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Planned Revisions of the Tankan

December 27, 2016
Research and Statistics Department
Bank of Japan

Overview

The Tankan (Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan) is a nationwide business survey conducted by the Bank of Japan, with the aim of providing an accurate picture of business trends of enterprises in Japan, thereby contributing to the appropriate implementation of monetary policy. The Tankan asks various questions, such as those regarding business conditions, financial statements, and inflation. It is carried out on a quarterly basis and provides survey results in a timely manner. Moreover, the Tankan has a long history since its predecessor, the Principal Enterprises Tankan, started in 1957, and maintains its extremely high response rate. On the back of these strengths, the Tankan is one of the important information sources for the Bank's assessment on economic conditions; it also provides benefits for a wide range of users.

Our basic policy for conducting the Tankan survey is to improve the convenience of users as well as to reduce the burden on survey respondents to the greatest extent possible. On this basis, while the Bank has added survey items necessary to grasp actual economic conditions accurately in response to structural economic and financial changes, it has abolished items that draw relatively little attention from users and overlap with those of other statistics.

Based on our survey policy stated above, this time we intend to implement the following five revisions: (1) an addition of research and development (hereafter R&D) investment to survey items; (2) an enhancement of the survey on exchange rates; (3) an introduction of a new survey category regarding overseas business activities; (4) an abolition of some survey items -- operating profits and half-year figures of investment-related items; and (5) a more efficient sample design and a decrease in the number of sample enterprises.

In June 2016, the Bank proposed its revision draft of the Tankan and launched a public consultation to gather public views. We are deeply grateful for the 35 invaluable contributions received from a wide range of business groups, economists, and academics.

Reflecting these contributions, the Bank will proceed with the implementation of the revisions presented in this paper. R&D investment will be added from the March 2017 survey, and the other revisions are to be implemented until around 2020. Once decided, we will announce a more detailed schedule and a new release format.

Going forward, the Bank will continue its efforts to further improve the Tankan, considering a balance between an improvement in the convenience of users and a reduction in the burden on respondents.

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