Business etiquette and trends in Japan

Business trends and etiquette in Japan

Japan is a big market with one language and clear business protocol to follow. Here, we take a look at how to respectfully make your mark.


Even after the postponed 2020 Olympics and global economic issues caused by Covid-19, Japan remains the third biggest economy in the world. Unlike other, more complex, countries, Japan is a big market with one language and clear business protocol to follow, all of which is vital to keep in mind when expanding your business into this region – we’ve put together a few initial insights to help UK businesses looking to trade and grow in Japan.

Where can UK businesses excel in Japan?

Japan has the world’s fastest ageing population – the number of people who are aged 65 and over is set to rise by 11% by 2065. This means that there is a demand for products and services aimed at helping senior members of the public, such as technology to support them with their day-to-day activities.

There's also a focus on education and hobbies for this generation, so they can keep active and social. There's also a growing desire for luxury global brands and, according to the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, this presents a fantastic opportunity for businesses looking to target consumers.

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Etiquette for doing business in Japan

For businesses looking to reach Japanese customers and grow in this market, here are some hints and tips to take into consideration:


Being polite and courteous is highly respected. Avoid pointing at people as this is considered a disrespectful action – verse yourself in how best to greet people appropriately.

Business cards

Make sure you carry business cards with you and invest in good quality ones, as this is often a representation of how you conduct business. Keep business cards on the table with the Japanese side facing up until after the meeting has finished as a sign of respect


Take meetings seriously, be punctual, prepared and dress professionally. If you receive a gift, open it in private – gifts are an important part of business protocol.

Opportunities for UK SMEs

The Japanese market offers huge business opportunities for SMEs across the UK and the rest of Europe. If you’re looking to transfer money to Japan, open a World Account to pay your Japanese suppliers as easily as if they were around the corner. 


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