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Home > Statistics > Outline of Statistics and Statistical Release Schedule > Explanations of Statistics > Explanation of TANKAN > FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on the Tankan(Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan)
Bank of Japan
Research and Statistics Department
The Tankan is a nationwide business survey conducted on a quarterly basis, 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 about overall corporate activities, including those regarding the enterprise's judgment, such as regarding business conditions both at the time of the survey and three months later, as well as actual results and forecasts of financial statements, and inflation. The Tankan is an abbreviation of "Tanki Keizai Kansoku Chousa (Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan)," and is well-known all over the world.
The Tankan is a statistical survey conducted by the Bank of Japan, in accordance with the Statistics Law (Law No. 53 of 2007). Although sample enterprises are not legally required to respond, the Tankan has the cooperation of the vast majority of surveyed enterprises, with almost all responding to each survey.
The Bank is obliged to keep confidential information obtained from respondents under strict security in accordance with the Statistics Law.
With the aim of obtaining an accurate snapshot of overall corporate activities, in addition to quantitative data (annual figures) on items such as sales, fixed investment, and the number of new graduates hired, the Tankan survey also asks questions which draw on the judgment of the respondent, such as their view on their business environment. It also asks for forecasts of these items, such as forecast figures for quantitative data, and on the business conditions three months later for judgment items. The inclusion of both quantitative and judgment data, together with its long history, which provides long-term time series data of survey results, can be counted as strengths of the Tankan.
Utilizing these features, users can perform various analyses on economic conditions and corporate activities for their own various purposes, for example, by combining results of judgment items with those of quantitative data and comparing current conditions with similar ones in the past.
Consequently, the Tankan is used as one of the indicators for the assessment of economic conditions in Japan.
It should be noted that the Tankan aggregates figures from enterprise responses and this does not reflect the Bank's assessment on economic conditions and projections.
The target population of the Tankan is private enterprises (excluding "financial institutions" and "business consultants & pure holding companies") in Japan with capital of 20 million yen or more. The survey population consists of approximately 220,000 enterprises, drawn from the Economic Census, conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Sample enterprises (comprising approximately 10,000 enterprises) are selected from this survey population based on industry and size classifications to satisfy established criteria such as statistical accuracy.
Aggregated values are released by industry and size classifications (a total of 93 strata: 31 industries and three capital sizes). note To improve statistical accuracy, the Bank further subdivides enterprises into just less than 400 strata, for the selection of sample enterprises and to calculate estimates of the population total. In principle, the Bank revises sample enterprises according to updates of the survey population data. For details of the most recent revision, see "Regular Revision of the Tankan Sample Enterprises" (March 2018).
The Survey of Financial Institutions, Survey of Business Consultants & Pure Holding Companies, and Survey on Overseas Business Activities are also conducted to supplement the Tankan (see 1-5, 1-6 and 1-7).
Note: In the Tankan, manufacturing is comprised of 17 industries and nonmanufacturing is comprised of 14 industries, based on the Japan Standard Industrial Classification released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Enterprise size is defined by amount of capital, in three categories -- large, medium-sized, and small enterprises -- as shown below.
|Large enterprises||1 billion yen or more|
|Medium-sized enterprises||100 million yen to less than 1 billion yen|
|Small enterprises||20 million yen to less than 100 million yen|
Since the March 2004 survey, the Survey of Financial Institutions has been conducted to supplement the Tankan.note
The target population is private financial institutions in Japan with 10 or more employees. The survey population consists of approximately 3,000 institutions, drawn from the Economic Census, conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The survey population comprises the following seven sectors: (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. Sample institutions (comprising approximately 200 institutions) are selected from the survey population to satisfy established criteria such as statistical accuracy.
While the sample institutions are categorized into the seven sectors above, to ensure that stable classifications are released in the case of a reorganization across sectors, the aggregated values of financial institutions are released according to the following five classifications: (a) banks ( and ); (b) financial institutions for cooperative organizations ( and ); (c) financial products transaction dealers; (d) insurance companies; and (e) non-deposit money corporations. Financial institutions have no size classifications as with large, medium-sized, and small enterprises. As is the case with non-financial enterprises, the Bank of Japan further subdivides financial institutions into approximately 20 strata, for the selection of samples and to calculate estimates of the population total, to improve statistical accuracy. Sample institutions are revised when sample enterprises of the Tankan are revised. For details of the most recent revision, see "Regular Revision of the Tankan Sample Enterprises" (March 2018).
Note: The survey on fixed investment of financial institutions was previously conducted to supplement the Principal Enterprises Tankan from the November 1989 survey (corresponding to the present December survey) until the December 2003 survey. The Survey of Financial Institutions expanded its coverage and survey items in the March 2004 survey, and has been conducted to supplement the Tankan.
Since the June 2020 survey, the Survey of Business Consultants & Pure Holding Companies has been conducted to supplement the Tankan.
The target population is private enterprises that are "business consultants & pure holding companies" in Japan with capital of 20 million yen or more. The survey population consists of approximately 1,500 enterprises, drawn from the Establishment Frame Database of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
To improve statistical accuracy, the Bank further subdivides enterprises into 3 strata for the selection of sample enterprises and to calculate estimates of the population total. Sample enterprises are revised when sample enterprises of the Tankan are revised.
Since the June 2020 survey, the Survey on Overseas Business Activities has been conducted to supplement the Tankan.
The target population is private parent enterprises (excluding "financial institutions") in Japan, with capital of 1 billion yen or more, at the top of a consolidated business group conducting overseas business activities.
The survey population consists of approximately 1,500 enterprises, drawn from the Establishment Frame Database of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
To improve statistical accuracy, the Bank further subdivides enterprises into approximately 70 strata, for the selection of sample enterprises and to calculate estimates of the population total. Sample enterprises are revised when sample enterprises of the Tankan are revised.
The survey is conducted using a paper form or an online form. The paper form or an identification code for the online survey is provided by mail to all sample enterprises. Sample enterprises are required to choose to complete either the paper survey or online survey in advance (it can be changed for each survey).
The online survey started from the March 2011 survey. The share of respondents who choose to complete the online survey is approximately 50 percent as of the March 2021 survey.
Numerous business surveys are now conducted in Japan and overseas, and the Tankan is one of the oldest. The first business survey in Japan was the Short-Term Survey of the Industries conducted by the former Industrial Bank of Japan, which took the Economic Test -- carried out by the IFO Institute for Economic Research in the former West Germany -- as a model and started in 1951. The Bank took over and revised this survey, and started the Principal Enterprises Tankan in 1957. The Bank then launched the All Enterprises Tankan in 1974, which was substantially revised in 2004 with the termination of the Principal Enterprises Tankan. Throughout this long history the Bank has revised sample enterprises and survey items to adequately reflect actual economic conditions in Japan.
Note: In principle, the Tankan survey covered major companies generally reflecting business trends in each industry among listed companies with capital of 100 million yen or more (excluding financial and insurance companies).
In addition to the Tankan (released by the Research and Statistics Department in the Bank's Head Office) on a nationwide basis, the Bank's branches also compile and release the Local Branch Tankan, which covers enterprises within each region. Released materials are available on the branch websites (available only in Japanese).
There are two main differences between the Tankan and the Local Branch Tankan:
The sample design of the Tankan is based on industry and size classifications on a nationwide basis and therefore does not take industrial structure of each region into consideration. With these facts in mind, the Local Branch Tankan sometimes includes enterprises that the Tankan does not cover, such as local offices of large enterprises.
For aggregation of quantitative data, while the Tankan calculates estimates of the population total, the Local Branch Tankan computes simply aggregated figures.
When using survey results of the Local Branch Tankan, these differences should be noted, and that it is deemed appropriate to use these results as a reference to understand economic conditions of each region. Taking these differences into account, it is also worth noting that a close comparison between levels of diffusion indexes (DIs) or figures published by each branch is not considered appropriate. The same attention should be paid when comparing the Tankan and the Local Branch Tankan.
For judgment survey items, enterprises choose from three alternatives for each item and their responses are aggregated into the DI as shown below:
DI (percentage points) = Percentage share of the number of respondents choosing Alternative One - Percentage share of the number of respondents choosing Alternative Three
For example, the "Business Conditions DI," which indicates respondents' judgment of general business conditions primarily in light of their profits, asks them to choose the most appropriate answer among three alternatives: (1) Favorable; (2) Not so favorable; and (3) Unfavorable. Based on the responses, the "Business Conditions DI" is calculated by subtracting the percentage share of the number of respondents choosing (3) Unfavorable from that of the number of respondents choosing (1) Favorable.
Specifically, when 30 percent of sample enterprises respond (1) Favorable, 60 percent respond (2) Not so favorable, and 10 percent respond (3) Unfavorable, the "Business Conditions DI" is 20 percentage points (30 percent minus 10 percent).
The degree of change in DIs may sometimes appear inconsistent among release classifications. The following example shows that while the "Business conditions DI" for all industries does not change from the actual result to forecast, that for manufacturing and nonmanufacturing, which form the breakdown of all industries, increases by two points and one point, respectively.
This is because, for calculating DIs, percentage shares of the number of respondents choosing (1) Favorable and (3) Unfavorable are rounded to an integer. This rounding-off is conducted for each classification of manufacturing, nonmanufacturing, and all industries, and consequently aggregated figures are subject to rounding error.
(Forecast minus Actual Result)
(30% - 10%)
(28% - 6%)
(25% - 7%)
(24% - 5%)
(28% - 8%)
(26% - 6%)
Moreover, the Bank does not compute weighted DIs by enterprise size, but simply aggregates the obtained responses.
Although percentage shares of enterprises responding to each alternative can be used easily, they might be hard to analyze, for instance, when users are interested in their long-term developments. Therefore, the Bank publishes aggregated DIs so that users can easily understand the developments of these multiple data.
For judgment survey items, enterprises are asked to respond regarding the conditions both at the time of the survey and three months afterwards. The actual result DIs and forecast DIs are also calculated. The forecast DIs provide an information source on enterprise forecasts for users, while some peculiarities in the behavior of forecast DIs depending on economic conditions and industries should be kept in mind.
Users can also analyze economic conditions and corporate activities for various purposes, for example, by combining DIs and relevant quantitative data -- such as (1) "Business Conditions DI" and current profits or the ratio of current profits to sales, and (2) "Production Capacity DI" and fixed investment -- and by comparing current DIs with those during similar economic phases in the past.
The Tankan has the following four kinds of DI regarding supply and demand conditions and inventory levels: (1) "domestic supply and demand conditions for products and services" ("excess demand" minus "excess supply"); (2) "overseas supply and demand conditions for products" ("excess demand" minus "excess supply"); (3) "inventory level of finished goods and merchandise" ("excessive or somewhat excessive" minus "insufficient or somewhat insufficient"); and (4) "wholesalers' inventory level" ("excessive or somewhat excessive" minus "insufficient or somewhat insufficient").
Among them, while item (3) asks enterprises to judge their own inventory levels of finished goods and merchandise, the other items (1), (2), and (4) ask them to judge supply and demand conditions or inventory levels in the industry of responding enterprises. Therefore, when using these data, this difference in definitions should be noted.
In another instance, enterprises are requested to judge their changes in conditions, instead of their levels, for the following three items: (a) "change in interest rate on loans" ("rise" minus "fall"); (b) "change in output prices" ("rise" minus "fall"); and (c) "change in input prices" ("rise" minus "fall"). Although most of the DIs indicate judgment on the level of conditions, it should be noted that these three DIs indicate that of change in conditions.
In addition, there are discontinuities due to changes of calculation method and so on in some data series. For details, see "Explanation of the Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan (Tankan) [PDF 1,014KB]." Please note that these data series are treated as continuous in the "BOJ Time-Series Data Search," for the convenience of users.
The main purpose of the Tankan is to provide an accurate picture of business trends of enterprises in Japan, thereby contributing to the appropriate implementation of monetary policy. However, conducting a survey of all enterprises in Japan places the burden on all respondents, and entails considerable costs for the Bank to keep the confidential information obtained from respondents under strict security. It also takes substantial time for the Bank to compile and publish aggregated figures. As a result, it can be difficult to capture actual economic conditions in a timely manner.
Consequently, the Bank develops a sample survey framework. Specifically, sample enterprises are selected from a survey population of private enterprises with capital of 20 million yen or more -- based on the Economic Census conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry -- to satisfy established criteria such as that of statistical accuracy. Total values of the target population (population total) are estimated by amplifying the figures obtained from sample enterprises based on sampling ratios.
When the simply aggregated amount of sales of 50 sample enterprises -- which are selected from 200 survey population enterprises -- is 150, the estimate of the population total is computed as shown below:
Estimate of the population total
= average sales of sample enterprises * number of survey population enterprises
= (150/50) * 200 = 600
For quantitative survey items in the Tankan, estimates of the population total are calculated by strata based on industry and size classifications (total of slightly less than 400 strata), and these figures are aggregated to obtain the population total.
The Tankan introduces the missing value imputation for annual projections of quantitative survey items, the number of new graduates hired and overseas business activities. When enterprises do not respond with figures, their most recent response is individually substituted for aggregation.
When figures of the new fiscal year (FY X+1) cannot be obtained, the most recent figures (FY X) are substituted for aggregation.
From the June survey, when figures of the current fiscal year (FY X) cannot be obtained, figures of the same fiscal year obtained in the previous survey are substituted.
Until the December 2003 survey, estimates of the population total had been calculated excluding non-responding enterprises. This means that the average figures of each stratum for population estimation, to which the non-responding enterprises belong, had been substituted for missing figures.
In this case, estimates of the population total could deviate from true aggregated values if true values of the missing figures deviate from the average values of the stratum.
With this in mind, the Bank discussed alternative methods and found that the method of substituting an enterprise's most recent response which included figures likely yields more accurate aggregated values for annual projections. Based on this analysis, the Bank has revised the missing value imputation since the March 2004 survey. For details, see "Methodology for Handling Missing Values In TANKAN" (June 2002).
With respect to "Sales," "Current Profits," "Net Income," "Fixed Investment," and "Software Investment," the Tankan has introduced the following treatment of outliers since the December 2010 survey. Under this method, when figures reported from enterprises have a substantial impact on year-on-year rates of change and revision rates of estimates of the population total so that they are regarded as outliers, these figures are treated to remove their effects for aggregation because they do not represent the survey population.
For example, when figures of the new fiscal year (FY X+1) are substantially larger than those of the previous year (FY X), and the figures of the new fiscal year are detected as outliers, the most recent figures (FY X) are substituted for aggregation.
From the June survey, when figures of the current year (FY X) are significantly different from those of the previous survey, and they are detected as outliers, figures obtained at the previous survey of the same fiscal year are substituted.
Please note that the treatment of outliers is a statistical method to further improve the statistical accuracy of the Tankan. Figures are rarely regarded as outliers.
For details of the treatment of outliers, see "Explanation of the Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan (Tankan) [PDF 1,014KB]" and "Treatment of Outliers in Business Surveys: The Case of Short-term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan (Tankan)" (September 2010).
The Tankan takes a survey on figures in annual projections of the quantitative survey items of each fiscal year six times in total, from the March survey of the previous fiscal year to the June survey of the following fiscal year. Figures (estimates of the population total) of each fiscal year are finalized in the June survey of the following fiscal year.
For instance, as shown in the table below, figures of FY X-1 are finalized in the June X survey. At the same time, the year-on-year rates of change for FY X-1 as well as denominators for computing the year-on-year rates of change for FY X are also determined.
Therefore, when using the year-on-year rates of change for FY X, it should be noted that denominators (figures of FY X-1) in the March X survey are different from those in other surveys (the June X survey to the June X+1 survey).
Note: Figures in parentheses indicate the survey number for figures of each fiscal year.
Revision rates are calculated by comparing estimates of the population total of the previous survey and those of the following (current) survey as shown below:
Revision rates = (Estimates of the population total of the current survey - Estimates of the population total of the previous survey) / Estimates of the population total of the previous survey * 100
It is important to note that the "year-on-year rates of change in the previous survey" plus the "revision rates in the current survey" nearly equals the "year-on-year rates of change in the current survey" relationship does not necessarily hold. This is because, as explained above, the denominators for calculating the year-on-year rates of change in the March survey are different from those in other surveys, which sometimes results in seemingly inconsistent cases. For example, while the year-on-year rates of increase in the June survey are higher (lower) than those in the March survey, revision rates of the June survey are negative (positive).
|Mar.X survey||June X survey|
|Year-on-Year Rate of Change (%)||+2.3||+7.7|
|Revision Rate (%)||n.a.||-0.5|
|Mar.X survey||June X survey|
|Year-on-Year Rate of Change (%)||+3.6||-0.3|
|Revision Rate (%)||n.a.||+1.6|
Year-on-year rate of change in the March survey = 10,595.8 billion yen (figures of FY X in the March survey) / 10,361.5 billion yen (figures of FY X-1 in the March survey) * 100 - 100 = 2.3%
Year-on-year rate of change in the June survey = 10,547.2 billion yen (figures of FY X in the June survey) / 9,790.2 billion yen (figures of FY X-1 in the June survey) * 100 - 100 = 7.7%
Revision rate in the June survey = [10,547.2 billion yen (figures of FY X in the June survey) - 10,595.8 billion yen (figures of FY X in the March survey)] / 10,595.8 billion yen (figures of FY X in the March survey) * 100 = -0.5%
The predicted exchange rates for overall businesses are simple averages of all enterprises' responded rates, which appear as "Exchange Rates (yen per U.S. dollar)" and "Exchange Rates (yen per Euro)" in the survey form.
Note: The predicted exchange rates for U.S. dollar-yen are calculated based on the figures of "exchange rates for exports" obtained from survey responses until the December 2019 survey. The Bank computed the weighted averages of responded figures by the amount of exports. Only the figures of those enterprises which provided an answer to both "Exports" and "Exchange Rates for Exports" were used for this calculation.
Looking at average revision patterns of past surveys for annual projections of fixed investment including land purchase expenses, fixed investment of large enterprises tends to be revised upward from the first March survey to the June survey, with investment plans crystallized and those from the previous fiscal year delayed to the fiscal current year. From the December survey to the actual result survey (the June survey of the next year), fixed investment of large enterprises tends to be revised downward due to delay in construction and the deferment of plans to the following fiscal year.
On the other hand, fixed investment of small enterprises tends to be revised upward in a persistent way from the first March survey to the actual result survey (the June survey of the next year), because many small enterprises do not create investment plans in advance and consequently their fixed investment tends to be recorded as annual projections along with execution.
These revision patterns are past averages, and vastly different cases can be seen from year to year. Nevertheless, when assessing forecast figures of fixed investment, attention should be paid to the peculiarities in revision patterns.
The Tankan asks enterprises to list "amounts of newly listed tangible fixed assets (including new land purchasing expenses and lease assets)" as "fixed investment." It is worth noting that fixed investment in the Tankan includes secondhand items which are newly listed in tangible fixed assets and differs from private nonresidential investment in the National Accounts Statistics of Japan.
The Tankan asks enterprises to list "amounts of newly listed intangible assets (including lease assets) included in software investment" as "software investment." With information technology (IT) investment spreading in Japan, the survey of investment including software such as computer programming can help capture the actual economic conditions more accurately.
It is worth noting that software investment in the Tankan differs from computer software in the National Accounts Statistics of Japan.
With domestic offices of Japanese enterprises taking on an increasingly significant role in research and development (R&D), the Tankan added R&D investment to survey items from the March 2017 survey. The Bank asks enterprises to list "R&D expenses listed on the income statement" as "R&D investment."
The National Accounts Statistics of Japan, conforming to the new international statistical standard (2008 SNA), estimate R&D investment mainly based on R&D expenses. However, strictly speaking, this is different from data of the Tankan.
For details of the survey on R&D investment, see "Planned Revisions of the Tankan" (December 2016).
The survey form, guidelines for filling in the form, and example answer sheet of the Tankan clearly ask enterprises to exclude the effects of institutional changes such as changes in the consumption tax rate.
"The average of enterprises' inflation outlook" is the weighted average of the rates of price change drawn from survey responses excluding "Don't know" and "Don't have clear views on general prices." The survey response rates for price change are based on the following assumption: for example, "around +15%" and "around +6% or higher" indicate +15% and +6%, respectively.
For the two survey items, "outlook for output prices" and "outlook for general prices," enterprises are asked to select the multiple choice response closest to their expectations for price developments 1 year ahead, 3 years ahead, and 5 years ahead. It should be noted that while the former asks expectations of rates of change compared to current levels, the latter asks expectations of year-on-year rates of change.
With regards to the survey items, the Tankan is surveyed on the basis of non-consolidated accounting, whereas the Survey on Overseas Business Activities is surveyed on a consolidated basis.
Until the December 2003 survey, the Bank surveyed "overseas production" and "overseas investment" by foreign manufacturing affiliates. In order to mitigate respondent burden, these items were abolished from the March 2004 survey, as they are not disclosure items in corporate accounting, and in order to avoid overlap with the "Survey on Overseas Business Activities" and the "Quarterly Survey of Overseas Subsidiaries" conducted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Taking this into account, the Bank attempts to mitigate respondent burden by reconciling survey items in the "overseas business activities" with disclosure items in corporate consolidated accounting, while expanding the coverage of sample enterprises including nonmanufacturing enterprises. Please note that the Survey on Overseas Business Activities is on a consolidated basis, and therefore does not overlap with other statistics using non-consolidated accounting.
The Survey on Overseas Business Activities asks for the actual results and forecasts for sales, overseas sales, current profits, fixed Investment and overseas fixed investment on a consolidated basis in the survey category "overseas business activities."
Using sources such as the Establishment Frame Database and segmental information of financial statements, the survey population is comprised of enterprises which have confirmed sales to overseas external customers or overseas subsidiaries/branches. Therefore, business groups with overseas business activities, which cannot be confirmed using the above procedure, are not included in the survey population in principle.
The figures in "overseas business activities" are surveyed on a consolidated basis, and therefore "consolidated sales" and "consolidated fixed investment" in the survey category do not reflect the business activities of associates accounted for when using, for example, the equity method in principle.
Please note therefore, that the survey category "overseas business activities" does not comprehensively capture overseas business activities of enterprises, due to the technical limitations.
Sample surveys including the Tankan contain two kinds of errors, sampling errors and non-sampling errors.
Sampling error is an error caused by surveying part of a population (sample) instead of a whole population. For example, with samples which are biased toward larger enterprises rather than average-sized enterprises in the survey population, estimates of the population total such as that of sales and fixed investment are larger than true values (population values obtained from censuses). This type of error -- caused by sample bias -- is called sampling error.
When sample enterprises provide no response or an incorrect response, estimates are likely to deviate from true values. All errors including this type of error, excluding sampling errors, are called non-sampling errors. Thus, not only sample surveys but also censuses could include non-sampling errors.
For example, non-sampling errors can arise from:
For every survey in the Tankan, the Bank releases standard error ratios of sales (see 6-2) by industry and enterprise size, one of the criteria for statistical accuracy, in the "Comprehensive Data Set." The Bank also analyzes the relative errors of sales and fixed investment in the Tankan. For details, see "Revision of the Sample Design of the Tankan Using the Economic Census of Japan" (September 2016).
Sample enterprises of the Tankan are revised according to updates of the survey population data, drawn from the Economic Census conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Most recently, they were revised in March 2018.
When selecting sample enterprises, the Bank establishes the following criteria to reduce sampling errors and maintain statistical accuracy. The Bank also sets different criteria for the Survey of Financial Institutions, Survey of Business Consultants & Pure Holding Companies and Survey on Overseas Business Activities.
In regular revisions of sample enterprises, the Bank selects samples to satisfy the targets above. For details, see "Explanation of the Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan (Tankan). [PDF 1,014KB]"
In spite of these revisions, a decrease in the number of sample enterprises -- due to bankruptcies, mergers, and other factors -- could cause an increase in sampling errors prior to the next revision. Therefore, the Bank examines the statistical accuracy stated above once a year in principle and, if necessary, adds new samples in the March survey.
Note: The standard error ratio is a coefficient of variation for sample estimates, calculated by dividing the standard deviation of sample mean by the survey population mean. It represents a relative size of deviation between estimates obtained from sample surveys and true values (survey population values).
When a survey form is not collected from a sample enterprise or a sample enterprise gives no responses to all or part of the survey items in a collected survey form, the Bank attempts to increase the response rate as follows:
The Bank also makes efforts to obtain responses, for example, by allowing enterprises to respond with: (1) approximate figures based on internal targets or estimation at the time of the survey, when there are no authorized forecasts: and (2) figures based on accounting standards that may differ from Japanese standards.
There are sometimes response errors by respondents due to misunderstandings and mistakes when filling out the form. For the purpose of reducing these types of errors, the Bank provides guidelines for completing the form and an example answer sheet. Furthermore, the Bank makes an effort to prevent erroneous responses, for example, by calling respondents, for confirmation of responses where necessary.
In cases where responses are not available despite the efforts described above, the Bank conducts the statistical method of the missing value imputation to gain more accurate aggregated figures (see 3-2).
In principle, the Bank takes the following procedures for mergers and spin-offs involving sample enterprises of the Tankan.
When the core enterprise -- that with the largest sales volume -- is a sample enterprise prior to the merger, the merged enterprise is included in the sample. Specifically, in cases where there is a merger between a sample enterprise and another sample enterprise or a non-sample enterprise with a smaller sales volume, the merged enterprise is included in the sample. On the other hand, when there is a merger between a sample enterprise and a non-sample enterprise with a larger sales volume, the merged enterprise is excluded from the sample.
Only the core enterprise -- that with the largest sales volume -- is included in the sample after the spin-off. However, all enterprises -- the core enterprise as well as other spin-offs -- are included in the sample when (1) the core enterprise and other spin-offs are grouped in the same stratum for population estimation and (2) the impact on estimated sales or fixed investment turns out to be small with the inclusion of these enterprises into the sample.
The Bank has introduced two exceptional rules applied when the impact of mergers and spin-offs on the estimates of the Tankan is above a certain level, such as large-scale mergers and spin-offs. These rules are the distribution method and the subsequent inclusion of spin-offs.
For details of treatment of mergers and spin-offs, see "Explanation of the Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan (Tankan). [PDF 1,014KB]"
For every survey, the Bank provides survey forms to sample enterprises (currently about 10,000) by mail or online about one month prior to scheduled release dates (in principle, at the beginning of April, July, October, and mid-December).
Completed survey forms are sent back to the Bank's Head Office (Research and Statistics Department) and responses are entered into the Bank's system. The Bank's staff at the Head Office or branches then scrutinize responses, calling respondents for confirmation where necessary.
At the Head Office, a final check of responses is made, and then survey results are aggregated.
With a view to ensuring security control, the aggregated results are kept confidential and inaccessible to anyone (including the Bank's staff) until the day of release (see 8-1).
The Bank provides the following materials as results of the Tankan.
Long-term time series data of the Tankan are available at the "BOJ Time-Series Data Search," which is linked from the "Statistics" section on the Bank's website.
The Tankan provides the following relevant information in addition to survey results, to enhance user convenience and transparency for the public. All of the following are available on the Bank's website.
The Bank announces the Tankan release dates and times beforehand.
Specifically, release dates of the Tankan for the next 12 months are announced on the Bank's website around the end of June and December, together with other major statistics compiled by the Bank. The release times are always at 8:50 a.m. Japan Standard Time.
The survey results of the Tankan are released just before 9:00 a.m., when Japanese financial and capital markets open for trade or market transactions become active.
The Bank believes that the survey results should be interpreted by users not producers of statistics, and consequently any interpretations or policy judgments are excluded.
The Bank will continue its efforts to provide useful information about the methodology of the Tankan, including these FAQs, so as to enable users to understand survey results more easily.
The Bank's views on statistics including the Tankan and the assessment of financial and economic conditions based on these statistics are shown in the Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices, which reflects discussions made by the Bank's Policy Board at Monetary Policy Meetings.
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.
The contact information for inquiries regarding the Tankan is as follows:
If you have comments on these FAQs or requests for new topics to be added, please send e-mails to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Security control in the statistics production process as a whole is essential in order to ensure the reliability of statistics and prevent illicit use of statistics. The Bank is required by the Statistics Law to protect confidential information provided by enterprises under strict control.
With this in mind, the Bank keeps confidential information regarding the Tankan, such as survey results prior to release and individual responses obtained from enterprises, under strict security according to internal rules.
Specifically, during each survey period, the workspace is kept in isolation and only the staff related to the survey are allowed to have access to this area. Confidential information is handled by a limited number of staff as well as being kept strictly under lock and key for paper-based information and secured by password protection for electronically based information.
In addition, no one has access to aggregated results of the Tankan before the day of release, and even on that day, only a limited number of staff are able to handle survey results before the time of release (8:50 a.m.).
The Bank sets a deadline. For every Tankan survey, the Bank provides survey forms to sample enterprises and publish survey results over about a one month survey period. The deadline by which enterprises complete and send back forms is usually set at approximately two weeks after the dispatch of survey forms, allowing an adequate period for enterprises to complete survey forms and for the Bank to go through the responses.
Consequently, responses from enterprises tend to be collected intensively during the few days around this deadline.
The Bank continues to collect responses until one business day prior to the day of release.