Economy December 2009 / January 2010

Business Survey

The global economic uncertainties seem to have eased and the economic outlook for Japan in the next six months is positive, according to the latest Foreign Chambers in Japan (FCIJ) Business Confidence Survey.

Although the reported sales and profitability figures for the past six months were still in the red (although less than in the previous survey), respondents see bullish developments regarding the Japanese economy and their own performance.

Respondents predicted an increased upturn in the economy within a year, a significant change from the previous survey. Finance is the most optimistic industry while trading and manufacturing sees the next 6-12 months least favourably.

Despite recent tough times, foreign-affiliated companies in Japan reported mostly positive results similar to the last survey — with two-thirds looking for further growth, 26% expecting to sustain their current level, 6% planning to downsize, and just 1% (four companies) considering withdrawing from the market.

This survey has been supported by:

Positive because:

  • Firms leaner due to cost cuts and reorganisation
  • Financial crisis created opportunities
  • Better market conditions made revenue opportunities
  • Stronger management drives change and introduces products
  • Weak luxury demand boosts cheap goods market
  • Small firms, startups poised to grab market share
  • Bought rival firms for cheap price

2010 survey predictions:

  • Some growth in short term/late 2010
  • Sales/profitability up within six months
  • Yen to stay near recent dollar and euro averages in next six months