Survey May 2011

Disaster Aftermath Business Confidence Survey

Foreign Chambers in Japan

Inevitably, the 3/11 disaster had a significant influence on the “Foreign Chambers in Japan Spring Survey”, especially the outlook for the economy and firms’ short-term (six months) business performance. Compared to the previous survey (autumn 2010), this one shows uncertainty about the economic situation in Japan, especially over the short term.

The Japanese economy is expected to decline over the next six months but, looking ahead 12 months, firms are expected to see a turn for the better and the index enter positive territory.

The reported sales performance for the past six months was almost unchanged from that of the previous survey. Profitability improved, but the sales forecast plummeted because of the disaster.

Despite the current uncertainties, the strategies of foreign-affiliated firms in Japan continue to be bullish. Sixty-five percent (69% in autumn 2010) are looking for further growth and 29% (28%) expect to sustain their current levels. Five percent (2%) plan to downsize, but only 1% (four firms out of 437 respondents) are considering withdrawing from the market.

Media reports regarding a mass exodus of foreign firms and executives were grossly exaggerated. Only 1% of the firms relocated abroad and 5% elsewhere in Japan, while 61% of executives remained in office, 21% worked remotely, 8% moved to other parts of Japan, and only 7% moved abroad.

Ninety-six percent of foreign firms were operating normally or nearly so, according to the survey.