The average annual income for women in Japan stands at around 30% below their male equivalents — which is a powerful statistic.

Although women have reached a largely equal footing with men in terms of legal rights, there remains a strong unspoken discrimination towards women in the workplace.

Women are largely expected to perform lower grade tasks and to leave employment upon marriage or the birth of children. Although there has been a slight shift in this trend over recent years, the changes are negligible. This issue is hotly debated within Japan with more pressure being brought to bear on employers to improve the situation but change has been slow.

Western women working in Japan will probably only encounter difficulties when trying to manage Japanese male colleagues – especially if they are older. Otherwise they will be accepted as an honorary man.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

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