Cracking the Code: Job Dynamics in Japan versus Abroad – What Sets Them Apart


When it comes to business perspectives during overseas trips, there are notable differences between working in Japan and abroad. Things that may seem natural while working in Japan might not be so in foreign settings. Let’s delve into these distinctions for insights that could be valuable for your reference.

In Japan, certain aspects of work may be taken for granted, but overseas, they might not be considered standard practices. I’ll provide explanations for each point to help you navigate the nuances and make the most of your professional experiences abroad. Stay tuned for a breakdown of these cultural and business disparities that could impact your work dynamics during international travel.

2.1. Reimbursement of Transportation Costs: Variances in labor practices between Japan and Western countries

In Japan, it’s common for part-time workers, such as those in temporary positions, to receive transportation allowances as part of their compensation. However, in Western countries, it’s generally accepted that transportation expenses are not covered. Consequently, individuals who reside far from their workplace may face a substantial financial burden due to the absence of transportation subsidies.

In terms of providing transportation allowances, the labor environment in Japan could be considered worker-friendly. The provision of commuting expenses is one aspect that sets Japan apart, offering a supportive approach to the well-being of employees.

2.2. Notice and Grace Period for Termination: Comparative analysis of employment practices in Japan and overseas

In Japan, the law mandates a notice period of 30 days or more from the issuance of a dismissal notice to the actual termination of employment. However, overseas, it is not uncommon for employees to receive sudden dismissal notices in the midst of a project, and typically, there is no grace period after the notification.

2.3. Women’s Advancement in the Workplace: Contrasts in the career progression of women between Japan and Western countries

In recent years, diversity has gradually been promoted in Japan, and there is increasing attention on the social advancement of women. However, compared to Western countries, female participation in the workforce in Japanese society still lags behind. One of the underlying factors may be the lingering notion from the pre-Showa era that assigned traditional roles, with men as breadwinners and women as homemakers.

2.4. Overtime Culture: Divergent approaches to overtime in Japan and overseas

In Japan, some individuals engage in overtime work due to the belief that leaving the workplace before their superiors is difficult. Additionally, there is a perspective that associates overtime with enthusiasm and dedication to one’s job. Although there are efforts, such as labor reform, to rectify this trend, the issue of excessive overtime and long working hours among employees remains a concern.

In foreign countries, there is often a greater emphasis on respecting private time spent with family and friends, and there seems to be less of a culture of working overtime out of consideration for superiors.

2.5. Workplace Socializing: Contrasting styles of workplace communication, particularly in social gatherings

As the term “nomunication” suggests, it is not uncommon in Japan to organize drinking parties as a means of fostering communication among colleagues in the workplace.

In many foreign countries, there is a prevalent perception that this culture lacks productivity and encroaches upon personal time. Consequently, the frequency of organizing after-work drinking parties with colleagues is often low. Additionally, when hosting welcome events or gatherings, it is common to opt for welcome lunches, utilizing the lunchtime hours instead.