 15 tips on doing business in Tokyo:

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  1. Invite Linguistic Experts:

If someone is not fluent in English, the only way to make them feel comfortable during the meeting is to invite an interpreter. However, if you are requesting an interpreter, ensure the conversation is shorter to be interpreted in time. Plan all your presentations with the thought that the interpreter will have to explain it to the attendees, so they shouldn’t be too long.

  1. Get Your Business Cards Ready:

Exchanging cards is very common in Tokyo. Even if you only meet someone once, you should hand over your card to them. But your card must have your details in both English and Japanese. And while presenting the card, use both hands and keep it between your thumbs and index fingers.

  1. Introductions:

Handshakes are not very popular, but if you want them, remember that the Japanese prefer light ones. The best way to greet someone is by bowing at 45 degrees with your hands on the side (if you are a man) or joined in front of your belly (if you are a woman).

  1. Conservative Dressing:

Even in industries with no strict dress codes, the Japanese prefer conservatively. Both men and women go for conservative clothing for all types of settings.

  1. Slip-on Shoes:

In Tokyo, you may have to visit places with your investors where shoes are prohibited. If you wear slip-ons, you won’t have any problem taking off and putting on your shoes. You should also wear new socks, so you don’t get embarrassed in front of your hosts when you take off your shoes.

  1. Brochures:

The way you introduce your company is critical in Tokyo. Since the people of Japan love paper-based introductions, you can get brochures printed and distribute them during a presentation. Make sure they are translated into Japanese too. Even if your audience is fluent in English, they will be happier if you provide content in their language.

  1. Be Punctual:

If you are on time for a meeting, then according to the people of Tokyo, you are ten minutes late. The only way to be on time is to come early for every session.

  1. The Linguistic Barrier:

You may find everyone in the business world fluent in English, but that won’t be the case everywhere in the city. For instance, if you are taking a taxi to work, ensure you have the address written in Japanese to communicate with the driver easily.

  1. How to Address:

In Tokyo, it is better to address people with their last names, followed by san. If they ask you to call them by their first name, even then, you should add the suffix of san to show respect.

  1. Facebook Account:

People in Japan don’t rely on LinkedIn, so be prepared to share your Facebook account with them. You can create a separate account for work or create custom lists for new friends on your current account.

  1. Be Patient:

Decision-making is a long process in Tokyo, so be patient after presenting your pitch. Give people some time to think over your proposal.

  1. Bonding Time:

It is customary in Japan to go to restaurants and karaoke bars after a meeting. You will be expected to participate in fun activities. Your hosts will use this time to bond with you, so don’t hold back.

  1. Learn a Few Phrases:

You don’t have to learn Japanese, but learning a few common phrases won’t hurt. It would be an excellent way to impress your hosts by showing them you care about their language.

  1. Protect Others:

If you are sick, wear a mask. Don’t blow your nose publicly if you have a cold or flu. Protect others if you want them to respect you.

  1. Assign Roles:

Assign roles to everyone for every meeting, and don’t divert from them. Otherwise, the attendees will get confused and lose interest in the conversation.

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