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 29th, survey was conducted between April 120 and 22, 2016, and received 303 valid responses (an increase of 26% from the previous survey) from members of 17 foreign chambers of commerce and business organizations.

Participating organizations included the ACCJ (American Chamber), ABC (Austrian Business Council), ANZCCJ (Australia-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) and SCCJ (Swedish Chamber).

The views on the Japanese economy are mixed and the expected growth is lower than in the previous survey in October 2015. The reported and expected sales and profitability estimates remain positive and almost on similar levels to those in the October survey.

The respondents still expects the Japanese economy to grow, albeit barely - the index, on a scale from +2 (strong improvement) to -2 (strong decline) - for the next six months was now +0.02, compared to +0.31 in October. Looking 12 months ahead, the respondents see a similar decline in growth, the index was now +0.18, compared to +0.47 in the previous survey.

The reported performance of the companies continued to improve but on a slightly lower level than in the October survey. The index for reported sales performance in the past six months was same +0.57 compared to +0.71 in the previous survey. The profitability growth was now almost same, +0.61 as in October (+0.60).

In the sales forecast for the coming six months the respondents were less optimistic than in October, the index was now +0.73 (previous survey +0.94). The forecast for profitability growth is also expected to slow, now +0.71 compared to +0.80 in October.

The relative 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% (75% in the October survey) are looking for further growth and 19% (21% in October) are expecting to sustain their current level. Only 3% is planning to downsize and only one of the respondents are considering withdrawing from Japan.

This time the survey included two alternating questions. The first was regarding the Daycare issues, where 29% responded that it was a constant topic, 38 % discussed from time to time and 33 % that the issue was not discussed or the respondents did not have any opinion.

The second alternating question was on the salary increases for locally hired staff this year. The average among all responding companies was 2.1 %, very much in line with the 2.19 % growth in monthly salaries agreed by labor and management at 62 major Japanese companies in this year's shunto talks.

To download the full report, click below:
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey Report - Spring 2016 (PDF 4.6 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 (63 kb)
Comments to Reasons for Changes in Business Performance (70 kb)
Comments to Strategies in Japan (67 kb)
Comments on Daycare issues (69 kb)
General Comments (65 kb)

The next survey will be conducted in October 2016. The results from that survey will be published early November 2016.

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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