Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Statistics Bureau
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2002 National Survey of Prices Explanation of Terms

1. Classification of geographical areas

(1)City Groups

  The cities were classified based on the size of population of municipalities as the result of the 2000 Population Census.
  However, the names of municipalities were those as of November 21, 2002.

  • Major cities ----------City with a population of 1,000,000 or more (13 cities)
    Ku-area of Tokyo, Sapporo-shi, Sendai-shi, Saitama-shi,Yokohama-shi, Kawasaki-shi, Nagoya-shi, Kyoto-shi, Osaka-shi, Kobe-shi, Hiroshima-shi, Kitakyushu-shi and Fukuoka-shi.
  • Middle cities ---------City with a population of 150,000 to 999,999 (132 cities)
  • Small cities A --------City with a population of 50,000 to 149,999 (207 cities)
  • Small cities B --------City with a population of less than 50,000 (111 cities)
  • Towns and villages --Town and village (173 towns and villages)

(2)Blocks within prefecture

  The blocks within prefecture were regional classification sets for this survey to get detail data on prices in smaller regional unit than prefecture.
  Each block in prefecture was designated by combining municipalities in accordance with economic regions within prefectures.

(3)Population size groups within prefecture

  Municipalities in each prefecture were classified in accordance with its population into "City with a population of 100,000 or more", "City with a population of 50,000 to 99,999", "City with a population of less than 50,000" and "Towns and villages".

 2. Classification of Stores (outlets)

(1)Size of outlet

  In accordance with the size of sales floor space, the following classification was made.

Large-scale outlet Outlets with a sales floor space of 450 square meters or more. Every outlet in the municipalities was surveyed in principle.
Small-scale outlet Outlets with a sales floor space of less than 450 square meters. These were sampled according to the population size of municipalities surveyed.

(2)Type of outlet

  Type of outlet was referred to the following classification. The response to this question was made based on the judgment by each outlet surveyed.

Supermarket Outlet mainly selling foods and general goods by self-service system, including so-called general supermarkets.
Volume sales specialty store Outlet mainly selling personal computers, electric home appliances, men's suits, toys, sporting goods, etc. based on the policy of small profits and quick returns.
Drug store Outlet mainly selling medicines and cosmetics and the others (convenient goods, stationary, films and foodstuffs, etc.) by self-service system.
Convenience store Outlet mainly selling foodstuffs, housewares, magazines, etc. by self-service system. Outlet with a floor space of approximately 100 square meters which is ordinarily opened for 24 hours or closed after 23:00 p.m.
Department store Outlet dealing in every commodity item; clothing, food, and housing mainly by face-to-face system.
Cooperative store Outlet managed by consumers' cooperative associations. The outlet managed by the agricultural cooperative association (such as A-coop) belongs to the supermarket or general retail outlet, etc. in accordance with its type of outlet.
General retail outlet Outlet which does not belong to any of the above-mentioned type of outlets.
Privately-owned outlet etc.
Others Outlets which do not fall under any of the above-mentioned type of outlets.
Outlets located in the government buildings, schools, and enterprises, etc.

(3)Location

  The following classification was made in accordance with location and concentration of outlets.

Shopping street around a railroad station Outlet located in front of, or at places leading to a station
Others around a railroad station Outlet which is scattered at the periphery of station without making a shopping street, and outlet located at places apart from the "shopping street around a railroad station"
Shopping street in a residential district Outlet located at the periphery of residential district
Others around a residential district Outlet which is scattered in a residential district
Shopping street along a trunk road Outlet facing a national or prefectural road or at places easily accessible from such a road
Shopping center along a trunk road Outlet located in purpose-built commercial district facing a national or prefectural road or at places easily accessible from such a road
Others along a trunk road Outlet which is scattered along a national or prefectural road or at places easily accessible from such a road
Underground shopping area Outlet formed under the ground
Others Those which do not fall under any of the above-mentioned

(4)Discount Sales

  Whether or not so-called "discount sales" with the sales at low prices as the major management strategy of the outlet are conducted. The response to this question was obtained based on the judgment by each outlet surveyed.

(5)Number of Persons Engaged

  The total number of workers employed at the outlet as of the date of the survey (excluding part-time workers and "arubaito" (temporary workers)).
  It also includes the owner of Privately-owned outlet, employees who are the owner's family or relatives and board members.
  Temporarily transferred staffs from the different group outlets are counted as regular persons included.
  Temporary staffs sent to the different group outlets are excluded.

(6)Ratio of part-time workers and "arubaito"

  The ratio of part-time workers and "arubaito" (temporary workers) is the percentage of the part-time workers and "arubaito" to the total of persons engaged, part-time workers and "arubaito". The number of part-time workers and "arubaito" was not an actual number of workers but it was calculated by adding up working hours of part-time workers and "arubaito" on the date of the survey and converted at the rate of 8 hours as a person.

(7)Presence of rival outlets in price

  Any other outlet(s), the competition with which is taken into consideration for putting a price on commodities. The response to this question was made based on the judgment by each outlet surveyed.

(8)Type of rival outlets in price

  When the outlet has any rival outlet in price, the type of it. If there is more than one such outlet, it is the type of the main outlet.

(9)Distance to a rival outlet

  When the outlet has any rival outlet in price, the distance to it. If there is more than one such outlet, it is the distance to the main outlet.

(10)Distribution of advertisement papers

  Whether or not the outlet put out newspaper insertions in the month before the date of the survey (from October 22 to November 21). (If so, the advertisement frequency was asked.)

(11)Major suppliers 

  Main supplier of the commodities handled at the outlet

From maker, producer or farm directly Including agricultural cooperatives located in producing districts
From wholesaler Including those purchased at the wholesale market
From head office of corporation In the case of collective purchase by the head office of corporation
Others Cases which do not fall under any of the above-mentioned

3. Classification of prices

(1)Prices (charges) surveyed

  Prices (charges) surveyed do not mean the standard or listed prices but actual prices, at which items are sold to consumers (excluding those for limited-time discounts, bulk-selling, special prices such as membership discounts, prices for installment sales, etc.).
  The prices (charges) on a day before the date of the survey were surveyed, if outlets were closed on the day.
  In the case where the prices (charges) on the date of survey were short-term bargain sale prices (charges) available for less than a week, the ordinary prices (charges) immediately before the bargain sale were surveyed. The prices surveyed according to the "Questionnaire for bargain prices" were included those for terms of less than a week.

A."Questionnaire for prices"
The prices on the date of the survey were surveyed.

B."Questionnaire for bargain prices"
The daily prices from Friday, November 15 to Thursday, November 21, 2002 and the lowest price in the past month were surveyed.

Minimum (Floor) prices
Maximum (Ceiling) prices
The prices of minimum (floor) prices and maximum (ceiling) prices by each outlet surveyed. Including the outlets that had no change of prices.
Bargain prices
Normal prices
The lowest prices (Bargain prices) and the highest prices (Normal prices) by each outlet surveyed. Excluding the outlets that had no change of prices.
Difference of prices Difference between bargain prices and normal prices.

C."Questionnaire for service charges and fees"
Service charges and fees on the date of the survey were surveyed, other than those for a limited period like a monthly contract.

D."Questionnaire for internet sales prices"
The prices on the date of the survey were surveyed except charges for delivery.

(2)Mean

  Simple average of the tabulated prices.

(3)1st percentile point, 5th percentile point, etc.

  The prices in the outlets surveyed are arranged in an order from the lowest to the highest by each item and these prices mean the price positioned at the 1st percentile point or the price positioned at the 5the percentile point counting from the lowest prices.
  The 25th percentile point, 50th percentile point and 75th percentile point are the values of prices located at the three boundaries when the total number of prices is divided equally into four groups.
  Therefore, the 25th percentile point is referred to as the first quartile, the 50th percentile point as the second quartile or median (medium value) and the 75th percentile point as the third quartile. The difference between the values of the 75th percentile point and the 25th percentile point is referred to as the interquartile range. A half of the range is the quartile deviation.
  To study the differences in prices, not only average prices but also the distribution of the surveyed prices, in other words, "dispersion", is important. These percentile numbers are used as indices to study the distribution of prices.
  In addition, Cumulative frequency distribution plots and Box-and-whisker plots help illustrate the state of the price levels and the distribution of prices.

(4)Standard deviation

  Square root of variation of the tabulated prices divided by the figure subtracting 1 from number of the tabulated prices.

(5)Treatment of the consumption tax

  The tabulated prices included the consumption tax (5%). The first or second number after the decimal point was rounded.

4. Relation between prices surveyed and classification of tabulation

 The prices surveyed by each questionnaire were used in the following classification of tabulation.

[Classification of tabulation] Questionnaire for prices Questionnaire for bargain prices Questionnaire for service charges and fees Questionnaire for internet sales prices
Prices of Large-scale Outlets and Prices of Small-scale Outlets      
Bargain Prices      
Regional Difference Index of Prices    
Results by Sub-groups of Outlets      
Distribution of Service Charges and Fees      
Distribution of Internet Sales Prices      

:tabulation

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