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Chapter VIII @National Statistics Center
The National Statistics Center, as an incorporated administrative agency, is performing tabulation of basic national statistics such as the Population Census and Consumer Price Index as well as working on behalf of various national and local government offices and agencies in the making of various statistics. Furthermore it is also engaged in research and development to maintain reliability of official statistics and to improve statistical technique.
The Center is also providing both public and private stakeholders with making and using infrastructures for official statistics, including an online survey system and statistical data dissemination system, while being involved in technical cooperation such as training students from a variety of countries or providing technical support and onsite instruction to developing countries.
All data collected from surveys and censuses the Center receives are processed by category, and the contents are then displayed in a statistical chart. This process is called “tabulation”.
(1) Data Capture
The Center confirms the type and quantity of survey forms and documents which are submitted by local governments and/or related other administrative bodies and stores them securely in a document storage facility when they have been sorted.
In order to compile statistical data, questionnaires are read using an OCR (optical character reader) or input by hand on PCs connected to an internal-only network.
Items of questionnaires that require subjective entry, including “Job Category”, “Kind of Work” and “Household Income and Expenditure”, are subject to coding, based on stipulated classification criteria (such as Industrial Classification, Occupational Classification, and Income and Expenditure Classification).
(3) Data Editing
Based on data entered using OCR technology and coding classification, the Center examines missing values, validity and consistency of entered data using a computer system. Deficits in individual data and inconsistencies between survey items lead to a deterioration in public trust and in the quality of the statistics.
(4) Compiling Statistical Tables
Following the end of the data editing, the “cleaned” data are compiled by computer and tabulated.
Tabulation involves, in addition to cross section data calculation by an estimation method designed for each statistical survey; collecting time series data based on a seasonal adjustment method; counting using the multivariate analysis method; and error calculation for estimating statistical accuracy. These are all based on statistical theory and a variety of techniques.
(5) Results Examining
The Center performs a variety of checks and verification such as checking the figures and formatting of results tables tabulated from the statistical data; the logical compliance of statistical values; time series verification of past values; comparison with related statistics; and verification of singular values. This is part of a comprehensive verification from several different angles, looking for inconsistencies in the data and ensuring the quality of the output tables, so as to maintain the quality of output tables.
The Center provides various national and local government and private and corporate sector bodies with a service based on the shared basic operation and use of official statistics. One such system is the Inter-Ministry Information System for Official Statistics (IMISOS), which is made up of a total of 13 different sub systems, including the Portal Site of Official Statistics of Japan (e-Stat), Online Survey System (OSS or “e-survey”) and a searchable and downloadable database. (See Chapter IV 2 (2) for more detail about the IMISOS, Portal Site of Official Statistics of Japan (e-Stat) and Online Survey System (OSS or “e-survey”))
To deliver effective and efficient secondary use service of official statistics micro data for governmental statistical departments that conduct statistical surveys and censuses, the Center, upon entrustment by ministries, administers such services as micro data archiving, anonymized data production and provision, and tailor-made tabulation. (See Chapter IV 3 for more detail about Secondary Use of statistical information)
In order to provide more accurate timely and secure statistical data, the Center is committed to:
- Research into optimal algorithms for specification and standardization targeting unfilled or mistaken responses.
- Research into artificial intelligence for assisting classification coding.
- Research into the process of keeping confidentiality to eliminate individual factors from survey results and tabulation results.
From the results of these researches, the National Statistics Center applies new technology to its statistical work, and alongside the Center demonstrates such advances at international conferences and meetings as part of overall efforts to improve and further develop the field of official statistics.
In the field of advanced statistical techniques, the Center conducts international cooperation including:
- Dispatch of lecturers to the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific
- Training students from a variety of countries
- Providing technical support and onsite instruction to developing countries