EU and Japan Publish a Joint Release on Their Mutual Adequacy Decisions

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On January 23, 2019, the Personal Information Protection Commission of Japan (the “PPC”) and the European Commission (the “Commission”) jointly announced the adoption of the decisions recognizing each other’s personal data protection systems as equivalent.

The Commission launched the process leading to the adoption of the adequacy decision in September 2018 and successfully completed the process by obtaining the green light from a committee composed of representatives of the European Union (“EU”) Member States.  In parallel, the PPC adopted a decision to designate the EU as equivalent under Article 24 of the Act on the Protection of Personal Information at their 85th Personal Information Protection Committee.  Now that both the Commission and the PPC adopted their equivalent decisions on the same day, the mutual adequacy decisions have become effective as of January 23, 2019.

While the Commission has adopted adequacy decisions for other countries such as Argentina and New Zealand, the adequacy decision for Japan is the first instance of such decisions since the General Data Protection Regulation came into force.  This is also the first time the EU and a non-EU country have agreed on a mutual adequacy recognition.  The joint announcement by the PPC and the Commission explains: “As data privacy and security have become a central factor of consumer trust, it is this type of convergence, based on strong laws and robust enforcement, that can ensure the sustainability of our increasingly data driven-economy and facilitate commercial flows.”  The PPC further expresses in its announcement that the world’s largest area of safe and smooth data transfers will be created with this framework.  Similarly, the Commission highlights in its announcement that the adequacy decision will complement and enhance the benefits of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which will become effective as of 1 February 2019.

The Commission is also in negotiation for an adequacy decision with South Korea.

For more information:  See Questions & Answers on the Japan Adequacy Decision.