The visit of a Japanese delegation to your company provides you with an excellent opportunity to get to know your Japanese business partners better and to further develop mutual trust. Since Japan is a strongly relationship-oriented culture, your role as host is of particular importance. The more comfortable your guests will feel in your country, the better this will be for your mutual business.
If you invite your Japanese business partners to your company, you should plan the visit in advance and send a detailed agenda for their visit. Mention all meetings, preferably with exact times, planned business lunches and all evening appointments and weekend activities as well.
Your Japanese guests will enjoy a guided tour through your factory or company. But again, you must prepare very carefully. Make sure to take care of small things like untidy corners, packaging material lying around and other similar things.
You should also prepare your employees for the visit. The high-ranking representatives of your company should definitely take the time to welcome the Japanese delegation in a professional manner.
It is not enough to merely give detailed directions to your hotel or company to your Japanese business partners; you must pick them up at the airport. Only colleagues or business partners who have already visited you several times may be expected to make their own way. You should also have your guests picked up from and taken back to the hotel every day.
Most Japanese take a bath every day. Therefore, when booking a hotel with a high business standard, make sure that your guests’ rooms have a bathtub. And if necessary, adjust the room category to the different hierarchy levels.
Going out for meals
For the Japanese, building and maintaining personal relationships with business partners and colleagues is of utmost importance. Therefore, going out for a meal together is not about discussing business topics in more detail, but about getting to know each other better.
It is best to choose a restaurant with regional specialities and to point out typical dishes to your guests on the menu. Have a quick consultation with your guests and then order for everyone.
Please note that the Japanese often cannot tolerate certain elements of e.g. the Western cuisine. Cream sauces and other dishes with a high proportion of dairy products are just one example. They are also not necessarily used to having a large piece of meat on their plate, which has to be cut with a knife and fork. Light dishes with poultry or fish, which can simply be eaten with a fork, are better.
Japanese people will also be very pleased to receive a private invitation to your home and will take such an invitation as a sign of special trust. However, it is not necessarily expected.
If the schedule allows, you should take the opportunity to take your Japanese guests sightseeing in your region.
Particularly on weekends, you must not leave your Japanese business partners to their own devices. As the host, you are expected to provide a comprehensive program on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Castles and palaces are very popular with the Japanese. They also will definitely like to see any other historical site in your region.
If you propose a destination, you should be quite persistent. Japanese courtesy requires that an invitation be refused first. So try to convey to your guests that you would really like to show them the area. And last but not least it is very important for Japanese to bring home souvenirs from every trip. So please do not forget to ask your guests what they would like to buy.