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The Foreign Chambers in Japan (FCIJ) is an informal organization comprised of foreign chambers of commerce and business groups in Japan mainly for the purpose of information exchange and enhancement of the activities of the component organizations.

The FCIJ conducted the first Business Confidence survey in April 2002, based on a format developed by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (FCCJ). This survey, conducted twice a year, is rapidly becoming a barometer of foreign business in Japan. This was the thirteenth survey, conducted between April 14 and 25, 2008.

The survey is headed by a task force consisting of Aron Kremer (ACCJ), Ian de Stains (BCCJ), Neil Moody (CCCJ) and Clas G. Bystedt (FCCJ).

The survey was sent to members at 17 organizations representing about 2,150 foreign affiliated companies and received 497 valid responses (highest ever), a 14% increase from the Fall 2007 survey.

Participating organizations included the ACCJ (American Chamber), ANZCCJ (Australia-New Zealand Chamber), CCBJ (Brazilian), BCCJ (British Chamber), BLCCJ (Belgian-Luxembourg), CCCJ (Canadian), DCCJ (Danish), DIHKJ (German), FCCJ (Finnish), CCIFJ (French), IJCC (Irish), ICCJ (Italian), IsCCJ (Icelandic), NCCJ (Dutch), NoCCJ (Norwegian), SCCJ (Swedish) and SCCIJ (Swiss).

As expected, the sentiments about the Japanese economy were much more pessimistic than in the previous survey in October 2007. On a scale from -2 (strong decline) to +2 (strong improvement), this survey’s forecast on the Japanese economy for the next six months had an overall index of -0.33 (compared to +0.43 in the October 2007 survey) and for the next 12 months, -0.07 (+0.54 in October 2007).

Despite the negative views on the economy, the companies reported and forecasted for the next six months further gains in sales and profitability, although on a slightly lower level than in the previous survey. In the past six months 54% saw gains in their sales and only 24% decrease and the forecast for coming six months was 62% see growth and only 16% expect decrease in their sales. As for profitability figures 51% saw gains in the past six months (28% decrease) and 55% expect a further increase in the coming six months (19% expect a decrease).

Concerning the strategies of the foreign-affiliated companies in Japan, most of them remain bullish despite the bearish view on the economy and see Japan as a market with room to expand ? 76% looking for further growth and 21% expecting to sustain their current level. Only 3% reported that they plan to downsize and 0% (one companies out of the surveyed 497) are considering withdrawing from the market.

The survey also asked the respondents on their prediction of the USD-JPY (American, Canadian, Australia-New Zealand and Brazilian chamber members) and EUR-JPY (European chamber members) rates in six months time.
The averages were 102.5 and 155.6 yen respectively.

The second new question was regarding the views on the Nikkei index in 6 months time. The forecasted average was12,936, with very small differences between the views of each chamber.

To download the full report, click below:
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey Report - Spring 2008 (1.6 Mb)
The report also includes commentary from Dr William Schrade, Ph.D. Economics at Temple University Japan.

Download all comments from respondents:
Comments regarding changes in business performance (38 kb)
Comments regarding strategies in Japan (20 kb)
General comments (18 kb)

The next survey will be conducted in October 2008. The results from that survey will be published early May 2008.

If you need more information regarding the survey, contact your chamber or the FCCJ Office.
Printed versions of the report are also available at the FCCJ Office for a modest fee.

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