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October 21, 2003
Bank of Japan
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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.