Japan Intercultural Consulting - Europe, Middle East & Africa
Improving Cross-cultural Communications and Business Practices
Japan Intercultural Consulting is the leading training and consulting firm focused on Japanese business in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. We have been operating across EMEA since 2004, providing cultural awareness training and consulting to over 250 Japanese companies and their suppliers and partners in Belgium, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the UAE and the UK.
Our facilitators all speak fluent Japanese and have many years of practical business experience, working in or with Japanese companies.
We help clients improve working relationships in multicultural environments through cross-cultural awareness training seminars, management and communication skills training seminars, teambuilding programs, human resource management consulting, and executive coaching services.
Denmark Surprise Entry in Japan Investment High Growth Top 20
Denmark is the surprise entry from Europe in the top 20 countries that have seen the biggest increase in Japanese subsidiaries over the past 5 years, according to Toyo Keizai. As you might expect, Asia dominates, with Myanmar #1 – having nearly 100 subsidiaries (compared to 11 in 2011), then Cambodia (50 up from 23).
Turkey, which is usually counted as part of Europe or EMEA by Japanese multinationals is at #3, with double the number of Japanese subsidiaries – 92 compared to 46 in 2011. Then Mexico at #4 with a near doubling from 281 to 541 subsidiaries and Vietnam at #5 also nearly doubling the number from 528 to 972 – overtaking Malaysia and South Korea.
The increased Japanese presence in Denmark looks a little less spectacular in comparison, a 41% rise, from 37 to 52. Other countries in the Top 20 like Thailand already had 1,777 Japanese subsidiaries in 2011, growing to 2,412 by 2016. Singapore now has 1,386 subsidiaries (30% increase on 5 years ago) and Indonesia has 1,218 Japanese subsidiaries, a 61% from 5 years’ ago.
When this month’s shinnenkai (New Year's parties) started, I found I had to snap back into remembering to bow properly, whilst negotiating my wine and canapés, as I exchanged akemashite omedetou with Japanese business acquaintances. It felt awkward at first but thanks to my time in a Japanese school, where we bowed every morning to the teacher, and had twice weekly outdoor assemblies where we rehearsed standing at ease, then standing to attention, then bowing - the proper way to bow is somewhat instinctive for me.
Non-Japanese bowing will almost certainly get it wrong
For most non-Japanese people, bowing correctly is a challenge, and in my opinion, we worry too much about it. Most Japanese people, when meeting with a foreign person, will expect to shake hands. I usually advise that a slight nod of the head or bend at the waist is a good cultural compromise when shaking hands with a Japanese person. If you have not been brought up to bow, and also had it drilled into you again at an induction course in a Japanese company, when you do try to do a full bow, you will almost certainly get it wrong. Bowing too deeply or for too long a time will result in your Japanese counterpart feeling obliged to dip down again for a further round of needless bowing.
It has just been announced that Polish immigrants now represent the largest group of foreigners living in the UK. There were around 831,000 Polish born residents in the UK in 2015, overtaking Indian born residents. This represents a ¾ million increase on 2004 when Poland joined the EU, showing the scale and speed of the increase in immigrants from Eastern Europe – one of the root causes of the British vote to leave the EU.
Poland’s connections to the UK go back further than this, however. A large group of Poles settled in the UK after WWII, and were welcomed because of the well-known heroism of Polish pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain.