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Bribery and Corruption Casebook: The View from Under the Table by Laura Hymes, Joseph T. Wells

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CHAPTER 17

Decorum Across the International Date Line

JIM PELCZAR

Harmony, courtesy, manners and respect are hallmarks of Japanese society, as evidenced in the highly civil behavior exhibited by the Japanese population during the massive earthquake in March 2011. According to most of the how-to books, Japanese businesspeople are supposedly among the most ethical in the world and they experience strong social pressure to do the right thing. Experts advise non-Japanese professionals working in that country to avoid conflict and embarrassment and help their Japanese counterparts save face.

But Japanese businesspeople are just like anyone else. The cultural taboo against dishonesty can produce Japanese wrongdoers who will lie and commit fraud with impunity. But their motive is not always to directly line their pockets — bribery can take the form of anything of “value,” which is not limited to money or goods. Lavish gifts and entertainment, payment of vacation travel and lodging expenses, payment of credit card bills or loans, promises of future employment and interests in businesses can all be bribes if they are given or received with the intent to influence or be influenced. Regardless of positive cultural assumptions, direct losses to bribery and corruption in Japan are huge.

Special Materials Build Special Relationships

Noshi Manufacturing was in the specialty materials business, producing chemicals and compounds that are used in products ranging from aircraft to sporting goods. ...

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