Japan And The World Stage – A Mini Survey
Japan’s perceptions of herself!
This article and survey is the work of Tania Coke, a business consultant, mediator and performing artist living in Tokyo, and is published in full on the Business Works magazine website. It is an interesting contrast to the previous article/survey Japan – Conflicting Opinions: UK Attitudes To Japanese Business & Products.
In November 2010 I packed up my London life and followed my Japanese husband to his homeland. Once installed, I started to ask people about the outlook for Japan. The answers were bleak. The picture painted was one of paralysis: twenty years after the bursting of the economic bubble, Japan still lacked direction or hope. Then came 11 March 2011, with its threefold disaster: earthquake, tsunamiand nuclear malfunction. What now for Japan’s sense of direction, her cause for hope? How would this seismic, economic and social devastation affect Japan’s position on the world stage and her ability to contribute to global progress?
I decided to run a mini survey exploring Japan’s perceptions of herself: her strengths, weaknesses and opportunities at this critical time. Although the findings are not statistically significant, based on only 35 responses, I think they deserve note for two reasons. Firstly, they arguably represent the views of those best placed to comment: people who know Japan intimately and are in a position to make international comparisons. The Japanese respondents (89% of the total) all have had significant international exposure (three quarters of them responded in English and most of the rest have either lived abroad or worked for a non-Japanese company); the 4 non-Japanese respondents have all lived in Japan for at least 10 years. Secondly, there was a striking level of consistency in the results. The first two questions in particular yielded particularly clear answers. So, to anyone, like myself in the process of building business relations with Japanese people, the findings will, I hope, offer vital insight. To me, they confirm a mentality as far from western as I could imagine and provide thought-provoking glimpses into the future of international business.
Here is what I was told, as far as possible in the respondents’ own words (please note: the grammar of the responses has been left unchanged to preserve the nuances). Continue reading…
With thanks to Roger Prentis, Editor-in-chief of Business Works magazine.
Business Works is distributed on a named basis to decision makers (including CEOs, CFOs, Marketing Directors) in leading businesses, the Times Top 1000 and Members of Parliament. Distribution is via a controlled circulation and subscriptions are also available.