The European Commission has adopted its adequacy decision on Japan, allowing personal data to flow freely between the two economies on the basis of strong protection guarantees.
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This is the last step in the procedure launched in September 2018, which included the opinion of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the agreement from a committee composed of representatives of the EU Member States.
Together with its equivalent decision adopted today by Japan, it will start applying as of today.
Before the Commission adopted its adequacy decision, Japan put in place additional safeguards to guarantee that data transferred from the EU enjoy protection guarantees in line with European standards.
- A set of rules (Supplementary Rules) that will bridge several differences between the two data protection systems.
These additional safeguards will strengthen, for example, the protection of sensitive data, the exercise of individual rights and the conditions under which EU data can be further transferred from Japan to another third country.
These Supplementary Rules will be binding on Japanese companies importing data from the EU and enforceable by the Japanese independent data protection authority (PPC) and courts.
- The Japanese government also gave assurances to the Commission regarding safeguards concerning the access of Japanese public authorities for criminal law enforcement and national security purposes, ensuring that any such use of personal data would be limited to what is necessary and proportionate and subject to independent oversight and effective redress mechanisms.
- A complaint-handling mechanism to investigate and resolve complaints from Europeans regarding access to their data by Japanese public authorities. This new mechanism will be administered and supervised by the Japanese independent data protection authority.
After two years, a first joint review will be carried out to assess the functioning of the framework.
This will cover all aspects of the adequacy finding, including the application of the Supplementary Rules and the assurances for government access to data.
The Representatives of European Data Protection Board will participate in the review regarding access to data for law enforcement and national security purposes. Subsequently a review will take place at least every four years. ■