American Chamber Commerce Japan Business

Is Japan a good country for business?

Below is Julian Bashore’s answer to this question on Quora.

Yes, you bet Japan is a good country for business for a whole host of reasons. From my perspective as a manager working in a B2B environment, I will list some less obvious reasons as follows:

1) Loyalty of workforce

Everyone from the custodial staff to the sales engineers have immense pride in their work, and their loyal bond to the employer is immensely strong. The fact that many of our employees choose to spend most of their career with just one company makes for a very stable labor force. Besides reduced employee turnover, low absenteeism is another key metric which makes Japan a great place to conduct business.

2) Consistency of supply chain

As a company which procures supplies from Japan-based companies, we find the quality to be always consistent. Deliveries are made according to agreed-upon terms. There is also a vast supply chain network which allows the buyer to dual source supplies of comparable quality, in order to minimize risk. The super-efficient logistics systems in Japan allow for the customer’s management time to be spent on issues other than supply chain management.

3) Existence of attractive market

As a seller, we find the Japanese market to be very attractive, especially in niche applications with high value-added content. The existence of sophisticated customers which place a high value on quality provides another compelling reason to do business in Japan, and such demanding customers with unique needs can actually strengthen suppliers in the long term. Furthermore, collecting payment from clients in Japan is rarely an issue.

4) Transparency of regulations

Regulations are spelled out and cover the entire country, regardless of the region where your business is located. The transparent laws do not favor one company over another, and provide a level playing field to non-Japanese companies which operate here in Japan. The business-friendly government which is currently in power has recently enacted legislation that has resulted in a reduction in the corporate tax and a relaxation of Japan’s notoriously strict labor laws.

Julian Bashore, heads up the Japan operations of a NYSE-listed manufacturer of industrial products. He has lived and worked in Japan for two decades.