The Bank of Japan is considering collecting data from businesses for its monthly price statistics online, to streamline its operations, it was learned Tuesday.

Currently, the central bank sends and receives survey slips by mail.

The BOJ aims to introduce the online procedures around fiscal 2022, as it is expected to take a few years to make the computer system preparations necessary for the shift, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

The new method is expected to be used for the BOJ’s producer price and service producer price surveys. For the surveys, BOJ employees currently enter some 12,000 items of price data manually for goods and services traded between businesses.

The BOJ has already introduced online procedures for parts of work to compile its closely followed tankan quarterly business sentiment survey.

If the price statistics go online, the BOJ will be able to improve the efficiency of its counting and other statistics-related operations.

Businesses responding to the surveys have called for the introduction of online procedures to reduce the time and costs involved.

Among Japanese price statistics, the consumer price index, released by the internal affairs ministry, covers a wide range of goods and services.

Meanwhile, the BOJ statistics track prices for goods and services at wholesale and other stages of business transactions. The BOJ uses the data to assess the state of the economy and the supply-demand balance for goods, and to make monetary policy judgments.

Calls for streamlining work related to statistics have been mounting since government labor survey irregularities came to light. Some pundits attribute the irregularities to shortages of human and financial resources available for statistics-related tasks.

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