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Change in the Classification of Insurance Claims in the Balance of Payments Statistics

August 8, 2011
Ministry of Finance
Bank of Japan

In Japan's Balance of Payments (BOP) statistics, insurance claims related to the Great East Japan Earthquake, which have been recorded under current transfers in the current account, will be recorded under capital transfers in the capital account from the preliminary data for the Balance of Payments for June 2011, to be released today.

Outline and background of the change

At present, the Japan's BOP statistics is compiled based on the standards stated in the Balance of Payments Manual, Fifth Edition (BPM5) published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). All insurance claims should be recorded under current transfers according to BPM5.

On the contrary, the latest edition of the manual, that is, the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, Sixth Edition (BPM6) published by the IMF in December 2008, provides an option of distinguishing large insurance claims related to a catastrophe from normal insurance claims and recording the former under capital transfers. The rationale for recording such claims as capital transfers is that the damage of assets related to these claims is treated as a decrease in assets (capital) rather than current expenditure; therefore, it is consistent to record the claims following a catastrophe as capital transfers, which increases the assets.

The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan have decided to adopt the treatment of insurance claims under BPM6 ahead of wider implementation of BPM6. Only the insurance claims related to the Great East Japan Earthquake will be recorded under capital transfers. Other insurance claims will continue to be recorded under current transfers.


Balance of Payments Statistics Group, Balance of Payments Division, International Department

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