The Japanese business men observe the following norms for the conduct of their business:
1. The buyer is the king in the Japanese way of conduct of business. This is true for both the domestic and the foreign business. Buyers in Japan assume a position superior to that of seller and it requires tremendous efforts in trying to get the buyer to place the order. Since he is very demanding as far as quality is concerned, the importers also demand higher standards of quality for the product. The exporters should thus, pay maximum attention to quality and observe the highest standards of quality control.
2. The Japanese want delivery of the goods to be strictly on time. As such the exporters should ensure strict compliance with the delivery schedules.
3. The buyers expect prompt attention to their problems with the product and the queries that they may have in regard to the product. The exporters should ensure prompt after sale service in respect of those products which require after sale service.
4. Japanese attach a great deal of importance to the building of business relationship. The exporters from developing countries should make periodic business calls to the Japanese buyers to develop and maintain business relationships.
5. The Japanese businessmen place a great deal of importance on whether a relationship of trust with the prospective seller is possible and whether the relationship is likely to endure in the long run. Once, a relationship of trust has been established, business dealings will continue smoothly as long as nothing untoward happens to disrupt the relationship.
6. In Japan, face to face individual contact is more effective than communication via telephone or a letter.
7. Japan has a unique distribution system and business practices. The import trade in Japan is mainly conducted by the Trading House; around 60% of the import trade is in the hands of General Trading House, known as SOGO SHOSHAS. Besides there are Specialized Trading House knows as SHOSHAS. The General Trading House and the specialized Trading Houses are the large scale trading houses. The exporters from India should opt for wholesalers as these are engaged in the import of smaller quantities which are quite suitable to the scale of operation of the Indian exporters.
8. Japanese businessmen, like their counterparts from the developed world, make it a point to be on time for appointments. This needs to be fully appreciated by the foreign exporters.
9. Except for the General Trading and other Trading companies, the general trend in the Japanese market is that the business firms do not reply promptly to the written communications from the exporters for business relationship. It does not necessarily mean the lack of interest in the exporter. This ‘No-Reply’ syndrome is very common with the Japanese firms. The reasons for this situation are as follows:
a) Japanese have distinct preference for a face to face interaction with the new firms.
b) The decision making process is very slow in Japan. The Japanese take a lot of time to decide whether they intend to deal with a particular firm. So, unless there is a decision to deal in a particular item offered by the exporter, response will not be forthcoming.
The Japanese typically follow the Bottom-up approach to decision making which emphasizes the unanimity of the decision based on the consensus of the entire organization. This is known as the Ringi System of decision making. However, with the induction of more and more System of decision making. However, with the induction of more and more professional managers in the business firms, this system is giving way to the western ways of decision making.
c) There is also the problem of English language with the small and medium scale Japanese business firms.
10. Japanese businessmen do not discuss business matters in the first meeting. They exchange pleasantries only in order to make each other comfortable and know each other well.