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Chapter VI Director-General for Policy Planning
The statistical system of the Japanese government is decentralized, in that, while the Bureau conducts fundamental censuses and statistical surveys, other relevant ministries produce statistics for their own policy purposes. Under this decentralized system it is generally difficult to maintain consistency in statistical activities among different ministries, and to avoid duplication in the compilation of statistics. Therefore, the Director-General for Policy Planning is responsible for coordinating the statistical activities of different ministries.
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) To examine statistical survey plans for approval, establish a system of statistical standards, and coordinate statistical affairs,
(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 Bureau and other ministries.
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.
The responsibilities of the Directors are stipulated under Article 120 of the Cabinet Order on the Organization of the MIC.
The Director for Statistical Planning is in charge of the government-wide coordination of statistical activities, based on the Statistics Act. Duties include fundamental planning related to improving and developing statistics and the statistical system, planning statistical training programs and qualifying examinations for statistical personnel, and managing and funding statistical personnel at local governments.
The respective duties of the three Directors for Statistical Clearance are as follows:
(a) Examining, clearing, and coordinating statistical surveys pertaining to mining and manufacturing, construction, transportation, communications, enterprises, labour, finance, family income and expenditure, housing, etc.
(b) Examining, clearing, and coordinating statistical surveys pertaining to population, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, social welfare, culture, education, etc.
(c) Coordinating the compilation of national Input-Output tables and the establishment of statistical classifications such as the Japan Standard Industrial Classification, etc.
The Director for International Statistical Affairs is in charge of the government-wide coordination of international statistical affairs involving Japan. For example, the Director serves as a liaison for exchanges of important statistical information with international organizations including the United Nations (UN), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as the statistical offices of foreign governments and the ISI; prepares views and comments for the government of Japan to be submitted to international conferences; and participates in the International Comparison Program (ICP). The Director also collects and disseminates statistical information obtained from other countries. The Director for International Training Cooperation is subordinate to the Director for International Statistical Affairs, and cooperates in providing statistical training at the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP).
The new Statistics Act came into effect in Japan in April 2009. It was thoroughly revised and promulgated in May 2007, which was the first time since its enforcement sixty years ago. 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.
The following is the summary of the new Statistics Act.
Summary of the Statistics Act
(1) To develop official statistics more systematically
The Statistics Act covers not only statistics compiled from censuses and statistical surveys (survey statistics), but also those compiled from administrative data (statistics derived from administrative records) and those processed from other statistics (processed statistics).
(a) Master Plan
The Master Plan shall be established and approved by the Cabinet to develop official statistics in a comprehensive and systematic manner.
(b) Fundamental Statistics
Important statistics, including not only survey statistics such as the Population Census, but also processed statistics such as the National Accounts and statistics derived from administrative records, compiled by administrative organs, are identified as Fundamental Statistics and developed systematically under the Master Plan.
(c) Statistical surveys carried out by administrative organs
Statistical surveys carried out by administrative organs undergo individual clearance through the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications with a view to reducing the reporting burden by eliminating duplication among statistical surveys, etc.
(2) To enable more effective use of official statistics
Regulations are established for the provision of statistics compiled on a tailor-made aggregation basis, and for the provision of anonymized data (individual records from anonymous respondents) for academic and research purposes.
(3) To strengthen confidentiality protection
(a) Penalties are strengthened for those who use/provide information collected through censuses and statistical surveys for purposes other than compiling statistics and who violate confidentiality clauses.
(b) A regulation is set out so that the same penalties are applied to private contractors to keep pace with increased outsourcing.
(c) It is prohibited to obtain information by misleading indications or explanations for a disguised fundamental census or statistical survey. Violators may be fined one million yen or imprisoned for two years or less.
(4) To establish the Statistics Commission
The Statistics Commission is set up in the Cabinet Office as a technical and neutral organization for research and deliberation, which consists of up to 13 learned and experienced experts. The Commission is charged with researching and deliberating important matters related to developing official statistics systematically in order to discuss the Master Plan and fundamental Statistical surveys, and give advice to the ministers concerned.
Based on Article 4 of the Statistics Act (Act No. 53 in 2007), The Master Plan Concerning the Development of Official Statistics was established and approved by the Cabinet in March 2009. The government as a whole propels the Master Plan, building the required promotion system such as the "Master Plan Promotion Committee".
In March 2014, based on Article 4 of the Statistics Act, in consideration of the changes in the socio-economic situation surrounding statistics and based on the evaluation of the effects of the measures for the development of official statistics, it was decided to revise the "1st Term Master Plan" into "2nd Term Master Plan" beginning in FY2014.
In the 2nd Term Master Plan, in order to promote systematic development continuing to aim at "securing and improving statistical usefulness," which is also stated as an important target in the 1st Term Master Plan, the government as a whole shall promote various measures that emphasize the following viewpoints:
1 Securing and improving compatibility between statistics
In the systematic development of Official Statistics centered on Fundamental Statistics, the aim is to secure and improve compatibility between statistics, such as by building a new framework for industrially-related economic structure statistics with the Economic Structure Statistics as the axis.
Moreover, improvement in comparability between statistics, such as by arranging employment and labor-related terms and definitions, is also aimed at.
Furthermore, consideration shall be made on how statistics should be newly developed, such as adjusting items which should be surveyed commonly in relevant economic-statistics surveys, or producing statistics that utilize the common establishment codes of the Business Register.
2 Securing and improving international comparability of statistics
In developing National Accounts, securing and improving international comparability is aimed at, such as by corresponding to 2008SNA, which is the international standard adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission from 2008 to 2009.
Also along with contributing to the consideration of international standards and guidelines for various statistics, such as the revision of international standards on employment and unemployment at the International Labour Organization (ILO), efforts shall be made to produce and provide statistics based on these trends.
3 Adequate responses toward environmental changes in the economy and society
Efforts shall be made to improve statistics that correspond to economic globalization, such as concerning conformity with standards at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the dissemination of economic and financial statistics, as well as on countermeasures against global warming and other environmental issues.
In addition to gender statistics, the production and provision of statistics concerning changes in the environment/needs of the economy and society, including the revision of existing statistics aimed at improving tables of statistics by region and by age, shall be promoted.
In addition, changes in the economic environment, including the hike in the consumption tax rate, shall be dealt with appropriately.
Also, securing necessary statistical resources (including functional maintenance of the system for conducting statistical surveys, which is the foundation for the production and provision of statistics) and increasing people's understanding shall be promoted. At the same time, everyday preparations for disasters shall be strengthened, based on the lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
4 Promotion of accurate and efficient production of statistics
Based on the presently severe condition of the administrative and financial situation and survey environment, statistics shall be produced and provided efficiently, while securing statistical accuracy, such as by utilizing administrative-records information and promoting online surveys considering the progress made in information and communication technology (ICT).
Also the utilization of the Business Register and the promotion of accuracy and efficiency of the production of statistics shall be developed. At the same time, the reduction of respondents' burden shall be pursued, such as by reducing the overlapping of sampling (i.e. preventing a respondent from being selected as a sample in too many surveys) and reducing the number of survey items.
5 Promotion of the open statistical data and transparency of the statistical production process
In addition to improving the quality reports concerning statistics production methods and estimation methods, a lot of improvement in the transparency of the statistics production process shall be aimed at, such as by considering the introduction of a process assurance.
Also, the provision of statistical data depending on the type of use shall be considered, based on the security level or level of anonymity, such as for the tailor-made tabulation from the perspective of easing use conditions.
Furthermore, regarding the Portal Site of Official Statistics of Japan (e-Stat), measures to make statistical data more open shall be further promoted, such as by providing an API function and promoting technical research aimed at improving statistics that can be seen on maps (statistics GIS), etc.
Further, to coordinate the statistics and statistical activities of the government as a whole based on the Master Plan, the Director-General for Policy Planning examines the specific plans for all statistical surveys, and whenever necessary may advise the governmental organizations concerned to make improvements to these plans. This examination is carried out in two situations: when a detailed plan for conducting a statistical survey is submitted by the governmental organization concerned to obtain approval from the Minister, or when budgetary requests are submitted for conducting statistical surveys over the next fiscal year. How the examination by the Director-General for Policy Planning in both these situations proceeds is described in detail below.
Examination when a survey plan is submitted to the Minister for approval
In accordance with the provisions of the Statistics Act, any governmental organization intending to conduct a census or survey must submit a plan for the survey to the Minister. The plan is then examined by the Director-General for Policy Planning.
To conduct a fundamental statistical survey, the governmental organization planning the survey must seek approval from the Minister in advance on the various aspects stipulated by the Act. Such aspects include the purpose of the survey, contents, coverage, date and method, tabulation plan, date and format for releasing the results, and estimated cost. In principle, the Minister must consult with the Statistics Commission when a judgment is made as to whether to give approval or not.
Examination of statistical budgets
When the budget proposals of all the governmental organizations for statistical surveys and related activities for the following fiscal year have been submitted to the Ministry of Finance, the Director-General for Policy Planning examines them from the viewpoint of overall cross-sectional coordination, necessity, and methodological adequacy, and submits its conclusions to the Ministry of Finance to support the Ministry as it prepares a draft budget.
To ensure the accuracy and objectivity of statistics, and promote comparability and the effective use of statistics, four standard statistical classifications have been established in Japan.
They are as follows:
(a) The Japan Standard Industrial Classification
(Established in 1949, with the 13th revision dating back to 2013 now in force)
(b) The Japan Standard Classification of Occupations
(Established in 1960, with the 5th revision dating back to 2009 now in force)
(c) The Japan Standard Commodity Classification
(Established in 1950, with the 5th revision dating back to 1990 now in force)
(d) The Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death
(Established in 1951, with the 5th revision dating back to 2005 now in force)
The Japan Standard Industrial Classification as well as the Japan Standard Classification of Occupations are determined after consulting with the Statistics Commission and are promulgated by the Minister. The Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death is drafted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, is determined after consulting with the Statistics Commission, and is promulgated by the Minister. The Japan Standard Commodity Classification is also determined after consulting with the Statistics Commission by the Minister.
Input-Output Tables systematically present and clarify all the economic activities being performed in a single country, showing how goods and services produced by a certain industry in a given year are distributed among the industry itself, other industries, households, etc., and presents the results in a matrix (row and column) format. It is generally accepted that input-output tables are useful and important for economic and industrial structural analyses, and economic projections. Consequently, they are now compiled in more than 80 countries.
Input-Output Tables for Japan have been compiled basically every five years since 1955 in a joint program involving governmental organizations. The present members of the joint program are the MIC (coordinator), the Cabinet Office (CAO), the Financial Services Agency (FSA), the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), and the Ministry of Environment (MOE).
The 2005 Input-Output Tables are the latest, the preliminary report was published in August 2008, and the final count report was published in March 2009. Linked Input-Output Tables are also compiled to allow comparison over time. The 1995-2000-2005 linked Input-Output Tables are the most recent, and were published in March 2010.
Currently, the 2011 Input-Output tables are being compiled, and the preliminary report of them was released in the end of 2014.
Each prefecture of Japan has its own statistics division, which is responsible for the fieldwork associated with large-scale censuses and statistical surveys carried out by the central government, such as the Population Census, the Economic Census, and the Census of Manufacturers. The statistics divisions of the prefectural governments handle the tasks entrusted to them by the Cabinet Office, the MIC, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, etc. in an integrated way. The respective ministries supply the funds required for the fieldwork of censuses and statistical surveys.
The statistics division in each prefecture has its own personnel exclusively engaged in statistical affairs. The number of such personnel assigned to each prefecture is determined by the Director-General for Policy Planning in accordance with workload. The total number of such statistical personnel in fiscal year 2013 was 1,811. Remuneration of these personnel and other associated expenses are subsidized by the Director-General for Policy Planning as the Expenses Entrusted to Local Governments for Statistical Survey Affairs, amounting to around 42.1 billion yen for fiscal year 2013. The number of such personnel in prefectural statistics divisions has been reduced in line with a steady movement toward rationalization in the central government, and the personnel reduction plans of successive administrations.
For large-scale censuses and statistical surveys, municipalities (cities, towns and villages) are involved in fieldwork under the guidance of the prefectural statistics divisions. In almost all municipalities, the divisions in charge of general affairs, finance, planning, public relations, regional development, commerce and industry, tourism, etc. also engage in statistical work. The number of personnel engaged in statistical work in the municipalities totaled 8,068 as of April 2013. Of these, only 1,199 were exclusively engaged in statistical work, with the remaining 6,869 also being involved in other forms of work. The expenses for maintaining statistical personnel in municipalities are covered by grants from the Local Allocation Tax System of central government.
The Director-General for Policy Planning carries out activities to deepen the general public's interest in and understanding of the importance of statistics, and to obtain greater public cooperation in carrying out government statistical surveys. One such effort has been the introduction of Statistics Day, which the government in 1973 decided would be observed on October 18.
This date was selected to commemorate the day in 1870 when a Dajokan Fukoku (corresponding to a Cabinet Order today) was promulgated concerning the "Table of Products by Prefecture," the first modern statistical table in Japanese history. (This date was September 24, 1870 in the old lunar calendar, and corresponds to October 18 in the current solar calendar.)
The Cabinet agreed that a variety of events promoting statistical knowledge and understanding should be held nationwide on and around Statistics Day every year. Therefore, the ministries of the central government, local governments and other related organizations present awards to persons who perform meritorious statistical services, hold or sponsor lectures and exhibitions, and engage in a variety of other initiatives to mark the occasion. The Director-General for Policy Planning produces and displays thousands of posters advertising Statistics Day, and supports various events, including statistical conventions. Other major events in which the Director-General for Policy Planning is involved are:
(a) Symposium on Official Statistics by Academicians and Practitioners
Statistical academicians and statistical practitioners (those engaged in producing statistics in national and local governments, as well as users of statistics in governmental organizations, private companies, and other bodies) gather every year to exchange views on issues confronting the field of official statistics, and to promote the development and improvement of the official statistical system in Japan.
(b) The award for meritorious statistical services, presented by the Minister
This award is presented at the Symposium.
(c) Display of posters for Statistics Day
The public has been invited to contribute slogans for these posters since fiscal year 1992, with the best slogan being used on the 90,000 Statistics Day posters displayed nationwide.
(d) Support for the National Competition of Graphic Statistics
Excellent work is recognized each year by the Minister's Special Award at the Symposium.
(e) Publicity through newspapers, publications, etc.
The Director-General for Policy Planning, acting as a liaison officer, is responsible for the comprehensive coordination of the international statistical affairs of the entire government and cooperation with the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP).
The Director-General for Policy Planning performs the coordination in the government necessary for international statistical conferences. This is done by compiling the official comments of the government extending over the jurisdictions of several ministries for international meetings, by being actively involved in the conferences, and hence making significant contributions to international statistical activities. The following are the main statistical conferences the Director-General for Policy Planning participates in regularly:
(a) United Nations (UN)
Japan has been one of four member countries in the Asian region of the UN Statistical Commission since 1962 (except for the period from 1970 to 1972). The Office of the Director-General for Policy Planning (referred to as "the Office" hereinafter), representing the Japanese government, contributes to considerations in the sessions of the Statistical Commission (held annually). The Office also participates in other UN meetings and seminars dealing with inter-ministerial issues such as climate change and financial crises.
(b) United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
As a member of UNESCAP, the Office participates in the Commission sessions (held annually) and the sessions of the Committee on Statistics (held biennially).
(c) United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
The Office participates as an observer in plenary sessions of the Conference of European Statisticians of the UNECE (held annually).
(d) Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
As a member of the OECD, the Office participates in the sessions of the Meeting of the Committee on Statistics and Statistical Policy (held annually). The Office also participates in other meetings and seminars related to its interest organized or co-organized by the OECD.
(e) International Statistical Institute (ISI)
The Director-General for Policy Planning is an Ex-officio Member of the ISI. The Office participates in biennial ISI sessions and takes on appropriate roles such as the paper presenter and chairperson. The Office hosted the ISI 19th session in 1930, the 32nd in 1960, and the 46th in 1987.
As an institutional member of the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS), which is a section of ISI, the Office also participates in conferences and seminars of its interest organized by the IAOS.
The Director-General for Policy Planning participates in the following international statistical activities as the coordinator of the official statistics of Japan. The Office prepares the necessary data and information for these activities with the cooperation of each statistics producing organization, and participates in international meetings in connection with the activities when requested.
(a) International Comparison Program (ICP)
The ICP is an international project that was launched in 1969 to make a substantial comparison of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in real terms among various countries in the world by calculating the purchasing power parities (PPP) of the currencies of these countries. As part of the ICP project, the Joint OECD-Eurostat PPP Program with the participation of member countries of OECD and European Union (EU) has been implemented since 1980, under the leadership of the Statistics Directorate of the OECD and the Statistical Office of the EU (Eurostat). Japan has been taking part in the program from the beginning, and the Office acts as the domestic coordinator. The websites relating to ICP are as follows:
Joint OECD-Eurostat PPP Program: http://www.oecd.org/std/prices-ppp/
(b) Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS)
Japan complies with the SDDS, established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1996, to ensure the transparency of economic and financial statistics and give early warning of possible economic crises. The Office has been assigned as the SDDS coordinator's position in Japan, and has been promoting compliance by the relevant organizations with the Standard. In addition, the Office is responsible for providing metadata, which is made available through the electronic bulletin board on the IMF website (Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board [DSBB]); this website provides the latest metadata concerning data dissemination practices in participating countries that comply with the Standard. The Office has also set up and maintains a national summary data page on a website presenting the latest major data for the 18 data categories prescribed by the SDDS. The websites relating to the SDDS are as follows:
National summary data page: http://www.soumu.go.jp/english/dgpp_ss/nsdp.htm
The Office, with the cooperation of the concerned statistics producing organizations, provides statistical data and information to international organizations and foreign countries according to their requirements. Further, the Office produces several English publications introducing the statistical activities of Japan for the convenience of foreign countries and international organizations.
For the sake of the concerned organizations in Japan, the Office conducts several activities: a biannual meeting among government executives to have common knowledge and understanding of international statistical issues, a portal site where the Japanese government officers can obtain necessary statistical information such as international standards and guidelines, and a publication by which the Japanese can become familiar with statistical systems of foreign countries.
The Government of Japan invited the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP: http://www.unsiap.or.jp ) to set up in Japan, and has been contributing to international cooperation in statistics by supporting the training activities of SIAP for many years.
SIAP was established in Tokyo in 1970 by 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific region with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to train government statisticians from countries in the region. SIAP was accorded the legal status of a subsidiary body of UNESCAP on April 1, 1995.
The expenses of SIAP staff members are funded by cash contributions from the members and associate members of UNESCAP. As the host government, Japan extends administrative assistance and cooperation, including staff services, building space, computer facilities, supplies and equipment to SIAP through the Office of the Director-General for Policy Planning in addition to cash contributions. Japan also provides fellowships for major training courses conducted at SIAP as part of its technical cooperation program through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The financial contribution of the government of Japan was around US$3.11 million for the fiscal year 2013.
In addition, Japan is one of the members of the SIAP Governing Council, which reviews the administration and financial status of SIAP and the implementation of its program of work. The Director-General for Policy Planning has attended the meeting as the representative of the Government of Japan, and made many contributions to the discussions in the Council while serving as the Vice-Chairperson of the Council.
The purposes of SIAP are to strengthen, through practically- oriented training for official statisticians, the abilities of developing countries to collect, analyze and disseminate statistics, as well as produce timely and high-quality statistics for use in economic and social development planning. It also aims to assist these developing countries with establishing or enhancing their statistical training capabilities and other related activities. For these purposes, SIAP conducts the following training courses:
(a) Group Training Course in Improving Capability in Producing Official Statistics Relating to MDGs Indicators
This course is the main SIAP training program, and is conducted every year for four months for statisticians or government officials with basic knowledge of official statistics and with five years of work experience in the National Statistical Organizations (NSO) of each country in the UNESCAP region. It provides theoretical and practical training in various fields of official statistics, as well as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Indicators. This course deals with statistical and survey methods, demographic and social statistics, and National Accounts and economic statistics including modern statistical practices of the Japanese statistical system. The Government of Japan grants fellowships for this course through JICA.
(b) Group Training Course in Production and Statistical Analysis of Monitoring Indicators in Support of Inclusive Development Policies
This course is conducted for six weeks for middle level statisticians or government officials who are engaged in data collection, analysis and dissemination of information relating to social and economic statistics, including MDGs. It provides training in production and analyses of official statistics and indicators from household surveys in support of socio-economic disparity analyses. The Government of Japan grants fellowships for this course through JICA.
(c) Tokyo Metropolitan Area Course (TMA Course)
This course provides special training on emerging or key issues for middle level or senior statistical officials from countries in the Asia-Pacific region. "Workshop on Improving the Integration of a Gender Perspective into Official Statistics," "Workshop on Forging Partnerships in Statistical Training in Asia and the Pacific: Making e-Learning Work for Us," and "Regional Training on Using Population Census Data for Planning and Decision Making: Thematic Analysis on Youth" have been conducted at SIAP in 2013.
(d) Research-based Training Programme
This course is designed to meet specific needs of participants and their nominating NSOs. The course is implemented to enable NSOs to build up research capability of statisticians at the country level in the Asia-Pacific region.
(e) Regional or Sub-regional Training Courses, Workshops and Seminars
These courses deal with special statistical topics at the request of individual countries, and are of short duration. SIAP requests the cooperation of NSOs and related organizations in these undertakings.
(f) In addition, SIAP often conducts Country Courses, based on requests from countries in the Asia-Pacific region. SIAP sends lecturers for the courses held in the countries making such requests.