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, the 21st, survey was conducted between April 10 and 20, 2012, and received 325 valid responses from members of 17 foreign chambers of commerce and business organizations.

Participating organizations included the ACCJ (American Chamber), ANZCCJ (Australia-New Zealand Chamber), ABC (Austrian Business Council), BCCJ (British Chamber), BLCCJ (Belgian-Luxembourg), CCCJ (Canadian) DCCJ (Danish), DIHKJ (German), FCCJ (Finnish), CCIFJ (French), IJCC (Irish), ICCJ (Italian), NCCJ (Dutch), NoCCCJ (Norwegian), SACCJ (South African), SCCJ (Swedish) and SCCIJ (Swiss).

This survey shows, as could be seen already in the Fall 2011 survey, that the problems and uncertainties caused by the 3.11 disaster are now to a large extent behind and now 3.11. is more seen as an opportunity than a threat. All indexes, from views on the Japanese economy to the performance of the companies as well as their strategies for the future rose about 15-25% from the Fall 2011 survey. Only the profitability forecast for the next 6 months was same as in the previous survey, but still showed a healthy index of 0.68 on the scale from -2 (strong decline) to +2 (strong improvement.

The Japanese economy for the next 6 months is expected to rebound from the disaster, the index (on a scale from +2 to -2) was now +0.47 (compared to +0.31 in fall 2011), and looking 12 months ahead, the companies see an even stronger turn for the better and the index was now +0.67, an improvement from the +0.55 in the previous survey.

The reported sales performance in the past six months developed positively, now +0.63 compared to +0.44 the fall survey. Similarly, the profitability had also slightly improved, now +0.53 now compared to +0.46 in fall. The recovery can clearly be seen in the sales forecast for the coming six months, the index was +0.81 (previous survey +0.73). The profitability forecast remained unchanged at +0.68.

The strategies of the foreign-affiliated companies in Japan continue to be rather bullish. 73% (68% in the fall 2011 survey) are looking for further growth and 22% are expecting to sustain their current level. 4% are planning to downsize, but only 1% (four companies out of the surveyed 325) are considering withdrawing from Japan.

This time the survey included two alternating questions regarding the use of Social Media. Among the medias used, LinkedIn was reported to be most popular with 76% being users, closely followed by YouTube (74%) and Facebook (69%). The other media (Google+, Twitter and Blogs) were far behind with 27-30%.The second question, regarding use of Social Media in Business Promotion, 22% reported that it is important and they dedicate resources to maintain their presence while 41% said they use to some extent. 11% were of the opinion that social media will not have any significant impact in business promotion. The Europeans were clearly more conservative with 28% considering it insignificant.

To download the full report, click below:
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey Report - Spring 2012 (1.4 Mb)
The report also includes commentary from Dr. William Schrade.
Dr. Schrade is a part time lecturer at the ICU, International Christian University

Download all comments from respondents:
Comments to Reasons for Changes in Business Performance (29 kb)
Other Reasons for Changes in Business Performance (24 kb)
Comments to Strategies in Japan (26 kb)
Comments to Social Media in Business Promotion (23 kb)
General Comments (27 kb)

The next survey will be conducted in October 2012. The results from that survey will be published late October 2012.

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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    © 2002-2012 Foreign Chambers in Japan & FCCJ.