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 22nd, survey was conducted between October 16 and 26, 2012, and received 329 valid responses 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), DIHKJ (German), FCCJ (Finnish), CCIFJ (French), IJCC (Irish), ICCJ (Italian), NCCJ (Dutch), NoCCCJ (Norwegian), SACCJ (South African), SCCJ (Swedish) and SCCIJ (Swiss).

This survey shows that all indexes, from views on the Japanese economy to the performance of the companies, as well as their forecasts for the future, declined about 15-25% from the Spring 2012 survey conducted in April. But apart from the views on the Japanese economy in the short term, all indices were still positive. The Japanese economy for the next 6 months is expected remain flat - the index (on a scale from +2 to -2) was now -0.01 (compared to +0.47 in April), and looking 12 months ahead, the companies see a slight turn for the better, index was +0.19, although still much lower than the +0.67 in the previous survey.

The concerns regarding the economy and lower reported and forecasted growth in the companies performance, could now, based on the comments the respondents made, be to a fairly large extent attributed to external factors, such as the European debt crises, the troubled Japan-China relations and uncertainties regarding the US economy.

The reported sales performance in the past six months still developed positively but at a lower rate than in the April survey, the index was now +0.50 compared to +0.63 the previous survey. Similarly, the profitability growth also slightly slowed, now +0.43 now compared to +0.53 in April.

As for the sales forecast for the coming six months, the respondents were less optimistic than in April, the index was now +0.57 (previous survey +0.81). The forecast for profitability growth dropped slightly less, from +0.68 to +0.53.

The problems and uncertainties caused by the 3.11 disaster are now to a large extent behind and now 3.11. is more seen as an opportunity than a threat, even though the opportunities are in a more longer term than earlier expected. Only 7% of the respondents saw 3.11. as being the most important factor in the changes in their business.

The strategies of the foreign-affiliated companies in Japan continue to be rather bullish. 74% (73% in the April survey) are looking for further growth and 20% are expecting to sustain their current level. 4% are planning to downsize, but only 2% are considering withdrawing from Japan (five companies out of the surveyed 326, all North American affiliates).

This time the survey included two alternating questions, predictions on the Nikkei index and currency rates (JPY/EUR for the European companies, JPY/USD for others) in six months time.

To download the full report, click below:
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey Report - Fall 2012 (1.6 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:
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)
General Comments (14 kb)

The next survey will be conducted in April 2013. The results from that survey will be published late April 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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    © 2002-2012 Foreign Chambers in Japan & FCCJ.