Business Phone Etiquette in Japan

【Koshida Accounting Firm Column Date:

“Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.” - Jacques Maritain




Hi, my name is Taisei Koshida, and I am a certified public accountant as well as a tax accountant.


I aim to assist non-Japanese business owners who struggle with reading or writing in Japanese. If you find the Japanese tax return system challenging, I can help you with your tax filings.


If you are unclear about business phone etiquette in Japan, you might find this blog helpful.


Begin by Offering a Greeting and Introducing Yourself

Start with a standard greeting, such as ”いつもお世話になります。Thank you for your continued support”, followed by introducing yourself and your affiliation, for example, ‘This is Koshida from Koshida Accounting Office”.


Inquiring About the Other Person’s Convenience First

While it may seem that the timing is right when the call is answered, asking a question like ‘Is now a good time for you?’ can convey a more courteous impression.


Avoid calling during lunch hours

Since many people have lunch from 12 pm to 1 pm, it’s customary to avoid calling during this hour. If I do call around this time, I often joke, “Aren’t you in the middle of having ramen?”


Etiquette When With Others

When you are with others, such as during meetings or meals, and you need to take a phone call, it is polite to offer a brief apology and step away.


Concluding the Call

Once the main topic of the call is concluded, end the call by saying ”よろしくお願いします。失礼します。Thank you for your time. Goodbye.”


The Caller Typically Hangs Up First

It’s common etiquette in Japan for the person making the call to hang up first. However, this is less adhered to by many younger individuals.


Mobile or landline?

Many people nowadays conduct their business exclusively on mobile phones. While I have a landline in my office, I primarily use my mobile phone for work.



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