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Tokyo
Value Added Tax
There is a 5- percent VAT, which is more commonly referred to as a Goods and Service Tax (GST).
Overseas exhibitors with no Japanese offices or branches are exempt from paying GST, but the charge is often accidentally included anyway. So audit all your invoices to avoid overpaying if you qualify for the GST exemption.
Applications for refunds should be made within two months of the end of the claimant's fiscal year. Use a company specializing in VAT refunds, as Japan's VAT laws are complex.


Voltage
Japanese exhibit halls and show venues use 100 V.
Two-prong U.S.-style electrical plugs are used. While you will not need adapters, you will need to bring transformers for any electrical equipment in your booth.

Garbage
In Japan, the contractor is responsible for all trash generated during setup. The charge for that service is included in your overall contract.
Garbage is picked up from booths as part of show services, but other booth cleaning is contracted separately, unless you have ordered a package deal through show management.

Smoking
Smoking is not allowed inside Japanese convention centers, but most exhibit halls and venues have designated smoking areas outside.

Cellphones
While some 3G phones may work in Tokyo, other U.S. phones likely won't.
Temporary phones can be rented. However, it is best to make those arrangements before leaving the airport in Shanghai, as rental phones can be difficult to find in the city.
Music
Music royalties are handled through the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers, and Publishers (JASRAC).
Live music is unusual in trade show booths in Japan.

Emergency
Emergency: dial 119
Fire: dial 119
Greetings
You will be expected to exchange business cards with nearly everyone you meet, so make sure to bring enough.
Present business cards with your palms facing up, and don't write on any cards you receive, as it is disrespectful.
Foreigners need not bow when greeting in Japan. Instead, smile warmly and genuinely, and offer a handshake to men or women. Avoid overpowering handshakes, as Japanese people perceive this as a sign of lesser intelligence.
Aside from shaking hands, Japanese people do not generally touch each other. So it is best to avoid hugging.
Hospitality
While beverages including fruit juice, green tea, water, or sodas are commonly served in exhibits, food - especially catered items - is relatively rare. Some exhibitors may serve nonperishable snacks, but generally attendees do not expect to be fed while visiting exhibits.
Although there are no rules against serving alcohol, it is generally not done.
Full-scale kitchens in exhibits are rare in Japan due to the high cost of plumbing connections compared to other countries.
Language
Some attendees speak English, but having someone on hand who speaks Japanese is a must.
Position a Japanese staffer at the entrance to your booth. Many Japanese executives have a tremendous fear of not being able to respond when spoken to in English and find a Japanese face welcoming.
Exhibit graphics and collateral literature should be translated to Japanese.
Business cards should be printed with English on one side and Japanese on the opposite side.
Staff Attire
Men should wear dark-colored suits, though black is traditionally reserved for funerals. Open sport coats are discouraged. Cufflinks and bold ties are rare. Do not wear boots, sandals, slippers, or sneakers.
Women should wear dark pantsuits with light-colored, collared blouses. Avoid loud colors. Long hair is not considered businesslike. Do not wear boots, slippers, mules, sandals, sneakers, or high-heeled or open-toed shoes.
Tattoos and piercings are frowned upon.
Installation and Dismantle
If you are using a local exhibit house, it will provide a crew to assist you during installation and dismantle.
Crews can be ordered in advance through local exhibit houses. If you need electrical work such as wiring, order that service through show services prior to the show.
While there are no unions, labor generally works from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with an overtime rate (typically 1.25 times normal rates) beginning thereafter.
General Facts and Tips
Display all licenses, certifications, and affiliations on your graphics or product literature. In Japan, being a member of any organization shows your company is committed to industrial cooperation and that you are part of a larger business network.
The main exhibit halls in Tokyo are Tokyo Big Sight and the Makuhari Messe.
Makuhari Messe is quite a distance from downtown, so make sure you have transportation arrangements - either a taxi or hired van for your group.
Hand-held fans are popular booth giveaways in the summer.
In a meeting, the most important person usually sits facing the door, while the people around him or her are typically ranked accordingly.
Safety
Get approval from show management to make sure your booth design meets codes and regulations. If you have an exhibit house in Japan, ask it to obtain exhibit-design approval from the show organizer.
At Japanese convention centers, electrical work can only be done by licensed contractors.
In Japan, U.S.-made fabrics that have European and U.S. fire certificates must be fire tested and approved by the Japanese Fire Marshal Association.
Booth height must be approved by the fire marshal if the exhibit exceeds a certain limit, which at many shows is 14.7 feet.
Venues and Resources
Tokyo International Exhibition Center: www.bigsight.jp/english
Makuhari Messe: www.m-messe.co.jp
Japan External Trade Organization: www.jetro.go.jp
Ministry of Finance Japan: www.customs.go.jp
SOURCES
Karen Arndt, managing director, Uniplan Shanghai Co. Ltd., Shanghai, China; Justin August, project manager, Sakura International Inc., Tokyo, Japan; Michael B. Boone, director of international business, Coastal International Inc., Antioch, TN; Robert C. Campbell, vice president, Uniplan GmbH & Co. KG, Basel, Switzerland; Christopher Dorn, president, Idea International Inc., Tokyo, Japan; Isaac Chan, general manager, Uniplan Shanghai Co. Ltd., Shanghai, China; Ben Einer, vice president of international, EWI Worldwide Inc., Shanghai, China; Jeffrey S. Hannah, president, Nuance International Inc., Lawrenceville, GA; Isabel Lorenzo, business director, Octaplan Arquitetura E Promogoes Ltda., Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Kerstin Mulfinger, architect, Burkhardt Leitner Constructiv Inc., Toronto, Canada; Gino Pellegrini, president, Inter-Global Exhibitions, Denver, CO; Nicolas Piontkowitz, marketing and public relations, Bachmann Kern & Partner Architektur Design, Solingen, Germany; Holly Seese, global marketing communications manager, Celanese Corp., Dallas, TX; Jeannine K. Swan, owner and president, Global Exhibit Management, Fort Worth, TX; Danielle Xu, managing director of Asia Pacific, EWI Worldwide Inc., Shanghai, China
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