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Lesson Transcript


Becky: Hello, and welcome to JapanesePod101.com. This is Introduction to Business Culture, Lesson 7, Reading Between the Lines. In this lesson, we’ll teach you how to politely refuse a business deal and ways to maintain business relationships. I’m Becky.
Risa: ...and I’m Risa.
Becky: Whenever you’re working in the business world, connections with people are very important. You always want to look after your business partners so that they don’t feel uncomfortable, and if possible, ensure the relationships last for a long time.
Risa: In Japanese, there are set phrases that express this attitude.
Becky: In this lesson, we’ll introduce a few set phrases that will help you to deliver messages indirectly.
Risa: This is a very common custom in Japanese culture.

Lesson focus

Becky: First of all, let’s see what you should say when you want to decline business offers.
Risa: It’s common to hear 残念ですが、今回は見送らせてください。(zannen desu ga, konkai wa miokurasetekudasai).
Becky: This means “It's a pity, but please let us pass on it this time.” Let’s hear it one more time, and then let’s break it down.
Risa: 残念ですが、今回は見送らせてください。 (zannen desu ga, konkai wa miokurasetekudasai)
Becky: First, we have…
Risa: 残念ですが (zannen desu ga).
Becky: This is a phrase meaning "unfortunately." It's used at the beginning of the response as a considerate and polite expression. It’s aimed at making the person who spent time trying to offer you a business opportunity feel better about you turning it down. Following that is the expression...
Risa: 見送らせてください (miokurasetekudasai) which comes from the verb 見送る(miokuru)
Becky: ...which means "to see someone off.” However, in a business setting, we use it to mean "not to get involved in business."
Risa: You can also add 今回は (konkai wa).
Becky: This means "this time," so you can use this to mean that you are not completely ending the relationship with your partner.
Risa: But it doesn’t really mean that you're looking forward to the next opportunity.
Becky: It’s a polite way of declining and you can say it because you don't want to let your partner down by flatly refusing. Risa, what are other similar expressions?
Risa: 難しいお話ですね。(Muzukashii o-hanashi desu ne.)
Becky: ...which means "It’s a complicated story."
Risa: お役に立てず残念です。(O-yaku ni tatezu zan'nendesu.)
Becky: "I am sorry I can't help you." Both of these expressions are used by Japanese people when you don't want to refuse an offer clearly and make your partners feel bad.
Becky: Now, let’s look a situation where you cannot make a firm decision at the meeting.
Risa: In that situation, Japanese people usually say 検討させていただきます。(kentō sasete itadakimasu)
Becky: ...which means something like “Let me consider it with our team.” Let’s hear it again.
Risa: 検討させていただきます。(kentō sasete itadakimasu)
Becky: It comes from...
Risa: 検討する(kentō suru)
Becky: ...which means "to consider" carefully. You can use this expression when you cannot immediately make a decision. This can happen often because of the committee system that we mentioned in a previous lesson. In other words, the person in charge often does not have the right to decide on their own and needs to consult with others.
Becky: Finally, let’s talk about “social rhetoric.” These are phrases and expressions we can use that are polite, but don’t really carry much meaning. They’re just lip service. Risa, how do we say “social rhetoric” in Japanese?
Risa: 社交辞令 (shakō jirei)
Becky: Everything that we have discussed in this lesson can be considered part of “social rhetoric.”
Risa: One of the most important expressions of 社交辞令 (shakō jirei) is 近いうちに (chikai uchi ni)...
Becky: ...meaning "one day soon."
Becky: Let’s hear examples of how this can be used.
Risa:近いうちにのみに行きましょう。(Chikai uchi ni nomi ni ikimashō)
Becky: This means "let's hang out for a drink one day soon."
Risa: There’s also 近いうちにまたお会いしましょう。(Chikai uchi ni mata o-ai shimashō)
Becky: ...which means "let's meet one day soon." It’s an expression that means you are interested and you want to see each other again.
Risa: However, unfortunately, it is often used just as a diplomatic phrase.
Becky: So you don’t actually want to get a drink together or meet again?
Risa: Right!
Becky: I see, it’s similar to when someone invites you to drop by their house when you are close, but they don’t really mean it.
Risa: Yes, it’s just a way to maintain good relationships.
Becky: And even though they’re just lip service, you should show a nice attitude by thanking your business partner, when you hear phrases like these.


Becky: Those are the key facts about politely refusing a business deal, and maintaining business relationships. If you want to find the related Japanese keywords, make sure to check out the lesson notes.
Becky: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
Risa: Bye!