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 30th, survey was conducted between October 18 and 28, 2016, and received 288 valid responses from members of 13 foreign chambers of commerce and business organizations.

Participating organizations included the ACCJ (American Chamber), ANZCCJ (Australian and New Zealand), BCCJ (British), BLCCJ (Belgian-Luxembourg), DCCJ (Danish), FCCJ (Finnish), CCIFJ (French), DIHKJ (German), IJCC (Irish), ICCJ (Italian), NCCJ (Dutch), SACCJ (South African) and SCCJ (Swedish Chamber).

The views on the Japanese economy have slightly improved and the expected growth is higher, but only marginally, than in the previous survey in April 2016. The reported and expected sales and profitability estimates remain positive but on lower levels to those reported in the April survey.

The respondents still expects the Japanese economy to develop positively – though rather slowly – the index, on a scale from +2 (strong improvement) to -2 (strong decline) – for the next six months was now +0.10, compared to +0.02 in April. Looking 12 months ahead, the respondents see a similar small increase in growth, the index was now +0.27, compared to +0.18 in the previous survey.

The reported performance of the companies continued to improve but on a lower level than in the April survey. The index for reported sales in the past six months was +0.34 compared to +0.57 in the previous survey. The profitability growth was also lower, +0.38 than in April (+0.61). In the sales forecast for the coming six months the respondents were slightly less optimistic than in April, the index was now +0.63 (previous survey +0.73). The forecast for profitability growth is also expected to slow, now +0.54 compared to +0.71 in April.

Even though the company performance data reflected a slightly decreased growth, it is still obvious that the strategies of the foreign-affiliated companies in Japan continue to be bullish. 72% (78% in the April survey) are looking for further growth and 26% (19% in April) are expecting to sustain their current level. Only 1% is planning to downsize and only one of the 288 respondents are considering withdrawing from Japan.

This time the survey included two alternating questions. The first was regarding the Aging Society issue, where 32% responded that it could create new business for them, also 32 % reported that it does not affect their business. The second alternating question was regarding the perceived optimum level of the exchange rates, EUR/JPY for Europeans and USD/JPY for the others. The average for EUR/JPY was 114.8 and for USD/JPY 106.2.

To download the full report, click below:
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey Report - Fall 2016 (PDF 3.0 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 (22 kb)
Comments to Strategies in Japan (17 kb)
Comments on Aging Society issues (21 kb)
Comments on Exchange Rates (18 kb)
General Comments (18 kb)

The next survey will be conducted in April 2017. The results from that survey will be published early May 2017.

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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