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 27th, survey was conducted between April 14 and 24, 2015, and received 316 valid responses (an increase of 6% from previous survey) from members of 15 foreign chambers of commerce and business organizations.
Participating organizations included the ACCJ (American Chamber), ANZCCJ (Australian and New Zealand), BCCJ (British), 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 Chamber).
Across the board, this survey shows further improved sentiments compared to the previous survey conducted in October 2014. The respondents remain more positive about the Japanese economy, for the next 6 months it is expected to continue to grow - the index, on a scale from +2 (strong improvement) to -2 (strong decline) - was now +0.69, compared to +0.33 in October. 67% of the respondents expect strong or some improvement while only 5 % see some decline (none strong decline). Looking 12 months ahead, the respondents see a further growth, and on a higher lower level forecasted in the previous survey. The index was now +0.74, compared to +0.42 in the previous survey.
The reported performance of the companies continued to improve and on a somewhat higher level than in the October survey. The index for reported sales performance in the past six months was now +0.71 compared to +0.59 the previous survey. Also the profitability growth increased, now +0.50 now compared to +0.39 in October.
In the sales forecast for the coming six months the respondents were slightly more optimistic than in October, the index was now +0.89 (previous survey +0.82). The forecast for profitability also grew slightly stronger than in the October survey, from +0.63 to +0.67.
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. 78% (79% in the October survey) are looking for further growth and 18% are expecting to sustain their current level. Only 2% is planning to downsize and also 2 % of the respondents are considering withdrawing from Japan.
This time the survey included two alternating questions. The first was regarding need for structural changes in Japan, where "Make Japanese economy more competitive" was selected by 33% of the respondents. "Change regulations for domestic & foreign firms" got 20% and "Change labor relationships between workers & firms" 18%.
The second alternating question was on the views on optimal exchange rates that would profit both Japan and the foreign companies. The European chamber members were asked about the JPY/EUR rate, the others the JPY/USD rate. Interestingly, the respondents' opinion was that the current JPY/EUR rate (127.3 - 129.4 in the survey period) is quite close to the optimal, the average response was 124.9. As for JPY/USD the average response was 109.6 when the actual rate in the period was 119.2 - 120.3.
To download the full report, click below:
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey Report - Spring 2015 (PDF 5.0 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:
Comments to Reasons for Changes in Business Performance (63 kb)
Comments to Strategies in Japan (80 kb)
Comments to structural changes needed (151 kb)
Comments to optimal exchange rates (86 kb)
General Comments (151 kb)
The next survey will be conducted in October 2015. The results from that survey will be published early November 2015.
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.
REPORTS FROM PREVIOUS SURVEYS
This survey is supported by: