Appearance is vitally important in Japan and people are often judged on the way they are dressed.

The business convention of dark suit, shirt and tie is very much the norm in Japanese mainstream business and although other colours are seen more often nowadays than in the past, it is probably safest to maintain a conservative approach.

For women, business dress should be restrained and formal – women do not commonly wear trousers in business in Japan. Accessories should be upmarket but not ostentatious.
Bear in mind that the climate in Japan is very varied through the seasons, so take appropriate wear for the season – overcoats/raincoats may be needed in the winter.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Japan

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton



This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Japan. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Japan and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips