Japan is a formal society with rigid cultural practices and values.
They care a lot about quality and efficiency in all they do and this also impacts the entire negotiation process and structure.
Unless you represent a big international brand name, it is best to establish connections via a “chukaishu”
Unlike Americans, Japanese are not individualistic and they tend to negotiate as a team or group. And they prefer to negotiate to a prearranged agenda.
Japanese observe hierarchy to the max and you have to match “seniority for seniority” in terms of setting up your negotiating team. They are quite sensitive about any mismatch and you have to pay attention to the various nuances around this concern.
On their side, they are usually driven by consensus; so give them some time to discuss and deliberate the negotiation issues before getting back to you.