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From Job Net Japan

Etiquette at Work

A Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Business Etiquette

Poste date: Monday, January 29, 2018

Traditionally, Japanese culture has very strict rules of etiquette appropriate for every situation, from interactions between neighbors, customers and staff in a store, politicians, and every other social situation under the sun. Nowhere are these rules and customs more keenly felt by expatriates than in Japanese business interactions. Japan can be described as having a formal, high “power-distance” culture. The distinctions between bosses and subordinates are clearly defined with everyone being expected to know their place as well as when and how to express themselves.

Below are some guidelines that should help smooth your way.

Greetings and Introductions

Bowing in Japan

Unlike many Western cultures where shaking hands is the norm, when meeting someone for the first time in Japan, people bow to each other. The degree of the bow corresponds to the difference in social standing between the two individuals being introduced. The longer and deeper the bow, the greater the amount of respect will be shown by the one bowing. When meeting foreigners, some Japanese may offer to shake hands, as an effort to ease any discomfort or misunderstandings. Your best bet with regard to being introduced to a Japanese person is to do what they do. If they bow, return the bow, with your back straight and hands at your sides.

Japanese Business Cards

The presenting of business cards (meishi in Japanese) is another critical element of business introductions. Business cards should be presented with both hands, face up and facing the person receiving the card. When receiving a business card, accept it with both hands and review its details. Be sure to treat all cards received with respect. Business cards should always be neat and crisp and stored in a sturdy container carried in a briefcase or shirt pocket and never placed into a wallet. Also, never write on a business card that you receive. The state of a person’s business cards says a lot about the character of that person.


Japan Business Card Etiquette – Everything an Expat Should Know

Japanese Business Attire

Despite the government policies for Warm Biz and Cool Biz dress codes, business attire is still very formal in Japan. For men, the rule is dark suits, white shirts, and muted ties. For women, the same color rules generally apply, with either pant suits or longer skirt suits being the generally accepted mode of dress.

When you enter a traditional Japanese home or other traditional venues such as temples or restaurants, always remove your shoes. Typically, it will be quite apparent when this is required because there will be an obvious step up to the interior where shoes are disallowed, often accompanied by a cubby where shoes can be stored and indoor slippers acquired. When in doubt, just do what your hosts or other Japanese are doing in this regard. One note, it is generally not acceptable to walk around barefoot in these situations. If you are likely to be in a position where you might be wearing shoes that require no socks and have to remove them, it would be wise to pack a set of white socks to prevent your bare feet from touching the slippers.

White Slippers in Japan

Other tips

● Do take lots of notes in meetings. This shows interest and also will keep you from being embarrassed down the road when your counterpart reminds you of something you said in a meeting based on notes they took.

● Do wait to be seated in a meeting or at a restaurant until indicated to do so by your host.

● Do learn some basic Japanese phrases for greeting and thanking, even if you don’t speak Japanese otherwise. This demonstrates a willingness to learn and invest in the culture.

● Don’t put your hands in your pockets when speaking with someone. This shows boredom or disinterest in the conversation.

● Don’t point at people with a finger or chopsticks when making a point or indicating something as this is considered very rude.

● Don’t blow your nose during a meeting, instead excuse yourself to a restroom or outside as appropriate.

● Don’t be late to a meeting. Japanese are very punctual and meetings start and end on time.

There are far more intricate rules surrounding Japanese business culture that extend beyond this cursory introduction. That being said, a benefit of being a foreigner is that most Japanese will not expect you to know all the ins and outs of their rules of etiquette and are very accommodating and gracious to those of us who are not as familiar with how things should be done. As such, the best rule to follow is to be as polite as possible and follow the guidance of your hosts.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of living in Japan

Thinking of working in Japan? It’s good to know what you’re in for




So you’re thinking of working for a Japanese firm. You might be wondering whether what you’ve heard about working in Japan is true. Or, if you’re already working here, you may wonder if what you’re experiencing is typical.

I’ve devoted my career to the subject of non-Japanese working in Japanese companies. I was caught up in the first wave of hiring of non-Japanese employees, back during the bubble economy, when I got a job at the headquarters of a large Japanese bank.

Puzzled at why things didn’t work the same way that they did when I was at an American company back in Chicago, I became curious about how Japanese organizations operate and how non-Japanese can succeed in them. I ended up going back to grad school, writing a book on this issue, and, for the past 25 years since, have been consulting to Japanese global companies on cross-cultural and human resource topics. I split my time between Japan and the United States, where I work with non-Japanese employees working in Japanese companies in both places in industries ranging from cars to video games to pharmaceuticals.

When doing seminars at clients, I ask people what they enjoy most about working in a Japanese organization, and what they find most challenging. I’ve compiled a summary of the top themes that come up.


First let’s take a look at the things that non-Japanese mention most frequently as being what they like most about working in a Japanese organization. Of course, these don’t necessarily apply to every specific company and workplace.

It’s good to keep in mind that there can always be too much of a good thing, and that for every one of these strengths there can be a downside if it’s taken too far. One thing’s for sure, it’s important to keep these positives in mind if just for your own sanity — dwelling on the negatives can easily lead to unhappiness.

Politeness: Care in interactions with others is one of the hallmarks of Japanese culture, and this translates in the workplace as people making an effort to be pleasant and nonconfrontational. It’s easy to take for granted once you get used to it, but it can be a noticeable contrast to the more rough-and-tumble atmosphere of some non-Japanese companies.

Teamwork: Japanese are very good at working in teams to get things done and, naturally, prefer to collaborate with others. This means that colleagues can be very supportive, and also creates a natural sense of belonging.

Social contacts: Teamwork extends outside of the company with a lot of socializing with colleagues, most often over drinks after work. For those that enjoy it, this can lead to very strong relationships in the office.

Consensus in decision-making: True to their team nature, Japanese companies prefer to make decisions based on the consensus of everyone in the group. With the exception of some Japanese companies that are very top down, most firms strive to make sure that everyone (or at least their representatives) is on board with any decisions. Many non-Japanese employees appreciate this consensus-based approach.

Planning, process and details: Japanese companies spend an enormous amount of energy on planning, with detailed information gathering and analysis. They also put a lot of emphasis on the process, including attention to small details. This leads to high levels of quality and a disciplined, organized approach. Many non-Japanese say they learn a lot from this thorough and methodical way of working.

Ability to execute: As a result of the careful planning and attention to detail, Japanese companies are very good at following through with a plan. Once a Japanese company has decided to do something, it makes sure to get it done.

Lack of pigeonholing: Job definitions in Japan tend to be vague, which can give you an opportunity to get involved in areas beyond what you were originally hired for. There is often also scope to take initiative and suggest improvements or new activities, even if you are in an entry-level position.

Increased responsibility: Being one of a small number of non-Japanese employees can give you the opportunity to get involved in activities and take on more responsibility than might be possible when working in your home country. It also gives you more visibility and potential exposure to senior-level workers. There is a lot of potential to leverage your unique skills and viewpoint, including your native language.

Opportunity for learning: There is nothing like being inside a Japanese company for deepening your knowledge of Japanese business, not to mention your language skills.


Alright, waiting for the other shoe to drop? Here it goes. The Japanese office is far from being a utopia and the following criticisms are also pet peeves for many Japanese. Take a deep breath and commiserate, here are the challenges of working for a Japanese company.

The language barrier: Even if you speak Japanese well, doing all your work in Japanese can be a strain. And if you don’t speak Japanese, you’ll find that there is always information that is not easily accessible. Your Japanese colleagues will likely also be struggling with a language barrier, which can sometimes lead to them thinking it’s not worth the effort to try and communicate.

Indirect communication style: People often tell me that the reluctance of their Japanese colleagues to say “no” clearly is a source of frustration. Until you get used to this style of communication, it may be difficult in pick up on the subtle negative signals that Japanese send instead of coming out and speaking directly. This is especially true if you’re from a culture that prefers to “tell it like it is.” The reluctance to confront people with negative information can also turn into passive-aggressive behavior.

A need to read between the lines: Not only do Japanese tend to be indirect, their communication style also tends to be vague. Instructions or feedback may be conveyed very nonspecifically, leaving non-Japanese to wonder what the real meaning is. Or, in some cases, nothing may be said at all, with the expectation being that you’ll somehow figure it out.

Lack of positive feedback: One of the things that tends to get left unsaid in Japanese culture is positive feedback. It’s rare for Japanese managers to praise verbally, and instead they tend to have a laser focus on what needs to be improved. This can feel disconcerting if you’re used to positive reinforcement.

Takes a long time to get anything done: The carefulness, planning and consensus-oriented decision-making discussed earlier has the effect of creating long drawn-out processes when making a decision. The large number of layers in the hierarchy and the myriad bureaucratic rules typical of Japanese firms can add to the time needed to finalize anything.

Slow to change: A corollary of the slowness to make decisions is a tendency to stick to the status quo and avoid change. This stems from the risk-averse nature of Japanese culture and incentive structures that harshly punish failure. As a result, middle managers in particular tend to be very reluctant to try anything new, lest it fail and doom their careers. As a result of the difficulty making changes in a Japanese organization, many employees — both Japanese and non-Japanese — can lose hope and become embittered.

Detail orientation: The Japanese pursuit of perfection means that tremendous energy may be devoted to relatively minor aspects of the work. This can be time-consuming and lead to extra work, not to mention the danger of losing sight of the forest for the trees.

Unclear career path: Japanese companies tend to not define clear career paths for their Japanese employees and, in the case of non-Japanese, the potential future paths are usually even less well mapped out. While there can be a great upside potential, there is also the danger of being stuck in a dead-end position.

Long working hours: This is one of the most notorious aspects of Japanese workplaces. The amount of overtime expected can vary significantly by company — anywhere from none to “a punishing amount.” Realizing this is a problem for all employees, many Japanese firms are attempting to restrict overtime as part of recent “workstyle reform” efforts.

We’re all in the same boat

Of course, issues with Japanese firms and how they manage employees is not only a concern of non-Japanese workers — many of the above challenges are things that frustrate Japanese employees as well.

Interestingly, some recent surveys of non-Japanese working in Japan have turned up similar themes. A survey conducted by job placement firm Adecco showed 77 percent of those surveyed being satisfied with their jobs, with the content of the work and the relationships with co-workers being the top reasons for their satisfaction. The negatives included indirect communication among the top responses, as well as concerns about lack of equality for women in the workplace and perceived discrimination against non-Japanese in general.

In a similar survey conducted by GPlusMedia in 2017, respondents mentioned the opportunity to live in Japan, the cultural experience and good benefits as the best part of working in Japan, and poor work-life balance, lack of flexibility and inequality as their top concerns. For those thinking of leaving their position at a Japanese firm, lack of career progression and compensation issues were the top reasons given.

Again, these are all generalizations, every situation is different. Depending on the specific corporate culture of the firm that you work for and your own personality and tastes, some of the things discussed here may be more or less applicable, and more or less appealing or annoying to you personally.


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The JLPT has five levels: N1, N2, N3, N4 and N5. The easiest level is N5 and the most difficult level is N1.

N1 difficult ←→ easy N5

N4 and N5 measure the level of understanding of basic Japanese mainly learned in class. N1and N2 measure the level of understanding of Japanese used in a broad range of scenes in actual everyday life. N3 is a bridging level between N1/N2 and N4/N5.

Linguistic competence required for the JLPT is expressed in terms of language activities, such as Reading and Listening, as shown in the table below. While not noted in the table, Language Knowledge, such as Vocabulary and Grammar, is also required for successful execution of these activities.

A summary of linguistic competence required for each level

The ability to understand Japanese used in a variety of circumstances.

  • ・One is able to read writings with logical complexity and/or abstract writings on a variety of topics, such as newspaper editorials and critiques, and comprehend both their structures and contents.
  • ・One is also able to read written materials with profound contents on various topics and follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers comprehensively.
  • ・One is able to comprehend orally presented materials such as coherent conversations, news reports, and lectures, spoken at natural speed in a broad variety of settings, and is able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents comprehensively. One is also able to understand the details of the presented materials such as the relationships among the people involved, the logical structures, and the essential points.

The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations, and in a variety of circumstances to a certain degree.

  • ・One is able to read materials written clearly on a variety of topics, such as articles and commentaries in newspapers and magazines as well as simple critiques, and comprehend their contents.
  • ・One is also able to read written materials on general topics and follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers.
  • ・One is able to comprehend orally presented materials such as coherent conversations and news reports, spoken at nearly natural speed in everyday situations as well as in a variety of settings, and is able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents. One is also able to understand the relationships among the people involved and the essential points of the presented materials.

The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations to a certain degree.

  • ・One is able to read and understand written materials with specific contents concerning everyday topics.
  • ・One is also able to grasp summary information such as newspaper headlines.
  • ・In addition, one is also able to read slightly difficult writings encountered in everyday situations and understand the main points of the content if some alternative phrases are available to aid one’s understanding.
  • ・One is able to listen and comprehend coherent conversations in everyday situations, spoken at near-natural speed, and is generally able to follow their contents as well as grasp the relationships among the people involved.

The ability to understand basic Japanese.

  • ・One is able to read and understand passages on familiar daily topics written in basic vocabulary and kanji.
  • ・One is able to listen and comprehend conversations encountered in daily life and generally follow their contents, provided that they are spoken slowly.

The ability to understand some basic Japanese.

  • ・One is able to read and understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji.
  • ・One is able to listen and comprehend conversations about topics regularly encountered in daily life and classroom situations, and is able to pick up necessary information from short conversations spoken slowly.
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Japanese Wages

Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage

OKINAWA  standard score: 40.65
Minimum wage is the wage set forth under the Minimum Wages Act and there are minimum wages set forth according to area and according to industry. Here, the minimum wages according to area have been compared.

The highest minimum wage is in Tokyo, with \791. Tokyo is followed by other urban areas such as Kanagawa (\789), Osaka (\762) and Saitama (\735). The lowest is in Okinawa, Miyazaki and Saga with \692. Prefectures in Kyushu and the Tohoku area are ranked low.

The correlative ranking shows that it is highly correlated with rankings in which urban areas are ranked high, such as Broadband Contracts, Prefectural Income and average residential land prices, indicating that minimum wages are higher in urban areas.


Rank Prefectures Minimum Wage Standard
1 Tokyo 985円 79.84
2 Kanagawa 983円 79.49
3 Osaka 936円 71.23
4 Aichi 898円 64.55
4 Saitama 898円 64.55
6 Chiba 895円 64.02
7 Kyoto 882円 61.74
8 Hyogo 871円 59.81
9 Shizuoka 858円 57.52
10 Mie 846円 55.41
11 Hiroshima 844円 55.06
12 Shiga 839円 54.18
13 Hokkaido 835円 53.48
14 Tochigi 826円 51.90
15 Gifu 825円 51.72
16 Ibaraki 822円 51.19
17 Toyama 821円 51.02
17 Nagano 821円 51.02
19 Fukuoka 814円 49.79
20 Nara 811円 49.26
21 Yamanashi 810円 49.08
22 Gunma 809円 48.91
23 Okayama 807円 48.56
24 Ishikawa 806円 48.38
25 Fukui 803円 47.85
25 Wakayama 803円 47.85
25 Niigata 803円 47.85
28 Yamaguchi 802円 47.68
29 Miyagi 798円 46.97
30 Kagawa 792円 45.92
31 Fukushima 772円 42.41
32 Tokushima 766円 41.35
33 Ehime 764円 41.00
33 Shimane 764円 41.00
35 Yamagata 763円 40.82
36 Oita 762円 40.65
36 Nagasaki 762円 40.65
36 Okinawa 762円 40.65
36 Kumamoto 762円 40.65
36 Miyazaki 762円 40.65
36 Tottori 762円 40.65
36 Saga 762円 40.65
36 Kochi 762円 40.65
36 Iwate 762円 40.65
36 Akita 762円 40.65
36 Aomori 762円 40.65
47 Kagoshima 761円 40.47
Japan 815円
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Cost of living

Average Living Expenses

Japan certainly has the image of being an expensive country, but even in Tokyo, you can live quite comfortably with an entry-level salary. In the table, you can see average living expenses and a budget version. Below we will explain each point and show how you can save more money.

This article is based on the annual statistics of living expenses for single households across Japan. Since living costs in the countryside and in the cities can vary greatly, slight alterations have been made to better reflect the situation of young people living alone in Tokyo.

Item Average Cost (in JPY) Budget Cost (in JPY)
Rent 70,000 45,000
Utilities 10,000 8,000
Phone & Internet 10,000 5,000
Food 40,000 20,000
Transportation 5,000 5,000
Health & Daily Necessities 3,000 2,000
Clothing & Personal Care 10,000 5,000
Going out 10,000 5,000
Entertainment 5,000 2,000
Total 163,000 97,000

1. Rent

Rent in Tokyo is higher than in most other regions of Japan. With 70,000 Yen you can get a nice apartment. For someone earning a typical salary of 250,000 Yen per month, this is just within the 1/3 of the net income that is recommended to be spent on living.

Cut cost: If you are willing to make compromises in regards to size, distance to city center, facilities, or consider shared living you can reduce your costs down to around 45,000 Yen per month.

READ ON  How to cut down rent costs in Tokyo

2. Utilities

Your bills for electricity, gas, and water, should be around 10,000 Yen per month. Though it is pay-as-you-use, fixed monthly often make up the larger chunk of your utility bill.

Cut cost: There isn’t much room to lower the cost here. Not turning on the AC when it is freezing or boiling outside, I also cannot recommend. Still, with mindful use of electricity and water you can keep scrape of around 20% bit of your monthly bills.

3. Phone&Internet

Phone and Internet contracts in Japan can easily cost 5,000 per month each. How much you pay exactly can vary vastly depending on the provider and services you choose.

Cut cost: To save money here, looking for cheap providers, cutting the phone flat-rate you don’t need, or getting portable wi-fi you can use at home and on the go, are ways to cut down your communication cost by half.

READ ON  Save with the right internet option for you

4. Food

In 2017 the average amount spend on food was 40,000 Yen per month. For this much money, you can get most of your food from restaurants and convenience stores. If you only eat out a few times a week 30,000 Yen a month or 1,000 Yen per day are a realistic budget.

Cut cost: The key to cutting down on food cost is cooking by yourself. In addition, comparing prices, shopping at cheaper supermarkets, and buying in bulk one can considerably reduce your expenses for groceries. This way you can reduce the money you spend on food to 20,000 a month. The rest is up to you, your culinary and management skills.

5. Transportation

Transportation costs really change by where you live but, in the city, it really boils down to your train fare. The cost for a monthly commuter pass is often somewhere between 5,000-10,000 Yen per month. Any additional costs depend on much you travel around in your free time.

Cut cost: The good news is that your employer will most likely pay for your commuter pass, cutting your transportation expenses down to almost nothing. Getting commuter passes for 3 or 6 months is another option to save a little money every month.

6. Health&Daily Necessities

We often forget to have a monthly budget to buy daily items like toothpaste, detergent, and tissues or put money on the side for an occasional doctors visit. It is not a lot but planning 3,000 Yen a month will help you to account for these small expenses over the year.

Cut cost: Going to the doctor early on if you are not feeling well is a good preventive measure. It may cost money at that moment, but the earlier you go the cheaper the costs for necessary treatments are likely to be. Otherwise, avoiding wastefulness when using daily items will lower these costs in the long run.

7. Clothing&Personal Care

When it comes to clothing and personal care items, like hairdresser visits, a big gap in spending can be noticed. While men spend an average of 5,000 Yen per month, women spend a whopping 20,000 Yen on average on their style and beauty regimen. Expenses in this category are also higher for people who have business style dress codes at work. Those snazzy suits don’t come cheap.

Cut cost: Regardless of how you identify you can easily cut your expenses by half in this category. It might take some searching, but you can find budget-friendly hair salons just as easy as you can get good quality outfits at affordable prices. A simple hair cut for men can cost as little as 1,000 Yen, and even women can make do with 5,000 Yen as long as they don’t want to get their nails done every month.

8. Going out

This one also depends highly on your preference. In Japan, it’s the men who spend more in this category with an average of 15,000 Yen a month. Women only use around 5,000 Yen, kind of balancing out the spending patterns in the previous section.

Cut cost: This one comes down to one simple truth: go out less. Limit yourself to one or two times a month and 5,000 Yen will be enough for you.

9. Entertainment

Books, music, games, movies, or maybe your Netflix subscription. The Japanese spend an average of 5,000 Yen per month, with men on average using more money for these things.

Cut cost: You can easily reduce this to around 2,000 Yen per month if you buy less (your room will thank you) or buy what you can second-hand. Japanese people often resell rather than to throw away, so even relatively new games and more can be found in Japan’s active second-hand network in shops and online

10. Other expenses

With the amount above, you can live in Tokyo. But the truth is you probably have other expenses not listed here as well. Whether you like to go out a lot, work out at a gym, get a bike, enjoy hiking, have that one item you need to have, pursue a hobby, attend to concerts, or study something, depending on your interest additional regular or irregular expenses are likely to be among your bills.

This one is really up to you. Planning an extra 10,000-20,000 Yen for pastime activities in your monthly budget will allow you to not to miss out on these things that matter to you.

How about savings?

Living costs are nice, but how much will that leave you with as savings? To get an idea, let’s find out how much of your gross income actually makes it into your bank account?

A typical income for young employees is 250,000 Yen per month. In this example, taxes should be close to 50,000 Yen per month and your net income would be 200,000 Yen per month. Get an estimate.

With a net income 200,000 Yen per month and average spending habits, you would be able to save 20,000-40,000 Yen per month. Someone who lives according to the budget plan suggested above can keep his living expenses at around 100,000 Yen per months, thereby save almost half of his salary. Try separating your savings into long-term savings for the, and short-term savings for your next trip home, a new computer, or other big expenses to get a better sense of if your saving goals are on track.

Living expenses of real people

Averages have to be taken with a grain of salt. In all likelihood, your expenses will be different from the ones above. So we asked two young foreigners living and saving money in Tokyo about their monthly expenses. Both of them moved to Japan for work and this is what they are spending.

Looking at these examples the secret to saving money in Japan lies in controlling fixed monthly costs and making conscious choices on where to spend one’s money.

Item Occasional Saver (in JPY) Extreme Saver (in JPY)
Rent 45,000 15,000
Utilities 10,000 8,000
Phone & Internet 5,000 4,000
Food 40,000 20,000
Transportation 5,000 3,000
Health & Daily Necessities 4,000 2,000
Clothing & Personal Care 5,000 2,000
Going out 8,000 5,000
Entertainment 2,000 3,000
Total 124,000 62,000

The occasional saver takes care to minimize her fixed monthly costs by finding a budget-friendly place to live. Otherwise, she is spending money freely to enjoy life in Japan, which includes eating out from time to time.

Our extreme saver is living in company housing, which allows him to cut down rent costs significantly. He cooks every meal by himself and told us that sometimes his monthly expenses for food are only 8,000 Yen, reducing total living expenses to less than 50,000 Yen. Currently though, he is spending a little extra every month to go to the gym.

How do your own spending patterns compare to the examples above? Go ahead and set your own spending and saving goals for your life in Japan!

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Businesses that accept No. 1 specified skill foreigners in the field of the restaurant industry must have the foreigners work at establishments classified as “eateries” or “take-outs and delivery restaurant services” in the Japanese Standard Industry Classification. You must.

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Commercial services in which 1st specific skill foreigner of nursing care is engaged are physical care (such as bathing, meals, and assistance for exhaustion according to the user’s physical and mental situation), and other support services (recreation, function) Training assistance etc.).

Business in visiting services such as visiting care is not covered.

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Building cleaning

Commercial services in which the 1st specific skill foreigner in the building cleaning field is engaged in the protection of the hygienic environment, maintenance of aesthetics, securing of safety for the interior of buildings (excluding housing) used by a large number of users For the purpose of improvement of maintenance and maintenance, the cleaning business is carried out by appropriately selecting methods, detergents and tools for differences in places, parts, construction materials, dirt etc., and eliminating environmental pollutants present in buildings. It will be a task to maintain cleanliness.

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Japanese mobile carriers postpone release of Huawei phones


Two of Japan’s top mobile phone carriers said Wednesday they will delay releasing new handsets made by Huawei after a U.S. ban on American companies selling technology to the Chinese tech giant.

KDDI and SoftBank Corp, the country’s number two and number three carriers respectively, said the decision was taken to give them time to assess the impact of the U.S. ban.

The country’s biggest carrier, NTT Docomo, said it was also considering similar action.

SoftBank had been due to release a Huawei-made smartphone on Friday, but halted the release “because we are currently trying to confirm if our customers will be able to use the equipment with a sense of safety”, company spokesman Hiroyuki Mizukami told AFP.