Special Focus: Know Your Market

Knowing the specifics of the Japanese market is vital for any project to succeed. This month in “Special Focus”, we focus on the good preparations for successful business in Japan.
Information on the related sub-topics, latest reports, and upcoming webinars on this topic are available on the following links. 


If you are targeting a Japanese company, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the business model so that you can adapt your approach accordingly. You will have to understand the pillars on which the Japanese economic model is built, the different types of Japanese companies, the Japanese definition of an SME and, finally, the psychology of the Japanese SME itself. You will find an overview of this information, together with some useful links, below. To read more, please click on the link below: 


After decades of behaving differently, Japanese consumers have become very similar to their counterparts in Europe and the United States. Brand name, quality and product features have traditionally been the most important aspects considered when making a purchasing decision. Japanese consumers are spending more time at home, are changing not only what they buy but also how they buy it. Long accustomed to shopping near their homes, they are now more willing to travel. Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular in spite of traditional reluctance and mobile technologies are empowering consumers to make better informed purchase decisions.Japanese consumers are increasingly conscious of their health and as a result pharmacies have become one of the fastest-growing retail channels. To find our more, please see below: 

Know Your Client And Adapt


This report titled “All about Starting a Business in Japan: Updates of Laws & Deregulations for New Business Opportunities” examines the new Japanese legislatives requirements that EU SMEs should know when starting a venture in Japan. This report discusses the revision of the Companies act of Japan and the takes a close look at the important points that can impact the establishment of a company in Japan. It then elaborates on the case of representative office in Japan and gives concrete advice about taxation and legislative status of representatives in Japan. Moreover, the report presents the different requirements for visa applications. Lastly, this report provides various recommendations to EU companies for a successful market entry. To access the report, please click below:

All about Starting a Business in Japan Version 2018

Japan is the fourth largest ecommerce market behind China, the United States and the United Kingdom. With Internet penetration estimated at 92% of the population, Japan represents a significant market opportunity. This report titled "Market Entry to Japan Via ECommerce" is meant to be a “how-to guide” that provides overseas ecommerce merchants with a detailed overview of the Japanese market. It presents the main players of the ecommerce market in Japan, and take a close look at useful contacts. In addition, this report provides information about operating costs and discusses the basic requirements to sell online in Japan. To read more, please click below:

Market Entry to Japan Via Ecommerce

Upcoming Webinars:

In contexts for international business and management, perceptions of ‘distance’ and ‘difference’ can appear as sources of high risk, threats to management control, and thus as obstacles to international business success. As illustrated in this webinar, distances between Europe and Japan can appear actual or perceived: e.g. ‘real’ in terms of geography and climate, and ‘psychological’ in terms of management thinking, consumer behaviour, and of business cultures generally. These differences and distances can appear ‘mutual’: i.e. relevant to both sides of Japanese-European trading relationships. This webinar gives practical examples and advice to managers in EU companies who wish to both overcome actual and perceived differences and distances between Europe and Japan and – where possible – exploit these differences and distances in pursuit of business success in Japan. For more information and to register, please see below:

Cross Cultural Issues: Overcoming mutual perceptions of distance and difference

Specifically, the webinar focuses on styles of business communication commonly used by managers in Japan, comparing these styles of communication to those commonly used by managers across Europe. The term ‘style’ comes from a Latin word stilus, meaning a ‘writing instrument’ or ‘pen’. Just as individuals vary in terms of their ‘style’ of handwriting, so individual managers in Europe and in Japan vary in terms of their preferred ‘styles’ of business communication. As with handwriting, these individual styles vary according to language, culture and communication purpose (audience). By emphasising both distinctive features of and similarities in styles of business communication commonly used in Japan and across Europe, this webinar gives practical examples and ‘plain spoken’ advice to managers in EU companies who wish to communicate effectively and develop productive relationships with Japanese business people and consumers. For more information and to register, please see below:

Cross Cultural Issues: Business communication & styles comparison between Japan and Europe

2018 Webinar Series on Cross Cultural Issues: 

This webinar series conducted by the expert on Japan’s business culture Angela Kessel was targeted to EU companies seeking to prepare themselves for the different stages of business negotiations with potential Japanese partners. To access the recording of these webianrs, please click on the following links: 

Cross-cultural Issues: Getting in touch (Part 1)
Cross-cultural Issues: A first encounter (Part 2)
Cross-cultural Issues: Following up and sustaining the relationship (Part 3)
Cross-cultural Issues: Negotiations and closing the deal (Part 4)