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In Negotiation

Japanese strategic buyers often pay a high premium


Japanese strategic buyers are known to pay a premium of between 30 and 50 percent for overseas acquisitions—well above the global average.

Despite COVID-19, some of them continue expanding their business through acquisitions.  

Characteristics of

      Japanese buyers


In 2018, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry surveyed 145 Japanese companies on their cross-border M&A activities. The results show you the characteristics of Japanese buyers—why they buy, how they find targets, how they will buy, and what kind of companies they are buying.


See the characteristics of Japanese buyers >>

Communication tips


The Japanese are like good politicians—they never say "no" to your face. Their “yes” sometimes means something different.


You can download a host of actionable tips compiled by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) free of charge from:


 “Communicating with Japanese in Business”

Negotiating tactics


“Chapter 4  Negotiations” of the following book will tell you many useful tactics. Not all advice in this book applies to your situation, however, as the book is geared toward US companies trying to build a long-term relationship with Japanese distributors, which may not be your case.


“Japanese Business Culture and Practices: A Guide to Twenty-First Century Japanese Business Protocols” by Isao Takei and Jon P. Alston

Benefit of translation


A successful exit by selling to a Japanese corporation may not be so out of reach after all. You can make it happen by approaching the right department in the right way. 

Which department? The Corporate Planning Department (経営企画部) of a company usually handles acquisitions. If there is no department by that name, you may have to ask around to identify a department that handles long-term planning. If possible, use the introduction of a trusted third-party, such as an international bank, consultant, embassy, or chamber of commerce.

You’ll get faster responses if you send messages in Japanese and suggest that they can respond in Japanese, because only 47% of Japanese workers can do business in English, according to a survey by the most influential language-testing agency, TOEIC.


​Documents that can be translated include email, letter, newsletter, brochure, press release, video script, proposal/offer, memorandum, meeting minutes, and contract.​

Three things to avoid when using translations


  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine translations.

The quality of mechanical translations has improved a great deal over the years and they are inexpensive. But they sometimes omit a whole sentence or output the opposite meaning. You can use machine translation only for projects that are not mission-critical.

2. Translations by a non-native speaker of Japanese

Translators in countries outside Japan are known to provide translations with lower fees. The problem is they get the level of politeness wrong—there are five levels of politeness in the Japanese language. You need to hire a native speaker of Japanese to check their translations.


Translations by machine or non-native speakers of Japanese both will have the effect of sounding like a fraudster because they are often used by phishing emails.

3. Translations by unskilled persons.

The same financial word has different meanings. For instance, “private” can mean “not listed or regularly traded on the market” or “non-government.” You need to check the background of the translator.

Capture profitable opportunities, save time, and save yourself from committing a cultural blunder while enjoying an efficient and constructive interaction with the Japanese! Click to get Meg’s professional and culturally sensitive translations.

"Your go-to translator"

A great, all-around technical EJ translator, and definitely our go-to financial translator for complex assignments.

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Madoka Murakami, Tribeca Translations

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