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Working in Japan can be a new and exciting experience. But adjusting to a different country’s work style can also be a challenge! You may face difficulties you have never encountered in your previous country. Why does my co-worker never talk to me? Did I do something wrong? Why are my ideas being ignored?

Here we discuss some common issues you may face with Japanese co-workers and how you can resolve them!

Common problems with foreign workers

You may have noticed that some of your bosses or co-workers seem to resent working with international people. A recent study by employment agency, Persol Group, highlighted the top complaints Japanese mangers have with foreign workers:

  • Foreign workers are too assertive
  • They demand salary raises
  • They have little loyalty to the company
  • The learning curve for their position is long and slow

Communication barriers

If you came to Japan to improve your language skill, you may be keen to practice with your co-workers. But bear in mind even if you are an advanced learner, things may still be lost in translation.

If your co-workers are English speakers, try double-checking in both Japanese and English to ensure understanding. If you are doubtful that the message is coming across, take the time to be very, very clear. Mistakes are forgiven in Japanese companies, but it will take a while before they fully trust you again.

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to talk in Japanese! Many Japanese people are nervous about speaking in English. They are afraid of making mistakes and embarrassing themselves. But, if you demonstrate that you are willing to make errors in Japanese, they will be more comfortable talking to you in English. Even if you are not an advanced speaker, your Japanese coworkers will appreciate your effort.

Cultural miscommunication

Japanese workers prefer to avoid conflict. That’s why Japanese people …continue reading