It is worth paying attention to the following points at business meetings in Japan:
- DressDespite the humid weather during the summer months in Tokyo, take care to dress conservatively.
Men should wear a suit and tie throughout the year, even in the summer.
For women, conservative, tailored clothing is the custom.
- BowThe Japanese bow is part of Japanese culture that expresses honor and greetings to a guest.
Nevertheless, don't be surprised, as a Westerner, if you are offered a handshake.
- Business CardsExchange of business cards is an obligatory custom at business meetings.
You should come with bi-lingual business cards (one language being Japanese).
To prevent embarrassing mistakes at a Japanese ceremony, it is advisable to order business cards through the large hotels in Tokyo.
- GiftsThe exchange of gifts is an accepted custom in Japan. The gifts do not have to be expensive.
Modest gifts with the logo of your company will suffice.
Take care, as well, to choose respectable gift-wrapping.
It is important that the gift does not include a set of 4 items.
The number 4 in Japanese sounds like the word for "death".
- Joint RecreationRecreation after working hours that is shared with Japanese colleagues can contribute much to breaking the ice.
- Laughter and SmilesA smile is an accepted custom at meetings whereas laughter usually indicates embarrassment.
- Negative QuestionsDo not ask your Japanese colleague a question that has been phrased negatively.
For instance, the question "Don't you agree with me" may be answered with a brief "yes" when the intention was to answer "no".
- DirectnessAvoid looking directly into your colleague's eyes as it will cause embarrassment.
Note: The information in this site is for general guidance only. Users of this site are advised to take professional advice before taking practical tax decisions.
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