Ever since India decided to globalize, concentrated effort was made to attract Japanese participation through foreign direct investment. However, response from Japan has been rather subdued. This paper attempts to gain some insight into this reluctance of Japanese investors by studying the experiences of eight firms which are either subsidiaries or joint ventures of Japanese companies. The companies that were studied are YKK, Honda Siel Pvt.
Ltd, Sona Koyo Steering, Kyocera Wireless India Ltd, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation PTA India (MCC PTA), Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd, Satake India Engineering Ltd and Eisai Pharmaceutical Pvt. Ltd. Key findings of the study are as follows: Japanese companies are long term orientated with a strong commitment to ‘quality’ and ‘the customer’ and they try to fulfil this commitment by embedding the Japanese style of management into their operations. Among other factors, Japanese firms seek trust in their partner and each of the companies that have a joint venture in India spent a long time in deciding about the partnership. Labour unions are no longer viewed as a threat, as they have realized that a humane approach to labour guarantees harmony. Skill gap at the lower end of the employee order is a concern and the response has been to participate in skill enhancement. In the telecommunications and pharmaceutical sectors, India has become a potential destination for R&D activity because of its cheap, knowledgeable and capable talent pool.