The Japan Statistical Yearbook has been published ninety-six times, from the first edition of the "Statistical Yearbook" in 1882 to the latest 1987 edition, each edition compiling a wide range of statistics concerning Japan. However, as the principal purpose of these yearbooks is to publish data for the year under review, considerable efforts are required for using them as time-series statistics over a long period. Therefore, the Japan Statistical Association, with the comprehensive cooperation of the Statistics Bureau, Management and Coordination Agency, has undertaken to publish the "Historical Statistics of Japan" which synthetically compiles a long-term series of statistics dating back to the Meiji period.
This book contains data covering one hundred and twenty years, from the first year of Meiji (1868) when Japan took the initial step toward the modernization of the country, up to the present. A maximum number of principal items selected from all fields, including population, economy, society, culture, etc., are collected over as long a historical period as possible, and compiled synthetically and systematically.
The publication consists of five volumes:
Volume 1 : Land and population
Volumes 2～4 : Economic statistics
Volume 5 : Social and cultural statistics
Also, as this series presents a detailed explanation of the system of statistics of Japan, as well as the system and history of statistics in each field and individual survey, I believe it will provide comprehensive and able guidance in the study of statistics of Japan.
It was a laborious task to arrange these Japanese historical statistics and keep their continuity because many changes had been made since the Meiji period. Therefore, a research committee was organized to consult scholars and specialists on their opinions and views. Reports and surveys by the government ministries and agencies concerned were fully utilized and also, we were favoured with their advice on the statistics published herein. In some places, we were permitted to transcribe statistics which were compiled for other publications. We would like to express our deep appreciation to all those people, particularly, the staff of the Statistics Bureau and Statistics Centre, Management and Coordination Agency who cooperated immeasurably in the collection of data and the publication of this book.
The basic policy for the compilation of this book was to record the original data as accurately as possible, and we are entirely responsible for the compilation and processing of statistics in this book.
We sincerely hope that this book will be useful not only for specialists in economics and statistics, but people of every field.
Japan Statistical Association
Twenty years have passed since Japan Statistical Association published the Original Edition of Historical Statistics of Japan. It was widely accepted as a comprehensive and systematic collection of long-term statistics covering Japanese history since the Meiji Era. As the time passes, however, expectation of users emerged for extension of time-series and adoption of newly developed statistics.
To meet such expectation, preparatory work of the New Edition was started in October 2001 with an aim to review the Original Edition thoroughly from the latest viewpoint and to reconstruct the system of historical statistics. Experts of various fields of statistics were called to form the "Advisory Committee on the New Edition of the Historic Statistics," where basic policy for the revision was deliberated. The staff members of Japan Statistical Association were engaged in collecting and examining source materials, collating time series, and preparing explanatory and introductory notes.
Part of the product has been already on the website of Statistics Bureau of Japan and served to the public. Now, the New Edition has been finally completed by elaborately revising the web version.
Long-term statistics illustrate the history of our country or regions by various figures, and are indispensable not only for socioeconomic analysis of the past but also for projection of the future. Many of the statistical organizations in the Government are now preparing time-series data in the fields concerned.
Preparing comprehensive long-term statistics demands hard and difficult work of knowledgeable and experienced staff in searching data sources, examining changes in definitions, and collating time-series. Therefore, any historical statistics cannot be complete. I have to admit the New Edition is not an exception, even for the post-war series.
It is our advantage that we could use the Original Edition as a basis to construct a new system of historical statistics, and the New Edition can be said fairly solid. Still, some of the advice of the Advisory Committee could not be realized in the New Edition. I feel that we have to continue the work for improving historical statistics by incorporating these advice as well as views of users.
I hope the New Edition is also accepted by the public and utilized for various fields of statistical analysis.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the cooperation of the staff of many statistical organizations who provided valuable data and advice, as well as for the devotion of the members and experts of the Advisory Committee.
Japan Statistical Association