You might think that it is possible to do business with Japanese companies even if you do not have Japan branch office. If you are an IT (Information Technology) company, it might be possible. However, if you are industrial products company, it is almost impossible to do business with Japanese companies without Japan office because of following reasons:
If you do not have an office in Japan, your customer would think that you are not so serious in doing business in Japan even if you do not think so. Also, Japanese people prefer to do business with companies whose sales people can immediately visit customers whenever they need to meet.? As a consequence, you would need to have office in Japan.
2. Customer support
If your product have problem at your customer’s site, you will immediately need to visit this customer to repair or replace this product. Japanese customers will never do it by themselves, as they do not bear the responsibility of doing it. So if you do not have office in Japan, no one can repair or replace which is not acceptable at all to Japanese customers.
3. Payment condition
The payment condition in Japan might be very strange to overseas companies. Of course, if they import products from foreign companies, the payment condition would be something like Ex-Works, FOB, CIF, etc. But Japanese companies actually do not prefer to pay before receiving products. So in case of domestic business, the payment condition is totally different. Sometimes, in case of huge companies like Toyota, Komatsu, etc, the payment will be done 6 months after receiving products. And these customers (or other Japanese customers) of course prefer such payment.
4. Market information
It is not possible for you to get deeper or confidential information from your customer through phone conversation or e-mail. But if you meet customer then go to dinner for bar, it is possible to get these information if you keep good relation with them. And this kind of information can be the most important information to compete with competitors.
These are major reasons for the necessity of having Japan office.?If you have?your office in Japan, the business with Japanese customers would be MUCH advantageous.