Japan is an island country located in East Asia and borders no country, but closest states are Russia, Korea, China, and Taiwan. Japan lies between 123-146 degrees east longitude and 24-46 degrees north latitude. Its territory is about 377, 929 kilometers square with a coastal line of 29, 750 km. The country is mostly mountainous with mountains covering approximately 73% of the land. Historically, Japan was founded in 1933 and was ruled by the shogun, warlords under an emperor for an extended period. Currently, Japan is governed by imperial dynasty established between fourth and ninth century. The Empire of Japan is well known for initializing trading dominance and rapid industrialization in the entire East Asia (Gordon, 2003).
In the past, Japan defeated China in a war which lasts almost ten months thus they got an opportunity to trade on the mainland. Demographically, Japans population was about 130, 053, 856 people making it be among top ten populated countries. A high number of the people are individuals over 65 years thus making its population is aging first compared to other countries. Sex ratio is about 1.05 males/females, and their total fertility rate is estimated to be 1.4 children per woman (Gordon, 2003).
Key Facts about Japans Culture
Japanese culture is fascinating globally. The country is well known for sumo wrestling, samurai, and sushi which are core aspects of the countrys history and culture. They have a rigorous education system which makes the country have one of the highest literacy levels in the world. Japan has four major writing systems which are romaji, hiragana, katakana, and kanji (Gordon, 2003). Additionally, their major sport is sumo which began way back in the 8th century during rice harvesting and slowly evolved to fighting within a circular ring. Moreover, Japan has a culture of developing vending machines which offer customers with wide range of suitable buys such as smart cars, beer, and fried chicken.
Japan has a business-minded culture. It is one of the most misunderstood business cultures mostly for foreign investors. In many places, there are service oriented aspects which is one of the countrys goals in business. A new business person is expected to show a high level of politeness o his/her customers and being humble for better service delivery. Etiquette is a profoundly observed aspect of business people. A business person is required to dress formally and have a conservative manner. A person is also expected to bow before handshaking and be attentive to clients demands before providing feedback.
Political System and Associated Risks
Japans political system is based on a constitution which created constitutional monarch and maintained the imperial family as an absolute leader of the country. The powers are then distributed between the Cabinet, Judiciary and the National Diet (Horiuchi, 2009). The Emperor has absolute power and determines both domestic and international affairs. Regarding policymaking, the task is done through a collaboration with the ruling party, interest groups and elite bureaucracy. However, some laws formed have a negative impact on the business community both local and international investors.
Political instability is a primary factor that affects businesses in the country. For instance, the current strained relations between Japan and China over sovereignty of Senkaku islands has significantly changed business environment. Territorial disputes is another risk that affects trading relations which ultimately makes a business environment to be unconducive. For example, the recurrent territorial dispute between Japan and Russia concerning the sovereignty of 4 islands has led to several conflicts (Horiuchi, 2009). Lastly, the government imposition of high taxes to business to boosts its national income is a significant risk to business people. Many businesses have been finished by several punitive measures taken by the government and have also chased away potential foreign investors.
Economic System and Associated Risks
Japan has a strong economic system which makes the country have a 3rd largest economy in the world. Japan remains one of the US, China, and UKs largest export market as well as leading inward investors in those countries. Japans GDP is about 1.5 UKs economy, and they are recognized for having high-tech powerhouse economy in the entire Asia. Another economic exciting economic aspect is exports which accounts for 17% of its GDP thus becoming major growth driver (Takada, 1999).
However, certain economic aspects are risky to the business sector of the economy. A significant risk is an aging population which means the proportion of employees without job security is rising. With this trend, the disposable income of citizens will ultimately reduce thus the sales of business ventures will be affected. Moreover, the government instability in some cases causes deflation that is associated with fall in prices thus businesses will incur massive losses. Furthermore, a weak economic system may cause currency fluctuations in the country. Currency fluctuations affect Japans exchange rate hence the countrys currency will fall causing massive negative impacts on the local businesses.
Legal System and Associated Risks
Japan is primarily a civil law country, and case laws are used to offer non-binding guidance. The legal system is a mixture of German civil code and French civil code. The lawsuits are mostly avoided for cultural reasons lawyers have no prominent roles apart from being litigators and assisting in court cases. The business is legally controlled by business contracts and regulations that are enumerated in the constitution. Both local and international companies are subject to Japan laws since it guides them on many aspects of the business world (Wagnild, 2002).
However, certain legal aspects pose a risk to business empires. Five main legal risks that can affect a business include corporate issues, assets, contracts, disputes, and regulatory issues. Japan has a unique legal and governance structure as well as complex asset protection laws (Wagnild, 2002). Additionally, a business may be affected by complicated contracts that may affect their operations. Lastly, a business may face regulator risks regarding licenses and disputes that are related to employees complains.
Summary and Recommendations
Based on the information above, Japan has several intriguing aspects which make the country unique. The country is located in a strategic place which makes it a business hub. With great history, Japan has developed to be a modern powerhouse which has rich demographic features more superior than many countries. Moreover, the nation has exceptional political, economic, and legal aspects that determine how the country is run. However, these aspects may have various risks which pose a threat to businesses in the country.
With this extensive view, several businesses can do well in Japan. The companies that can do well include restaurants, language schools, and travel agencies. These businesses fit well in the country because of above aspects that will provide a conducive environment for their startup. I may consider opening a restaurant which offers several international cuisines such as Indian curry, American burgers, and British pubs among other local stuff. This is because Japan is a market destination for global investors thus creating an opportunity for restaurant investors.
Gordon, A. (2003). A modern history of Japan: from Tokugawa times to the present (p. 249). New York: Oxford University Press.
Horiuchi, Y. (2009). Understanding Japanese politics from a local perspective. International Political Science Review, 30(5), 565-573.
Takada, M. (1999). Japans Economic Miracle: Underlying Factors and Strategies for the Growth. Lehigh Univ., 1-18.Wagnild, C. P. (2002). Civil Law Discovery in Japan: A Comparison of Japanese and US Methods of Evidence Collection in Civil Litigation. APLPJ, 3, 1.
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