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 28th, survey was conducted between October 20 and 30, 2015, and received 240 valid responses from members of 13 foreign chambers of commerce and business organizations.

Participating organizations included the ACCJ (American Chamber), ABC (Austrian Business Council), BCCJ (British), BLCCJ (Belgian-Luxembourg), DCCJ (Danish), FCCJ (Finnish), CCIFJ (French), DIHKJ (German), IJCC (Irish), NCCJ (Dutch), NoCCCJ (Norwegian), SACCJ (South African) and SCCJ (Swedish Chamber).

Although this survey shows that the sentiments regarding the Japanese economy are less positive than in the Spring 2015 survey, both the reported and forecasted performance figures for the companies were more positive than in the previous survey.

The respondents though still expects the Japanese economy to grow, albeit at a slower rate - the index, on a scale from +2 (strong improvement) to -2 (strong decline) - for the next six months was now +0.31, compared to +0.69 in April. Looking 12 months ahead, the respondents see a similar decline in growth, the index was now +0.47, compared to +0.74 in the previous survey.

The reported performance of the companies continued to improve and on a somewhat higher level than in the April survey. The index for reported sales performance in the past six months was same (+0.71) as in the previous survey. The profitability growth increased, now +0.60 now compared to +0.50 in April. In the sales forecast for the coming six months the respondents were slightly more optimistic than in April, the index was now +0.94 (previous survey +0.89). The forecast for profitability also grew stronger than in the April survey, from +0.67 to +0.80.

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. 75% (78% in the April survey) are looking for further growth and 21% (18% in April) 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 "Future of Abenomics", where 59% had the opinion that it will revitalize the economy strongly or somewhat, 15% thinks it will damage the economy in the long term and 26% responded that it will not have any significant effect. A similar question was asked in the Spring 2013 survey when the opinions were very similar.

The second alternating question was on the views the free trade agreements, the EU-Japan FTA for the European chamber members, TPP for the other. The results for both were astonishingly similar with 51% and 52% thought the agreements were good both for Japan and their business, 18% in both cases responded good for Japan but not for their business while 7% and 5% gave good for their business but not for Japan. The same questions were asked 2.5 years ago, then the sentiments for the EU-Japan FTA were very similar but regarding the TPP there has been a dramatic change, in spring 2013 only 7% though it would be good for both Japan and their business, now 51%,

To download the full report, click below:
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey Report - Fall 2015 (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 (61 kb)
Comments to Reasons for Changes in Business Performance (144 kb)
Comments to Strategies in Japan (85 kb)
Comments on Abenomics (92 kb)
Comments on Free Trade Agreements (65 kb)

The next survey will be conducted in April 2016. The results from that survey will be published early May 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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