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 25th, survey was conducted between April 15 and 25, 2014, and received 330 valid responses (an increase of 20% from the previous survey) 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), FCCJ (Finnish), CCIFJ (French), DIHKJ (German), IJCC (Irish), ICCJ (Italian), NCCJ (Dutch), NoCCCJ (Norwegian), SACCJ (South African), SCCJ (Swedish) and SCCIJ (Swiss).

This survey shows that the respondents remain positive about the Japanese economy, albeit at a slightly lower level than in the previous survey in October 2013. The economy for the next 6 months is expected to continue to grow - the index, on a scale from +2 (strong improvement) to -2 (strong decline) was now +0.46, compared to +0.89 in October. 58% of the respondents expect strong or some improvement while only 16 % see some decline. Looking 12 months ahead, the companies see a further growth, on a similar level forecasted in the previous survey. The index was now +0.70, compared to +0.75 in the previous survey.

The positive continued views on the economy were also reflected in the reported and projected performance of the companies. The reported sales performance in the past six months developed stronger than in the October survey, the index was now +0.83 compared to +0.71 the previous survey. The sales performance was now at its highest level since the Spring 2006 survey. Also the profitability growth improved slightly, now +0.49 now compared to +0.45 in October. In the sales forecast for the coming six months the respondents were slightly less optimistic than in October, the index was now +0.79 (previous survey +0.87). The forecast for profitability however grew stronger than in the October survey, from +0.57 to +0.60.

The optimism reflected in the company performance data also clearly show that the strategies of the foreign-affiliated companies in Japan continue to be bullish. 81% (79% in the October survey) are looking for further growth and 15% are expecting to sustain their current level. 3% are planning to downsize. Only 1 % (two companies) of the respondents are considering withdrawing from Japan.

This time the survey included two alternating questions, one regarding the expected effects of the consumption tax increase, the other about the influence on businesses of the weakened yen.

Regarding the consumption tax, 60 % thought that it would have little or no negative effects, 25 % expected a strong, but short-term effect and only 7% sees a strong long-term negative effect. As for the weakened yen, 61 % had experienced some or strong negative impact while for 26 % it had had no impact.

To download the full report, click below:
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey Report - Spring 2014 (PDF 4.1 Mb)

The report also includes commentary from Dr. William Schrade.
Dr. Schrade is a part-time lecturer at the University of Maryland University College, Adjunct Faculty

Download all comments from respondents:
Other Reasons for Changes in Business Performance (197 kb)
Comments to Reasons for Changes in Business Performance (210 kb)
Comments to Strategies in Japan (199 kb)
Comments to Consumption Tax Increase (204 kb)
Comments to Yen Depreciation (208 kb)
General Comments (202 kb)

The next survey will be conducted in October 2014.. The results from that survey will be published late October 2014.

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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