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 23nd, survey was conducted between April 10 and 19, 2013, and received 293 valid responses from members of 18 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), ISCCJ (Icelandic), IJCC (Irish), ICCJ (Italian), NCCJ (Dutch), NoCCCJ (Norwegian), SACCJ (South African), SCCJ (Swedish) and SCCIJ (Swiss).

As expected, the views on the Japanese economy showed a significant improvement from the previous survey (in October 2012). The economy for the next 6 months is expected to grow significantly - the index (on a scale from +2 to -2) was now +1.00 (compared to -0.01 in October), and looking 12 months ahead, the companies see still a slightly higher growth rate, index was +1.06, much higher than the +0.19 in the previous survey. Only once since the survey was started in 2002 the index has been higher, in October 2005 (+1.12).

The positive views on the economy did however not fully reflect in the reported and projected performance of the companies, most likely due to the weakening of the yen. The reported sales performance in the past six months still developed positively but at a lower rate than in the October survey, the index was now +0.43 compared to +0.50 the previous survey. Similarly, the profitability growth also slightly slowed, now +0.36 now compared to +0.48 in October.

As for the sales forecast for the coming six months, the respondents were more optimistic than in October, the index was now +0.71 (previous survey +0.57). The forecast for profitability growth dropped slightly, from +0.53 to +0.47. The strategies of the foreign-affiliated companies in Japan continue to be bullish. 71% (74% in the October survey) are looking for further growth and 26% are expecting to sustain their current level. 2% are planning to downsize, but only 1% are considering withdrawing from Japan (three companies out of the surveyed 293).

This time the survey included two alternating questions, the first regarding “Abenomics”, the second related to the Free-Trade agreements.

The respondents had rather conflicting views on PM Abe’s policies – although 9% expected a strong and 41% some re-vitalizing effect, 31% had the opinion that there will only be a short term effect and 13% thought that it will hurt Japanese economy in the long term.

The European Chamber members were asked about the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement and the views were rather positive, 58% thought that it would be good both for Japan and their business. 19% had the view that it would be good for Japan but not for their business, 2% that it would be good for their business but not for Japan. Only 1% thought it would be good for neither.

As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (for all non-European chambers) the opinions were much less positive. Only 7% expects it to be good for Japan and their business. 42% had the view that it would be good for Japan but not for their business, 28% that it would be good for their business but not for Japan. 12% thought it would be good for neither.

To download the full report, click below:
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey Report - Spring 2013 (PDF -2.5 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 (24 kb)
Other Reasons for Changes in Business Performance (11 kb)
Comments to Strategies in Japan (18 kb)
Comments to Abenomics (18 kb)
Comments to Free Trade Agreements (18 kb)
General Comments (14 kb)

The next survey will be conducted in October 2013. The results from that survey will be published late October 2013.

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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