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How to Follow Proper Business Etiquette in Japan

The art of doing business in Japan is full of subtleties that must be respected if you are to gain the trust of your Japanese business partners.


  • Step 1: Present your business card by holding it with both hands, with the Japanese side facing forward.
  • Step 2: Place all the business cards that are given to you during a meeting in a case. Don't write notes on them, or worse yet, fidget with them during the meeting. Now you can start negotiating that contract.
  • FACT: More than 12 million people -- about 10 percent of Japan's total population -- live in metropolitan Tokyo.
  • TIP: Plan on handing out about 100 cards during a 1-week business trip.
  • Step 3: Have plenty of business cards when you attend meetings. The cards should be printed in both Japanese and English.
  • Step 4: Arrive a few minutes early for business meetings.
  • Step 5: Wait for someone to direct you to your seat before a meeting starts. Seating positions in Japan are dictated by old customs, so it's best to remain standing until you know where you should sit.
  • Step 6: Dress for success. Men should wear a dark blue suit with a white shirt and subdued tie between October and April, and a gray suit during the warmer months. Women should wear trouser suits or longer skirt suits with the same seasonal colors.

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