New Direction of the Reform of the Statistical System in Japan Masahiro HORIE Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies Former Vice Minister, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Japan Outline of the Current Statistical System in Japan • The current statistical system in Japan is a decentralized one. • The current legal framework for official statistics is established mainly by the Statistics Law (1947) and the Statistical Reports Coordination Law (1952). Outline of the Current Statistical System in Japan (cont.) Main functions for overall coordination of the statistical administration are • • • • Planning basic policies on statistical systems Examining and coordinating statistical surveys of the national government Establishing statistical standards Coordinating matters related to international statistical affairs Outline of the Current Statistical System in Japan (cont.) • Almost 60 years have passed without major changes in statistical laws. • There are now deficiencies in meeting new demands and challenges, such as responding to the rapidly changing industrial structure and meeting new and various needs of data users. Discussion on the Reform of Statistics • Discussion was started in mid-2004 by the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. • A special committee was set up in the Cabinet Office in November 2004. • The committee made its report in June 2005, and its succeeding committee made its report in June 2006. Report of June 2005 • In response to changes in industrial structure, new statistics such as the Economic Census and service sector statistics should be developed. • Statistical systems should be reviewed and the function of “headquarters” for the development of statistics should be strengthened. Report of June 2006 • The committee proposed the reform of statistical systems and the reform to strengthen the “headquarters” function. • Following this report, it was decided in July 2006 by the cabinet decision that a bill for fundamental reform of the statistical systems should be submitted to the next ordinary Diet session of 2007. Necessity of Reform of Statistical Systems • Most official statistics are produced primarily for the administrative purposes. • Use of administrative records is limited. • Utilization of statistics does not sufficiently reflect new needs and advances in ICT. • Under the decentralized statistical system, the coordinating agency is not sufficiently playing a strong and an active role. Outline of the New Statistical System • • From “statistics for public administration” to “statistics as an information infrastructure of society” Basic viewpoints in establishing a new legal system 1) To build appropriate disciplines and frameworks for statistics from the viewpoints of both producers and users 2) To establish a mechanism to develop official statistics efficiently based on overall plans regardless of the source or method of producing statistics 3) To strengthen the function of “headquarters” for developing official statistics Points of the New Statistical System (1) Instituting mid-term basic plans as a statutory requirement to be decided by the Cabinet (2) Establishing rules for utilizing administrative records (3) Instituting “population information” about businesses and establishments (business frame) Points of the New Statistical System (cont.) (4) Establishing rules to make clearer the obligation to ensure confidentiality in cases when statistical surveys are contracted out to private organizations (5) Promoting the secondary use of statistical data (such as tailor-made compilation and utilization of anonymous micro data) by ensuring the protection of confidentiality (6) Establishing the new Statistics Committee (provisional title) in the Cabinet Office Conclusion • The Office of Director-General for Statistical Standards Policy (MIC) is now preparing a draft revision of the two laws. • Realizing reform of statistical systems will be essential for the further development of official statistics in Japan. Thank you !