3 Must-Knows Before Starting a Business in Japan

3 Must-Knows Before Starting a Business in Japan

Starting a business in Japan could be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. The Japanese market is known for its unique business culture and highly sophisticated consumers. To help potential business owners prepare for this venture, here are three must-knows before starting a business in Japan:

1. Understanding Japanese Business Culture

Japan has a unique business culture that can take some time to fully understand. Building relationships and establishing trust are key components of Japanese business culture, and this often involves spending time getting to know your business partners and clients before any business can be conducted. Gift-giving is also an important part of Japanese business culture, as it is seen as a way to show respect and build relationships. For example, in the hospitality industry, it's common for hotels and restaurants to offer small gifts, such as snacks or traditional sweets, to their guests as a way to welcome them and build a positive relationship. Additionally, Japanese communication style is often indirect, which can be challenging for Westerners to interpret. For instance, saying "no" directly is considered impolite in Japanese culture, so instead, they may use phrases like "it's difficult" or "we'll consider it" to convey a negative response. 

2. Navigating Japanese Regulations and Legal Requirements

Starting a business in Japan requires complying with various strict regulations and legal requirements. This can be particularly challenging for foreign businesses that are not familiar with Japanese laws and regulations. For example, obtaining the necessary permits and licenses can be a complex process that varies depending on the industry. In the electrical appliances industry, for example, foreign businesses looking to sell electrical devices or home appliances in Japan must comply with the strict regulations of the Japanese government. Therefore, the PSE mark (Product Safety Electrical Appliance and Material) is given by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan to indicate that a product has been tested and certified as meeting certain safety standards. In addition, labor laws and tax regulations can also be complex and require guidance from local experts to ensure compliance.

3. Adapting to Japanese Consumer Preferences

Japanese consumers have unique preferences and expectations when it comes to products and services. For example, Japanese consumers tend to place a high value on quality and attention to detail. This is particularly evident in the food and beverage industry, Japanese consumers place a high value on the quality and freshness of ingredients, and are willing to pay a premium for products that meet their standards. In addition, customer service is also highly valued in Japan, with many businesses going above and beyond to ensure their customers are satisfied. For example, many hotels and restaurants in Japan provide exceptional service, with staff trained to anticipate the needs of their customers and provide personalized attention.

In conclusion, starting a business in Japan requires understanding the nuances of Japanese business culture, complying with Japanese regulations and legal requirements, and adapting to Japanese consumer preferences. By taking these must-knows into account, potential business owners can prepare themselves for success in the Japanese market.

Our Service Menu

Click here for past articles 
Download our media kit 
Contact us here