Business risks

Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and before establishing business relationships.

Australian firms wishing to operate in this market should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's laws and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.

Bribery of foreign public officials is a crime. Australian individuals and companies can be prosecuted in Australia for bribing foreign officials when overseas. Further information on the regulations governing bribery of foreign public officials is available.

For further information on frauds, scams, personal and asset security, intellectual property protection and other business risks please read more about legal issues.

Intellectual property protection

As in Australia, there is the need to protect intellectual property rights and be covered by patent, design and trademark protection. Japanese companies are experienced international business players and understand the need for confidentially and non-disclosure agreements when beginning business discussions. Act in the same manner as in Australia to protect your business intellectual property and confidential information. As discussions progress, consulting Australian and Japanese lawyers, with specific expertise is recommended, particularly in hi-tech and services industries.

Generally, while the paper contract agreement for business is important, developing and committing to a relationship is more crucial to potential Japanese business partners. Long legal documentation can often dull the enthusiasm of potential partners so a balance needs to be reached. Credit service checks of Japanese companies are available.

For further information, visit the IP Australia Japan page.

Dispute resolution

Japan is typically a less litigious jurisdiction than other developed economies, however sometimes things do go wrong.

The World Bank provides annual reports on the ease of doing business in Japan, including dispute resolution in comparison to other economies.

Should your business require referrals to legal or other professional services firms, Austrade is well placed to assist in your particular circumstances.