The author is an attorney with Minter Ellison Morris Fletcher, an Australian law firm with offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and London. He has studied law at universities in Japan and in the Pacific RIm countries and speaks Japanese and Mandarin. He is currently completing a masters thesis on foreign investment in China and Japan at the Asian Law Centre of the University of Melbourne. His firm is actively promoting ADR to its clients.
With proper preparation, the chances of successfully resolving a crosscultural dispute will be significantly increased. Failure to adequately prepare and bring about a resolution that takes into consideration the sensitivities of the other party can jeopardize the entire business relationship. This article concentrates on negotiations between Japanese and Western parties. Japanese culture- accustomed to using methods apart from litigation to resolve disputes- presents a special challenge to Western negotiators who must absorb the intricacies of Japanese negotiating style in order to uncover underlying interests and concerns.