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Results of Quarterly Survey of Overseas Subsidiaries (October-December in 2020)

- Total sales increased by 3.8% from the previous year, an increase for the first time in eight quarters, led by an increase in transportation equipment of overseas subsidiaries in China -

March 26, 2021

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has been conducting a Survey of Overseas Subsidiaries on a quarterly basis, aiming to ascertain the business development and conditions of Japanese companies overseas, and releasing the results. METI hereby announces that it has compiled the survey results for the period of October-December 2020.

The total sales of overseas subsidiaries of Japanese companies from October to December 2020 (in US dollar values) increased from the previous year for the first time in eight quarters. This is a result led by a sales increase in overseas subsidiaries in China in the transportation equipment industry, which have grown at a quicker pace than that seen in the period of recovery from the financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. In addition to this, other sectors as well showed an increase from the previous quarter, which also shows an increase.

1. Summary of the survey results

(1) Sales

The total sales of overseas subsidiaries improved by 3.8% from the previous year, showing an increase for the first time in eight quarters. Looking at total sales in the major sectors, an increase from the previous quarter was seen in the transportation equipment industry by 5.2%, the chemical industry by 7.1% and the electrical machinery industry by 2.4%.

Looking at the sales of overseas subsidiaries by region (North America, Asia, and Europe), those in Asia, the region showing the highest composition ratio of overseas subsidiaries at 55.1%, showed an increase by 9.3% from the previous year, growth for the first time in eight quarters. In particular, sales of transportation equipment rose in China.

Sales in North America (composition ratio: 27.2%) declined by 2.0% from the previous year, a decrease for five consecutive quarters, and those in Europe (composition ratio: 11.4%) also decreased by 1.8% from the previous year, marking a decrease for ten consecutive quarters.

(2) Amount of capital investment

The total amount of capital investment by overseas subsidiaries declined by 17.6% from the previous year, a decrease for five consecutive quarters.

Looking at capital investment by region, in Asia, the region with the highest composition ratio of overseas subsidiaries at 49.8%, declined by 23.0%, marking a decrease for five consecutive quarters. In particular, capital investment in the transportation equipment industry declined.

Capital investment in North America (composition ratio: 29.8%) declined by 16.2% from the previous year, marking a decrease for four consecutive quarters, and those in Europe (composition ratio: 11.6%) also declined by 19.6% from the previous year, marking a decrease for five consecutive quarters.

(3) Number of employees

The total number of employees in overseas subsidiaries declined by 4.0% from the previous year, marking a decrease for seven consecutive quarters.

Looking at the number of employees by region, those in Asia, the region with the highest composition ratio of overseas subsidiaries at 68.6%, declined by 3.8%, marking a decrease for the seventh consecutive quarter. Employees in the electrical machinery industry and the transportation equipment industry showed a particular decline.

The number of employees in North America (composition ratio: 14.0%) declined by 3.0% from the previous year, marking a decrease for four consecutive quarters, and those in Europe (composition ratio: 9.7%) also declined by 7.9% from the previous year, marking a decrease for four consecutive quarters.

2. Announcement of the website

The documents concerning the results of the survey are available on and downloadable from the following website.

Division in Charge

Enterprise Statistics Office, Research and Statistics Department