If you’re in Japan and are interested in investing in the US, or vice-versa, this is the episode you need! You’re in luck because for today’s episode we have Stephen J Anderson, the Commercial Attache' for the US Embassy in Japan, and he’s here to discuss how his line of work turn opportunities into realities, and make sure that the people beginning on their ventures are properly guided and aware of the details of the environment they’re entering for their start-ups, be it from Japan to the US or the other way around. This episode will give you a background on the Japanese setup, relationship with the US, and a glimpse of what ventures may be best to consider when targeting Japan as your businesses’ next location. Stephen also discusses how he entered the foreign service and what it's like representing the United States abroad.
Business Culture in Japan
Japanese culture and technological advancements have always been hand-in-hand regardless of how fast the future comes for their country. In this episode, Stephen discusses some of the key points that investors need to be aware of when trying to strike a deal with Japanese businessmen. Say, for example, the fact that not having gone out for lunch with a Japanese businessman means it’s impossible to even scratch a deal with them. Aside from the cleanliness and punctuality, it seems the samurai values of honor and respect are also well-preserved as one of the key values that the Japanese look for in foreigners as a sign to do business. As much as the Japanese look very reserved with their culture, they actually are very knowledgeable about different cultures as well, most especially with their country of interest when investing. Stephen also discusses how he entered the foreign service and what it's like representing the United States abroad.
The Big Mundane Things
As much receiving calls for help with missing passports can seem less important, it’s these “mundane” seeming things that are very important, especially in terms of national security, that make Stephen’s job highly crucial. Although, even if he’s a part of the Embassy in Japan, his passion for businesses and being able to guide investors to what ins and outs they need to know about make his work feel less taxing. Even just having to get a document notarized may prove to be problematic for regular people and not much of a big deal for him, he acknowledges that this line of work is one of the biggest reasons why the Embassy is truly necessary. This line of work has allowed him to further polish his skills in realizing business opportunities that are only supposedly concepts or looking for potential markets that are not yet being targetted by other people/locals.
About Stephen J Anderson:
Stephen Anderson serves as Commercial Attache at U.S. Embassy Tokyo. Qualified in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, he completed overseas tours in Asia at Beijing, Nagoya, Bangkok and Tokyo. He also served at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Baltimore, and had a 4-year posting as Commercial Counselor in Dublin, Ireland. Prior to government with his doctorate from MIT, Anderson was a research professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and International University of Japan. At the U.S. Department of Commerce, Anderson has been a global manager promoting U.S. trade and foreign investment in America.
Outline of the Episode:
[01:50] About Stephen J Anderson and his background
[04:45] Point-of-contact for business in Japan
[07:50] How to become a foreign service officer
[10:15] Stephen’s background on overseas living
[13:34] Angles to consider when choosing where to invest
[17:14] How to navigate your investments through the pandemic
[19:28] Importance of cultural clues when doing business
[20:47] How a commercial attache’ supports businesses
[21:58] The USA-Japan business relationship
[25:19] Forecasts of which opportunities will open in Japan
[27:38] Locality as a challenge to being foreign business-ready in Japan
[28:59] Decongesting cities to economize rural areas
[30:12] Small towns as startup areas for digital nomads
[33:20] Where to start when putting up a business in Japan
[35:16] The real function of a US Embassy office
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