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A Primer on theTankan

Characteristics and Peculiarities of Major Items

December 2010
Masahiko Kataoka
Research and Statistics Department

TheTankan is one of the most carefully watched business surveys in Japan. As an indicator of short-term economic developments as well as an indicator of long-term structural changes of the economy, it is used by a large number of statistics users in numerous analyses. Meanwhile, statistics inevitably have their peculiarities. TheTankan also includes peculiarities in its results of aggregation, due to various factors, such as the psychology of the respondents or factors peculiar to the industry or the size of the enterprise being surveyed. Not all users, however, are aware of this fact. This Review will describe the characteristics and peculiarities of the major survey items of theTankan with the aim to improve its usefulness and to deepen its understanding on the part of a wider segment of statistics users.


Bank of Japan Review is published by the Bank of Japan to explain recent economic and financial topics for a wide range of readers. This report, 2010-E-8, is a translation of the original Japanese issue, 2010-J-20 published in November 2010. The views expressed in the Review are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Bank of Japan.

If you have comments, questions, or requests for hard copies, please contact Business Survey, Economic Statistics Division, Research and Statistics Department (E-mail: