Summary of the Report on Revision of Japan's Economic Statistics System

Japan Federation of Economic Organizations
(Subcommittee on Economic Analysis of the Committee on Economic Research)

January 16, 1996

  1. Key Issues to Address in Revision of the Statistics System
    1. The first issue that must be addressed is the slowness with which the government's survey result are published. This delay in publication hampers corporate management decisions, prevents the government from making timely judgments about the nation's economic situation and from taking appropriate policy management actions. Particularly in regard to key economic indicators like the GDP, it is critical that publication be expedited while accuracy is maintained.

    2. It has been noted that some of Japan's statistics do not appropriately reflect the major changes taking place in the economy and therefore do not accurately reflect the actual state of the economy (the CPI, for instance). We must institute an ongoing review of the statistics system in order to ensure that data is made public that accurately reflects the real changes in our economy and society.

    3. We must also employ all advances in state of the art information technology in an effort to improve the usefulness of these statistics so that the public will have access to this data in a "user-friendly" form.

  2. Specific Actions for Improvement
    1. Speed-up the Release of the Preliminary figures of GDP Statistics
      1. Release the preliminary figures of GDP faster by streamlining the data entry methods used to gather survey forms used in estimation of the GDP, such as the Management and Coordination Agency's Family Income and Expenditure Survey and the Finance Ministry's Financial Statements of Incorporated Businesses.
        Regarding estimation of the Public Investment, the Construction Ministry's Public Construction Started should be replaced with a new statistics such as Orders Placed for Public Works.

      2. If the above item proves difficult to accomplish, a revision in the statistics used for calculating the index should be considered. For example, the Management and Coordination Agency's Family Income and Expenditure Survey could be replaced with MITI's Reports of Sales on Large Scale Retail Stores.

    2. Reform of the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
      1. Shorten the cycle for reviewing the proportion of the weight of registered items so they realistically reflect the nation's actual consumption trends.

      2. Comprehensively review the stores selected for price surveys by accurately assessing the changes in consumer consumption through thorough market research.

    3. Measures to Improve the Relevance of the Statistics
      1. Publish important statistical data via the most advanced structures of the new information technology, such as the Internet.

      2. Enhance the usefulness of statistical information by providing sample data set, as is done in the US.

      3. Publicize the schedule for release of statistics to enable those who use this information to do so in a systematic and efficient way.

  3. The Need for a Comprehensive Review of the Statistics System
    1. Institute a comprehensive review in order to maintain a statistical system that is responsive to the structural changes taking place in the Japanese economy. In undertaking such a review, it is essential to adopt a system which provides statistics that are better suited to use in international comparison. As well, the system must be adaptable to the collection of questionnaires using on-line technology. It will simplify the reporting burden on those who supply data and by sharing collected data among government offices, it will drastically reduce the number of statistics conducted.

    2. The integrated control of government statistics must be instituted as a variety of surveys is conducted by many government agencies. Furthermore, in an effort to improve the transparency of its activities, the government should increase its efforts to make its own economic data (e.g. information of government intervention on the foreign exchange market) available to the public.

Home Page in English