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Explanation of the Tankan (Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan)

March 2018
Bank of Japan
Research and Statistics Department

Site Map of the Tankan

Table : Site Map of the Tankan
Name Content Site Release Timing
Result of Each Survey
  Tankan Summary Main figures of the survey results Statistics
(PDF, MS-Excel files)
(Japanese/English)
8:50 a.m. on the release day
Tankan Outline Main figures of 'Tankan Summary' Statistics
(Japanese/English)
8:50 a.m. on the release day
Tankan Figures by Industry Main figures by industries Statistics
(MS-Excel files)
(Japanese & English)
8:50 a.m. on the following day of release
Tankan Summary of "Inflation Outlook of Enterprises" Main figures of "Inflation Outlook of Enterprises" Statistics
(PDF, MS-Excel files)
(Japanese/English)
8:50 a.m. on the following day of release
Tankan: The Comprehensive Data Set Detailed release data Statistics
(MS-Excel files)
(Japanese & English)
8:50 a.m. on the following day of release
Long-Term Time Series Data Detailed long-term time series data BOJ Time-Series Data Search
(Japanese/English)
8:50 a.m. on the following day of release
Framework
  Sample Form Sample form of the Tankan Statistics
(Japanese/English)
--

Index

Explanation of the Tankan (Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan)

1. Purpose of Survey

The Tankan is a statistical survey conducted by the Bank of Japan in accordance with the Statistics Law (Law No. 53 of 2007), with the aim of providing an accurate picture of business trends of enterprises in Japan, thereby contributing to the appropriate implementation of monetary policy.

2. Survey Method

The Bank provides survey forms to sample enterprises by mail or online. The Bank is obliged to keep confidential information obtained from respondents under strict security in accordance with the Statistics Law.

3. Frequency of Survey

The survey is conducted quarterly, in March, June, September, and December. Survey results are released at the beginning of April, July, October, and mid-December in principle (released at 8:50 a.m. Japan Standard Time). Release dates for the next one year are announced in advance around the end of June and December.

4. Coverage

(1) Tankan

The target population of the Tankan is private enterprises (excluding financial institutions) in Japan with a capital of 20 million yen or more. The survey population consists of approximately 220,000 such private enterprises, based on the 2014 Economic Census for Business Frame, conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in July 2014.

Sample enterprises are selected from the survey population based on industry and size classifications to satisfy established criteria such as of statistical accuracy, as shown below.

  1. (a) Standard error ratios of total sales are within the target range (3 percent for manufacturing and 5 percent for nonmanufacturing).
  2. (b) The frequency distributions of capital size and sales properly reflect the survey population distributions.

Sample enterprises are revised in line with updates of the survey population base. Most recently, they were revised in March 2018 (the number of sample enterprises was 10,020 as of the March 2018 survey).

Reference: Number of sample enterprises as of the March 2018 survey.

Table : Reference: Number of sample enterprises as of the March 2018 survey.
  Number of
Survey Population
Number of
Sample Enterprises
Manufacturing 46,832 4,110
Nonmanufacturing 171,961 5,910
All Industries 218,793 10,020

While, in principle, sample enterprises are fixed until the next revision, the Bank examines statistical accuracy once a year and adds new sample enterprises if necessary, to prevent a decrease in the number of sample enterprises -- due to bankruptcies, mergers, and other factors -- from causing a significant decline in the statistical accuracy.

Industry classification:

Manufacturing is divided into 17 categories and nonmanufacturing into 14 categories, based on the Japan Standard Industrial Classification released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

Manufacturing Basic materials Textiles
Lumber & Wood products
Pulp & Paper
Chemicals
Petroleum & Coal products
Ceramics, Stone & Clay
Iron & Steel
Nonferrous metals
Processing Food & Beverages
Processed metals
General-purpose,
Production & Business
oriented machinery
General-purpose
machinery
Production machinery
Business oriented
machinery
Electrical machinery
Transportation machinery Shipbuilding, Heavy
machinery & Other
transportation machinery
Motor vehicles
Other manufacturing
Nonmanufacturing Construction
Real estate, Goods rental & Leasing Real estate
Goods rental & Leasing
Wholesaling & Retailing Wholesaling
Retailing
Transport & Postal activities
Information communication Communications
Information services
Other information
communication
Electric & Gas utilities
Services for businesses
Services for individuals
Accommodations, Eating & Drinking services
Mining & Quarrying of stone and gravel

To see the correspondence between the classification of the Tankan survey and the Japan Standard Industrial Classification, refer to the following table.

The Industry Classification of the Tankan survey and the Japan Standard Industrial Classification
Tankan Japan Standard Industrial Classification(code)
Manufacturing Textiles Manufacture of textile products (11)
Lumber & Wood products Manufacture of lumber and wood products, except furniture (12), Manufacture of furniture and fixtures (13)
Pulp & Paper Manufacture of pulp, paper and paper products (14)
Chemicals Manufacture of chemical and allied products (16)
Petroleum & Coal products Manufacture of petroleum and coal products (17)
Ceramics, Stone & Clay Manufacture of ceramic, stone and clay products (21)
Iron & Steel Manufacture of iron and steel (22)
Nonferrous metals Manufacture of non-ferrous metals and products (23)
Food & Beverages Manufacture of food (09), Manufacture of beverages, tobacco and feed (10)
Processed metals Manufacture of fabricated metal products (24)
General-purpose machinery Manufacture of general-purpose machinery (25)
Production machinery Manufacture of production machinery (26)
Business oriented machinery Manufacture of business oriented machinery (27)
Electrical machinery Electronic parts, devices and electronic circuits (28), Manufacture of electrical machinery, equipment and supplies (29), Manufacture of information and communication electronics equipment (30)
Shipbuilding, Heavy machinery & Other transportation machinery Manufacture of transportation equipment (31) (except Motor vehicles, parts and accessories (311))
Motor vehicles Motor vehicles, parts and accessories (311)
Other manufacturing Printing and allied industries (15), Manufacture of plastic products (18), Manufacture of rubber products (19), Manufacture of leather tanning, leather products and fur skins (20), Miscellaneous manufacturing industries (32)
Nonmanufacturing Construction Construction work, general including public and private construction work (06), Construction work by specialist contractor, except equipment installation work (07), Equipment installation work (08)
Real estate Real estate agencies (68), Real estate lessors and managers (69)
Goods rental & Leasing Goods rental and leasing (70)
Wholesaling Wholesale trade, general merchandise (50), Wholesale trade (textile and apparel) (51), Wholesale trade (food and beverages) (52), Wholesale trade (building materials, minerals and metals, etc) (53), Wholesale trade (machinery and equipment) (54), Miscellaneous wholesale trade (55)
Retailing Retail trade, general merchandise (56), Retail trade (woven fabrics, apparel, apparel accessories and notions) (57), Retail trade (food and beverage) (58), Retail trade (machinery and equipment) (59), Miscellaneous retail trade (60), Nonstore retailers (61)
Transport & Postal activities Railway transport (42), Road passenger transport (43), Road freight transport (44), Water transport (45), Air transport (46), Warehousing (47), Services incidental to transport (48), Postal services, including mail delivery (49), Postal services (86)
Communications Communications (37)
Information services Information services (39)
Other information communication Broadcasting (38), Services incidental to Internet (40), Video picture information, sound information, character information production and distribution (41)
Electric & Gas utilities Production, transmission and distribution of electricity (33), Production and distribution of gas (34), Heat supply (35)
Services for businesses Design services (726), Advertising (73), Technical services, n.e.c.(74) (except Veterinary services (741)), Industrial waste disposal business (882), Automobile maintenance services (89), Machine, etc. repair services (90), Employment and worker dispatching services (91), Miscellaneous business services (92)
Services for individuals Laundry, beauty and bath services (78), Miscellaneous living-related and personal services (79), Services for amusement and recreation (80), Specialized training colleges and miscellaneous schools (817), Supplementary tutorial schools (823), Instruction services for arts, culture and technicals (824), Welfare services for the aged and care services (854), Miscellaneous social insurance, social welfare and care services (859)
Accommodations, Eating & Drinking services Accommodations (75), Eating and drinking places (76), Food take out and delivery services (77)
Mining & Quarrying of stone and gravel Mining and quarrying of stone and gravel (05)

Note: Each industry is explained based on the middle and small classifications of the Japan Standard Industrial Classification revised in October 2013.

Industries excluded from the Tankan survey -
Agriculture and forestry (A), Fisheries (B), Collection, purification and distribution of water, and sewage collection, processing and disposal (36), Finance and insurance (J), Scientific and development research institutes (71), Professional services, n.e.c. (72) (except Design services (726)), Veterinary services (741), Education, learning support (O) (except Specialized training colleges and miscellaneous schools (817), Supplementary tutorial schools (823), Instruction services for arts, culture and technicals (824)), Medical, health care and welfare (P) (except Welfare services for the aged and care services (854), Miscellaneous social insurance, social welfare and care services (859)), Cooperative associations, n.e.c. (87), Waste disposal business (88) (except Industrial waste disposal business (882)), Political, business and cultural organizations (93), Religion (94), Miscellaneous services (95), Foreign governments and international agencies in Japan (96), Government, except elsewhere classified (S), Industries unable to classify (T).

Size classification:

Based on capital size, enterprises are categorized into large enterprises (with a capital of 1 billion yen or more), medium-sized enterprises (100 million yen to less than 1 billion yen), and small enterprises (20 million yen to less than 100 million yen). Aggregated values are released by industry and size classifications (total of 93 strata: 31 industries times three capital sizes). The Bank further subdivides enterprises into 389 strata based on capital size and sales, for the selection of sample enterprises and to calculate estimates of population total.

Since the March 2004 survey, capital size has been used for categorizing enterprises into large, medium-sized, and small ones, instead of the number of employees, as used previously.

Since the March 2018 survey, the strata for selecting sample enterprises and calculating estimates of population total are divided based on sales, instead of number of employees, as used previously.

(2) Financial Institutions

Financial institutions are also surveyed to supplement the Tankan.

The survey of financial institutions expanded its coverage and survey items in the March 2004 survey, and has been conducted to supplement the Tankan.

The target population is private financial institutions in Japan with 10 or more employees. The survey population consists of approximately 2,900 such institutions, based on the 2014 Economic Census for Business Frame, conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in July 2014.

The survey population comprises the following seven sectors based on the Japan Standard Industrial Classification released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications: (1) city banks and trust banks; (2) member banks of the Regional Banks Association of Japan and the Second Association of Regional Banks; (3) shinkin banks, etc.; (4) other financial institutions for small businesses; (5) financial products transaction dealers; (6) insurance companies; and (7) non-deposit money corporations. To see the correspondence between these classifications of the Tankan survey on financial institutions and the Japan Standard Industrial Classification, refer to the following table.

The Industry Classification of the Tankan survey and the Japan Standard Industrial Classification (Financial institutions)
Tankan Japan Standard Industrial Classification (code)
City banks and trust banks Banking (62) (except Central bank (621))
Member banks of the Regional Banks Association of Japan and the Second Association of Regional Banks
Shinkin banks, etc. Financial institutions for cooperative organizations (63)
Other financial institutions for small businesses
Financial products transaction dealers Financial products transaction dealers and futures commodity transaction dealers (65)
Insurance companies Insurance institutions, including insurance agents, brokers and services (67)
Non-deposit money corporations Non-deposit money corporations, including lending and credit card business (64)

Note: Each industry is explained based on the middle and small classifications of the Japan Standard Industrial Classification revised in October 2013.

Sample enterprises are selected from the survey population based on classifications of the sector and number of employees (23 strata), to satisfy established criteria such as of statistical accuracy, as shown below:

  1. (a) The standard error ratio of total fixed investment, including that of software but excluding land purchasing expenses, is within the target range (10 percent for all financial institutions).
  2. (b) The frequency distribution of number of employees reflects the survey population distribution.

Sample enterprises are revised at the same time that those of the Tankan are revised (the number of sample enterprises was 210 as of the March 2018 survey).

As in the case of the Tankan, while in principle, sample enterprises are fixed until the next revision, the Bank examines the statistical accuracy once a year and adds new sample enterprises if necessary.

5. Survey Items

Survey items consist of the following four categories: (1) "Judgment Survey," (2) "Annual Projections," (3) "Inflation Outlook of Enterprises," and (4) "Number of New Graduates Hired" (surveyed only in June and December), all of which are surveyed on a non-consolidated basis.

(1) Judgment Survey

For the following 10 items, enterprises are asked to choose the most appropriate answer among three alternatives, each of which describes their conditions -- excluding seasonal factors -- both at the time of the survey and three months later. Alternatives for each item are shown in brackets.

  • Business Conditions:
    Judgment of general business conditions of responding enterprises, primarily in light of their profits.
    [1) Favorable. 2) Not so favorable. 3) Unfavorable.]
  • Domestic Supply and Demand Conditions for Products and Services:
    Judgment of domestic supply and demand conditions for major products or services in the industry of responding enterprises, taking into account customer trend, order arrival, and movements of goods if necessary. Answers including the judgment of overseas conditions are also acceptable when it is difficult to exclude it.
    [1) Excess demand. 2) Almost balanced. 3) Excess supply.]
  • Overseas Supply and Demand Conditions for Products:
    Judgment of overseas supply and demand conditions for major products in the industry of responding enterprises.
    [1) Excess demand. 2) Almost balanced. 3) Excess supply.]
  • Inventory Level of Finished Goods and Merchandise:
    Judgment of inventory levels of finished goods and merchandise compared with sales of responding enterprises (only for at the time of the survey).
    [1) Excessive or somewhat excessive. 2) Adequate. 3) Insufficient or somewhat insufficient.]
  • Wholesalers' Inventory Level:
    Judgment of domestic and foreign wholesalers' inventory levels of major finished goods and merchandise in the industry of responding enterprises (only for at the time of the survey).
    [1) Excessive or somewhat excessive. 2) Adequate. 3) Insufficient or somewhat insufficient.]
  • Production Capacity:
    Judgment of production capacity or business equipment of responding enterprises, excluding temporary factors such as regular maintenance of plant equipment.
    [1) Excessive capacity. 2) Adequate. 3) Insufficient capacity.]
  • Employment Conditions:
    Judgment of the number of employees of responding enterprises.
    [1) Excessive employment. 2) Adequate. 3) Insufficient employment.]
  • Financial Position:
    Judgment of general cash position of responding enterprises, taking into account levels of cash and cash equivalent, lending attitude of financial institutions, and payment and repayment terms (only for at the time of the survey).
    [1) Easy. 2) Not so tight. 3) Tight.]
  • Lending Attitude of Financial Institutions:
    Judgment of financial institutions' attitude toward lending as perceived by responding enterprises (only for at the time of the survey).
    [1) Accommodative. 2) Not so severe. 3) Severe.]
  • Conditions for CP Issuance:
    Judgment of overall issuance conditions for commercial paper (only for at the time of the survey).
    [1) Easy. 2) Not so severe. 3) Severe.]
    Responding enterprises for this item are limited to large enterprises with a capital of 1 billion yen or more that either issued CP in the past two years or are currently considering CP issuance. The "past two years" above means "since the end of March two years earlier" for the March survey, "since the end of June two years earlier" for the June survey, "since the end of September two years earlier" for the September survey, and "since the end of December two years earlier" for the December survey.

For the following three items, enterprises are asked to choose the most appropriate answer among three alternatives, each of which describes their changes -- excluding seasonal factors -- from three months earlier to the present and those from the present to three months later.

  • Change in Interest Rate on Loans:
    Judgment of changes in interest rates on borrowings of responding enterprises.
    [1) Rise. 2) Unchanged. 3) Fall.]
  • Change in Output Prices:
    Judgment of changes in yen-based selling prices of major products or services provided by responding enterprises.
    [1) Rise. 2) Unchanged. 3) Fall.]
  • Change in Input Prices:
    Judgment of changes in yen-based purchase prices of main raw materials (including processing fees for subcontractors) and/or main merchandise paid by responding enterprises.
    [1) Rise. 2) Unchanged. 3) Fall.]

(2) Annual Projections

For the following 10 items, enterprises are asked to provide semiannual results and forecasts (in millions of yen or the U.S. dollar-yen rate for exchange rates for exports).

  • Sales:
    Total of items listed as operating revenue on the income statement, such as "Sales," "Business Income," and "Amount of Work Completed."
  • Exports:
    Including both direct exports and exports via trading companies (except for the wholesaling industry), but excluding tripartite trade such as exports from a foreign country to another foreign country.
  • Exchange Rates for Exports:
    Average exchange rates for actual results of exports and expected rates on which forecasts of exports are based.
  • Operating Profits:
    Operating profits listed on the income statement.
  • Current Profits:
    Current profits listed on the income statement.
  • Net Income:
    Net income after tax deduction listed on the income statement.
  • Fixed Investment:
    Amounts of newly listed tangible fixed assets (including new land purchasing expenses and lease assets). Excluding transfers from other accounts to tangible fixed assets and an increase in tangible fixed assets due to mergers and transfers of operations.
  • Land Purchasing Expenses:
    Amounts of new land purchasing expenses (including land developing and preparing) included in "Fixed Investment." Excluding real estate for sale or sale in lots.
  • Software Investment:
    Amounts of newly listed intangible fixed assets (including lease assets) included in software investment. Excluding software recorded as expenses at the time of purchase.
  • R&D Investment:
    R&D expenses listed on the income statement. Total of R&D expenses included in general and administrative expenses as well as in manufacturing expenses for the period.

(3) Inflation Outlook of Enterprises

For the following two items, enterprises are asked to select price developments closest to their expectations for 1 year ahead, 3 years ahead, and 5 years ahead, among multiple alternatives. They are asked to answer excluding the effects of institutional changes such as changes in the consumption tax rate.

  • Outlook for Output Prices:
    Expectations of rates of change in selling prices of main domestic products or services of responding enterprises, relative to the current level. Without specific expectations, they are asked to choose "Don't know."
    When responding enterprises have difficulty in narrowing down to a single product or service, they are asked to answer expectations of weighted averages of prices of multiple products and services, or those of overall selling prices.
    When responding enterprises have difficulty in narrowing down to their domestic prices of main products or services, they are asked to answer expectations of prices including overseas ones, excluding the effects of, for example, exchange rates to the greatest extent possible.
  • Outlook for General Prices:
    Expectations of year-on-year rates of change in general prices as measured by the consumer price index. Without specific expectations, responding enterprises are asked to select the reason.

(4) Number of New Graduates Hired (surveyed only in June and December)

For the following item, enterprises are asked to provide annual results and forecasts.

  • Number of New Graduates Hired:
    The number of new graduates -- employees that responding enterprises consider as new graduates -- hired during the past fiscal year, and the number planned to be hired during the current and next fiscal year.

Financial institutions are surveyed only for the following items:

  1. (a) "Business Conditions," "Production Capacity," and "Employment Conditions" among the items of "Judgment Survey."
  2. (b) "Fixed Investment," "Land Purchasing Expenses," "Software Investment," and "R&D Investment" among the items of "Annual Projections."
  3. (c) "Number of New Graduates Hired."

6. Calculation Methods

(1) Judgment Survey

Answers are aggregated into the diffusion index (DI) as follows:

DI (percentage points)
= Percentage share of enterprises selecting Choice One - Percentage share of enterprises selecting Choice Three

For example, the "Business Conditions DI" is calculated by subtracting the percentage share of enterprises responding "(3) Unfavorable" from that of enterprises responding "(1) Favorable."

(2) Quantitative Data (Annual Projections and Number of New Graduates Hired)

Estimates of population total are calculated by strata, as shown below. Their year-on-year rates of change and revision rates are also calculated.

Estimates of population total
= simply aggregated amount / number of responding enterprises * number of survey population enterprises

(3) Inflation Outlook of Enterprises

Percentage shares of the number of respondents choosing each alternative are calculated.

"The Average of Enterprises' Inflation Outlook," released as reference data, is the weighted average of answered rates of price change by these response shares excluding answers of "Don't know" and "Don't have clear views on General Prices." Answered rates of price change are based on the following assumption: for example, "around +15%" and "around +6% or higher" indicate +15% and +6%, respectively.

The missing value imputation and the treatment of outliers -- both of which are statistical methods as described below -- are applied to quantitative data.

  1. (a) Missing Value Imputation
    When enterprises do not answer figures for annual projections of quantitative data, the Bank individually substitutes their most recent answered figures for aggregation.
  2. (b) Treatment of Outliers
    With respect to "Sales," "Current Profits," "Net Income," "Fixed Investment," and "Software Investment," when values reported from enterprises are regarded as outliers, they are treated as missing values. For details, see "Treatment of Outliers" [PDF 84KB] in Appendix.

7. Release Method

For the judgment survey, the quantitative data, and the survey on "Inflation Outlook of Enterprises," aggregated results are released by industry and size classifications, including (1) DI, (2) year-on-year rates of change, revision rates, and actual estimates of population total, and (3) percentage shares of the number of respondents choosing each alternative.

Aggregated results of financial institutions are released based on the following five classifications:

  1. (a) Banks = city banks and trust banks + member banks of the Regional Banks Association of Japan and the Second Association of Regional Banks
  2. (b) Financial institutions for cooperative organizations = shinkin banks, etc. + other financial institutions for small businesses
  3. (c) Financial products transaction dealers
  4. (d) Insurance companies
  5. (e) Non-deposit money corporations

When released data need a correction, corrected data, in principle, will be compiled and released as swiftly as possible. However, data would not be corrected in some cases, for example, where responding enterprises revise their figures after our release.

8. Others

In addition to the Tankan (released by the Research and Statistics Department at the Head Office), the Bank's branches also compile and release the Local Branch Tankan, which covers enterprises within each region. Released materials are available on the websites of branches (available only in Japanese).

There are two main differences between the Tankan and the Local Branch Tankan:

  1. (a) With a view to reflecting industrial structure of each region to the extent possible, the Local Branch Tankan include enterprises that the Tankan does not cover, such as local offices of large enterprises.
  2. (b) For aggregation, while estimates of population total are calculated for the quantitative data of the Tankan, simply aggregated figures are calculated for those of the Local Branch Tankan.

There are discontinuities in the data at the following points of time, caused by (1) the March 2004 revision, (2) changes in the treatment of fixed investment and software investment from the September 2010 survey, and (3) the March 2014 revision (see "Revision of TANKAN in the March 2004 Survey -- Comparison between the pre- and post-revision in the December 2003 Survey" issued in March 2004, "Notice for the Tankan" issued in July 2010, and "Planned Revisions of the Tankan Survey -- Review of survey items, including the introduction of a survey on Inflation Outlook of Firms" issued in March 2013).

(1) March 2004 Revision

  • Judgment Survey: before and since March 2004
  • Annual Projections: before and since fiscal year 2003
  • Quarterly Data: before and since December 2003

(2) Changes of the Treatment of Fixed Investment and Software Investment

  • Annual Projections: before and since the September 2010 survey

(3) March 2014 Revision

  • Conditions for CP Issuance: before and since March 2014