The new Statistics Act(PDF:210KB)
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, in order to promote systematic and efficient development of official statistics 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, recognizing that official statistics are critical information for the citizens in their reasonable decision making.
The Statistics Act covers not only statistics compiled from census such as the Population Census and surveys, but also those compiled from administrative records and processed from other statistics such as the National Accounts. Important statistics were identified as Fundamental Statistics and developed systematically under the Master Plan.
Statistics compiled by national administrative organs undergo clearance individually by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications as before aiming to reduce the reporting burden by eliminating duplication among statistical surveys, etc.
Regulations are established for the provision of statistics compiled on a tailor-made aggregation basis and for the provision of anonymous micro data (individual records with anonymous respondents) for academic and research purposes.
Penalties are strengthened for those who use/provide information collected through statistical censuses and surveys for purposes other than compiling statistics and who violate the confidentiality clauses. A regulation is set out so that the same penalties are applied for private contractors to keep pace with increased outsourcing. It is prohibited to obtain information by misleading indications or explanations for a disguised fundamental statistical census or survey. Violators may be fined one million yen or imprisoned for two years or less.
The Statistics Commission was 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 plays a central role in the systematic development of official statistics by researching and deliberating on the draft Master Plan, Fundamental Statistics and gives advice to the ministers concerned.
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The Report on the Enforcement Status of the Statistics Act was made by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. This report is an annual summary and outline of reports from relevant ministries and agencies concerning the enforcement status of the Statistics Act during the year as per the provisions of the Act.
As an introduction to Japan’s activities, a link to one year’s Report on the Enforcement Status of the Statistics Act is provided below.