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Country Profile of Japan

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Director-General for Policy Planning (Statistical Standards), Ministry of International Affairs and Communications
Web address
www.stat.go.jp/english/index.htm
Position in the government
Part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Organizational structure and finance
The Statistics Bureau comprises General Affairs Division, Statistical Information Systems Division, and Statistical Survey Department, which consists of four divisions. The Statistical Research and Training Institute is closely linked to the Statistics Bureau.

The Office of Director-General for Policy Planning (Statistical Standards) comprises Statistical Planning Division, three Statistical Clearance Divisions, and International Statistical Affairs Division.

Both of the Bureau and the Office are administered by government budget.
Multi-annual or annual work program
Based on Article 4 of the Statistics Act (Act No.53 of 2007), the Basic Plan Concerning the Development of Official Statistics was established and approved by the Cabinet in March 2009, and has also been propelled since the beginning of FY 2009 to promote measures for the development of official statistics comprehensively and systematically.
In order to ensure effectiveness of the Basic Plan, a “Basic Plan Promotion Committee” was established in April 2009 comprising the heads of the statistical offices of all ministries, and each office and ministry promotes the measures described in the Basic Plan in a unified manner.
The summary of the Basic Plan is the followings.

(1) Fundamental policy regarding measures for compiling official statistics

(1)-1 Role of official statistics

Considering official statistics are important information to assist the public in making rational decisions, it is necessary that official statistics be compiled as information resources that can be used by a broad spectrum of society.

(1)-2 Basic perspectives in designing measures

“Ensuring the Usefulness of Statistics” is an important objective in developing statistics. The following four perspectives are essential to improve the usefulness of statistics.

(a) Systematic development of statistics
(b) Responses to socio-economic changes
(c) Effective use of statistical data
(d) Efficient production of statistics, and effective use of statistical resources

(2) Comprehensive and systematic measures in the development of official statistics

(2)-1 Development of “fundamental statistics” as the core of statistical systems

To designate statistics that can serve as the core for systematic development of official statistics, including processed statistics and survey statistics, as “fundamental statistics,” and improve the usefulness of such statistics.

- To establish the Economic Census that enables a comprehensive understanding of economic activities in all industries at the same point in time by reorganizing the existing large-scale censuses and surveys. Based on the Economic Census, to compile industrial statistics more systematically and establish estimation methods for National Accounts.
- To integrate statistics on the production activities of the manufacturing industry, currently compiled by four different ministries, into one set of statistics.

(2)-2 Ensuring and improving the consistency and international compatibility of statistics

<Compilation of National Accounts, and strengthening the correlations between National Accounts and primary statistics >

- To strengthen the correlations between National Accounts and Input-Output Tables, and ensure their consistency
- To review selection of fundamental statistics used in estimating National Accounts and estimation methods

<Construction and utilization of a business register (the Establishment Frame Database)>

- To maintain accurate population information based on the Economic Census and using administrative records
- To review production of useful statistics by combining results of various statistics and administrative records

<Compilation of comprehensive statistics on welfare and social security >

- To review the consistency of statistics on social security benefits with various international standards

<Establishment of statistical standards>

- To establish statistical standards such as the Japan Standard Industrial Classification, and the Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death, and review the need to revise such standards approximately five years after their introduction or revision

(2)-3 Compilation of statistics in response to needs due to socio-economic changes

<Compilation of statistics on service activities>

- To compile statistics to comprehend the current state of sophisticated information and communications services across ministries
- To compile statistics on intellectual property activities and make advanced use of them

<Compilation of statistics in response to the low birthrate and aging population, and the work-life balance>

- To review the survey on low birthrates, including marital status, timing for marriage, and the number of children by large-scale sample surveys
- To review surveys covering the topics in this field in order to analyze the relationships between work (status of people starting and leaving jobs, factors preventing one from starting work, etc.), marriage, childbirth, raising children, and long-term care, etc., in detail

<Phased development of statistics on environment>

- To enhance statistical data on emission and absorption of greenhouse gases, and develop statistics on the impact of climate change
- To promote earlier release of preliminary figures for energy statistics

<Compilation of tourism statistics >

- To enhance major tourism statistics, and promote the compilation of tourism statistics that can be compared across prefectures by formulating common standards

<Compilation of labor statistics in response to changes in corporate activities and diverse ways of working, etc.>

- To promote approaches to initiate statistical surveys which reveal the actual situation of non-regular employment every year
- To develop indicators for creating and terminating jobs in order to reveal the impact on employment due to the opening or closure of establishments

(3) Necessary matters for promoting the compilation of official statistics

(3)-1 Effective production of statistics

<Use of administrative records>

- To review the use of data from financial statement reports, and information regarding establishments to which labor and employment insurance are applied
- To require preliminary surveys and reviews which verify whether administrative records are available for statistical surveys or not, when plans for implementing the surveys are formulated

<Participation of private enterprises>

- To promote active participation of private enterprises in the industrial field where they have superior know-how and resources
- To develop an environment for promoting participation of private enterprises more appropriately and effectively by revising guidelines for commissioning statistical surveys of them

(3)-2 Ensuring effective use of statistical resources

- To secure the statistical resources necessary for implementing the Basic Plan, and involve researchers and core personnel in order to resolve issues of National Accounts in particular
- To implement multifaceted measures, such as reviewing statistical surveys via local governments, standardizing the amount of work, and streamlining survey affairs, etc.

(3)-3 Responses to socio-economic changes

- To reflect the need for users of statistics, and compile and improve statistics by exchanging opinions with them
- To review statistics by evaluating their quality, and promote more efficient methods for producing them
- To implement public and educational activities effectively in order to gain public understanding of statistics

(3)-4 Promotion of effective use of statistical data

- To initiate the production and provision of anonymized data and tailor-made tabulations that were recently introduced at an appropriate time, and expand the coverage of available statistical surveys in a phased manner

(3)-5 Others
- To promote sharing and providing statistical data across ministries by using the Inter-Ministry Information System for Official Statistics (IMISOS)
- To promote further transparency in the process of producing statistics, in order to ensure neutrality in statistics

(4) Promotion and evaluation of the Basic Plan

- To organize a “Basic Plan Promotion Committee”, and promote the Basic Plan by the government as a whole
- To evaluate and verify the situation of approaches to the implementation of the Basic Plan in each ministry, and advise improvements by the Statistics Commission
Main duties
(1) Statistics Bureau
The responsibilities of the Bureau are stipulated in the Law to Establish the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications(MIC) and the Cabinet Order in the Organization of the MIC. Under Article 13 of the Cabinet Order, the responsibilities of the Bureau are defined as follows:
(a) To execute and tabulate the Population Census, other fundamental statistical censuses, and surveys, and collect statistical reports for producing fundamental statistics, as well as statistical surveys entrusted by other national administrative organizations and local governments,
(b) To conduct research on statistical methods,
(c) To compile secondary statistics (statistics compiled from other statistical data),
(d) To collect and provide the necessary information for producing and using statistics,
(e) To develop and manage the information system for statistics, and
(f) To coordinate statistical activities within the MIC.

(2) Director-General for Policy Planning (Statistical Standards)
The responsibilities of the Director-General for Policy Planning are stipulated in the Law to Establish the MIC and the Cabinet Order on the Organization of the MIC. Under Article 14 of the Cabinet Order, the responsibilities of the Director-General for Policy Planning are defined as follows:
(a) To plan fundamental matters for improving and developing statistics and the statistical system,
(b) The Director for Statistical Planning, three Directors for Statistical Clearance, and the Director for International Statistical Affairs work under the Director-General for Policy Planning.
(c) To plan training programs and administer qualifying examinations for statistical officials,
(d) To coordinate international statistical affairs, and
(e) To develop and improve statistics, with the exception of those handled by the Statistics Bureau and other ministries.


Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
Dec. 1871: Statistics Division (Seihyo-ka) is established in the Main Office of the pre-constitutional Meiji government (Dajokan Seiin).

Dec. 1879: Population Survey of the Province of Kai (Kainokuni Genzai Ninbetsu Shirabe) conducted as the first government population survey employing field enumeration in Japan.

May 1881: After several reorganizations, the Statistics Office (Tokei-in) is established within the Dajokan, greatly strengthening the statistical system of the government. This Statistics Office was responsible for coordinating all statistical activities of the government.

Dec. 1885: With the establishment of the Cabinet in place of the Dajokan, the Statistics Office becomes the Statistics Bureau, an external bureau of the Cabinet.

May 1920: The Cabinet Statistics Bureau and the Munitions Bureau (Gunju Kyoku) merge, and the Census Office (Kokusei-in) is established within the Cabinet, with the statistics department becoming the First Division of the Office.
First nationwide population census taken as of 1 October.

Feb. 1921: Statistics Employee Training Institute is established in the First Division of the Census Office.

Dec. 1924: Cabinet Statistics Bureau is reinstated (as an internal bureau) following abolition of the Census Office.

Dec. 1946: After World War II, responsibility for coordination of statistics and statistical activities is transferred to the Statistical Commission which is established in the Cabinet.

May 1947: With the establishment of the Prime Minister’s Agency, the Cabinet Statistics Bureau becomes the Statistics Bureau of the Prime Minister’s Agency.

June 1949: With the establishment of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Statistics Bureau of the Prime Minister’s Agency becomes the Statistics Bureau of the Prime Minister’s Office With the establishment of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Statistical Commission becomes an external bureau of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Aug. 1952: With the establishment of the Administrative Management Agency, the Statistical Commission becomes the Statistical Standards Department of the Agency. At the same time, the Statistics Council is established as an advisory organ to the department.

Aug. 1957: The Statistical Standards Department of the Administrative Management Agency becomes the Statistical Standards Bureau of the Agency.

June 1968: The Statistical Standards Bureau of the Administrative Management Agency becomes the Office of the Director for Statistical Standards of the Agency.

July 1984: With the establishment of the Management and Coordination Agency, the Statistics Bureau of the Management and Coordination Agency is formed by combining the General Affairs Division, the Statistical Information Division and the Survey Department of the Statistics Bureau with the Office of the Director for Statistical Standards of the Administrative Management Agency. At the same time, the Tabulation Department of the Statistics Bureau is transformed into the Statistics Center. The Statistical Training Institute becomes an organ attached to the Statistics Center.

Jan. 2001: With the reorganization of Japan’s central government, the Management and Coordination Agency is reorganized into the newly established Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC). As a consequence the Statistics Bureau and the Statistics Center become part of MIC.

Apr. 2003: Statistics Center is reorganized into an incorporated administrative agency and renamed the National Statistics Center. The Statistical Research and Training Institute reorganized into a training institution of the MIC.

Aug. 2005: Statistical Standards Department of the Statistics Bureau is reorganized into the Director-General for Policy Planning (Statistical Standards) of the MIC.

Oct. 2007: The Statistical Council is abolished, and the Statistics Commission is established in the Cabinet Office.


Legal basis
Legal basis
(1) Statistics Act
The new Statistics Act came into effect in Japan in April 2009, thoroughly revised and promulgated in May 2007 for the first time after sixty years since its enforcement. The aim of the Act is to promote systematic and efficient development of official statistics: important information to assist the public in making rational decisions, and to ensure the usefulness thereof through specifying basic matters concerning the production and provision of official statistics, and thereby to contribute to the sound development of the national economy and enhancement of the living standards of the citizens.

(2) Basic Plan
Based on Article 4 of the Statistics Act (Act No.53 of 2007), the Basic Plan Concerning the Development of Official Statistics was established and apporoved by the Cabinet in March 2009, and has also been propelled since the beginning of FY 2009 to promote measures for the development of official statistics comprehensively and systematically.
In order to ensure effectiveness of the Basic Plan, a “Basic Plan Promotion Committee” was established in April 2009 comprising the heads of the statistical offices of all ministries, and each office and ministry promotes the measures described in the Basic Plan in a unified manner.


Other producers of official statistics
Other producers of official statistics
・Cabinet Office
・Ministry of Justice
・Ministry of Finance
・Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
・Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
・Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
・Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
・Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

While fundamental censuses and statistical surveys in Japan are conducted by the Statistical Survey Department of the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, other ministries also produce statistics for their own policy purposes. This system is generally advantageous because it enables quick responses to specific statistical requirements. On the other hand, under a decentralized system, it is generally difficult to maintain consistency in statistical activities among different ministries, and also to avoid duplication in the compilation of statistics. Therefore, it is vital that one organization coordinates the Government's statistical activities. The Office of Director-General for Policy Planning (Statistical Standards) performs this key task.


Statistical advisory bodies
Statistical advisory bodies
The Statistics Commission in the Cabinet Office is charged with researching and deliberating important matters related to developing official statistics systematically in order to discuss the Basic Plan and fundamental statistics, and give advice to the ministers concerned.


Data collection
Most recent population census
1 October 2005
Access to administrative data
The Statistics Act stipulated as below:

Article 29 (1) The head of an administrative organ may, when finding that utilizing administrative record information held by other administrative organs would contribute significantly to the accurate and efficient production of statistics and the reduction of the burden on respondents of statistical surveys, request the heads of the administrative organs that hold the administrative record information to provide such information. In this case, the head of the administrative organ that requests the provision of administrative record information shall clearly indicate the purpose of using it and other matters specified by a Cabinet Order to the heads of the administrative organs that hold the relevant administrative record information.
(2) In addition to what is specified in the preceding paragraph, the head of an administrative organ may, when finding it necessary for conducting fundamental statistical surveys smoothly or for producing fundamental statistics, request the heads of other administrative organs to research, report, or offer other cooperation.
Data confidentiality
Confidential information of private or juridical persons are protected by the Statistics Act.


Data dissemination
Release calendar (existence, when and how published)
Schedule of Release
・Population Census (quinquennial)
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/kokusei/index.htm
・Population Estimates (monthly)
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/jinsui/index.htm
・Labour Force Survey (monthly)
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/roudou/index.htm
・Economic Census for Business Frame (July 2009)
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/e-census/index.htm
・Survey of Household Economy (monthly)
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/joukyou/index.htm
・Retail Price Survey (monthly)
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/kouri/index.htm
・Consumer Price Index (monthly)
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/cpi/index.htm

Other surveys (in Japanese only);
http://www.stat.go.jp/data/guide/3.htm

Please also see the IMF DSBB website for release calender on main economic and financial.
http://dsbb.imf.org/Applications/web/sddsctycatarclist/?strcode=JPN
Main publications
List of major publications;
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/info/guide/2009ver/16.htm

Please also see the following for the guides to the MIC organizations;
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/info/guide/index.htm
Languages of main publications
Japanese, English
How are data disseminated (Paper, CD Rom, Website, online databases, databanks)?
Mainly by paper, CD Rom, and Website

Inventory of statistics output by the Statistics Bureau (in Japanese only);
http://www.stat.go.jp/info/guide/asu/2009/pdf/2829.pdf
Availability of microdata for research purposes
The Statistics Act stipulated as below:

(Secondary Use of Questionnaire Information)
Article 32 The head of an administrative organ or an incorporated administrative agency, etc. under Article 25 may utilize questionnaire information pertaining to statistical surveys they have conducted in the following cases:
(i) When producing statistics or conducting statistical research (hereinafter referred to as "production of statistics, etc.");
(ii) When preparing lists of names to be used for surveys for producing statistics.

(Provision of Questionnaire Information)
Article 33 When persons listed in the following items take the acts specified in the respective items, the head of an administrative organ or an incorporated administrative agency, etc. under Article 25 may provide such persons with questionnaire information pertaining to statistical surveys they have conducted:
(i) An administrative organ, etc. or a person specified by an Ordinance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications as deemed to be equivalent to an administrative organ, etc.: the production of statistics, etc. or preparation of a list of names pertaining to surveys for producing statistics;
(ii) A person who is engaged in production of statistics, etc. that serve public interest which are recognized by an Ordinance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications as equivalent to the production of statistics, etc. conducted by a person specified in the preceding item: the production of statistics specified by the Ordinance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.


(Production of Statistics, etc. by Entrustment)
Article 34 The head of an administrative organ or an incorporated administrative agency, etc. under Article 25 may conduct production of statistics, etc. by utilizing questionnaire information pertaining to statistical surveys conducted by himself/ herself in response to the request from the citizens, pursuant to the provision of an Ordinance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, within limits that would not cause any hindrance to the performance of his/her business, when finding that it would contribute to the development of academic researches or in other cases specified by an Ordinance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

(Production of Anonymized Data)
Article 35 (1) The head of an administrative organ or an incorporated administrative agency, etc. under Article 25 may produce anonymized data by processing questionnaire information pertaining to statistical surveys they have conducted.
(2) The head of an administrative organ shall, when intending to produce anonymized data pertaining to fundamental statistical surveys pursuant to the provision of the preceding paragraph, hear the opinions of the Statistics Commission in advance.




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