Before setting up a branch in Japan, be aware of it's business and working culture
Japanese people are notoriously hardworking, and this may be one of the reasons why Japan has high economic growth and are more advanced than other countries.
However, the work culture of Japanese white-collared workers is known for their long work hours, and there have been cases of employees being worked to death (called karōshi).
Still, stories like this should not scare you away from pursuing a career in Japan. There are many opportunities for foreigners there and the Japanese government is making a change in the working culture.
There are many opportunities, but here are the pros and cons of working in Japan.
As previously mentioned before, Japanese white-collared workers are known to be overworked. This workaholic attitude is partly because they want to save face. If they are the first ones to leave on a workday, it might be perceived as if they were looking forward to leaving early and not putting any effort into their work.
Although Japanese companies value punctuality, workers are expected to arrive earlier and leave later as it shows commitment. According to a 2016 government survey, 1/4 of Japanese companies require their employees to work over 80 hours of overtime per month. This can place them in a dangerous situation of risking their own life. Not only does it take a toll on one’s physical health, but your mental stability as well.
While these are a few cons that are mentioned, no barrier can’t be overcome without a little effort. Your colleagues will also feel more trusting and at ease if you communicate with them in their native language. The opportunity to live and experience the culture in Japan is unforgettable!
Now for the Pros! Despite all the negatives, the positives outweigh the cons of working in Japan. There are so many benefits of working in one of the most developed technologically advanced country in the world. Getting out of your comfort zone can help you excel in your personal development and gain lifelong memories of a unique experience.
You may have already heard this before, but Japanese work culture revolves a lot around teamwork. The reason for this is that companies want to produce the best results possible, even if making a decision takes a long time. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the third level of need is labeled as “love and/or belonging.” So, companies want to gather everyone’s inputs and opinions so that everyone has a say in it, creating a sense of belonging for employees. Healthy interpersonal relationships motivate good behaviors, which can result in quality decision-making.
This gives you more opportunities to communicate with your coworkers to get things done. As a result, you will receive good feedback and get to work in a healthy supportive environment. Also, group-oriented activities can allow you to be more involved in sharing responsibilities and taking initiative into suggesting what is best for the company.
Even if Japanese people do not want to do something ‘bad’, they do not always try to do what is ‘good’. So don’t listen to stereotypes and make your own opinion and experience life in Japan.