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Dissemination of External Debt Statistics*

  • This paper was publicly released on August 8, 2003 (prior to dissemination of the statistics) in Japanese. In translating into English, some expressions were modified.

October 21, 2003
Bank of Japan
International Department

Click on ntbop04.pdf (67KB) to download the full text.


The Bank of Japan and the Ministry of Finance released a new data series, external debt statistics, starting in September 2003. Japan already compiles data related to its balance of payments (BOP) based on the Balance of Payments Manual (Fifth Edition) issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The public release of this data is also governed by an international standard set by the IMF, known as the special data dissemination standard (SDDS).1 The compilation and the release of the external debt statistics was decided based on the fact that the SDDS was recently broadened to cover the compilation and release of such statistics. The external debt statistics will be the third series data related to BOP, after the BOP statistics (flow statistics) and the international investment position (IIP, balance statistics).

The external debt statistics is issued quarterly, showing the current state of one country's liabilities with respect to other countries, with a breakdown by sector. Data are also broken down by maturity (short or long term) on an original maturity basis and by instrument. Compared with the annual IIP (liability side), the new series (1) is released more frequently and thus more timely, and (2) provides information that is not included in the IIP concerning the liquidity and solvency of external debts. While such information is especially important with regard to net debtor countries, even for a net creditor country such as Japan the data will help observers maintain a steady grasp of the state of the external debt situation, and will prove their value in increasing the ability to check factors that might be vulnerable to external shocks. In the sections below, we explain the outline of the statistics and the methods by which we compile them, to enhance the understanding of users.

  1. The SDDS is a set of guidelines established by the IMF for member countries having or seeking access to international capital markets, regarding the kinds of financial and economic data that are commonly expected to be released, and how such statistics should be compiled and publicly released. The SDDS (which took effect in April 1996) covers 18 data categories, including national accounts and BOP, giving indications of the coverage of data, the frequency of release, and the timing. Although subscription of the SDDS is voluntary, once it is subscribed, the member country is obliged to abide by it regarding the economic and financial data that should be disclosed to the IMF.