Commissioner Haruhi Kumazawa and Commissioner Věra Jourová held a very constructive meeting in Tokyo on 31st May 2018 with the aim to advance the process towards mutual adequacy findings.
They reaffirmed that a simultaneous finding of an adequate level of protection by both sides will complement and enhance the benefits of the Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and the EU, which is currently proceeding for the signing, and that the finding will also contribute to the strategic partnership between Japan and the EU.
They took note of the significant progress achieved in the past months. This includes, in particular, the agreement on solutions to bridging relevant differences between the two systems such as the Supplementary Rules, to be adopted by the Personal Information Protection Commission (PPC) following the public comment procedures, coupled with the Basic Policy on the Protection of Personal Information (Cabinet decision). It also includes the clarifications by the European Commission of the legal nature and effect of the EU General Data Protection Regulation in the European Economic Area states as well as the content of certain General Data Protection Regulation provisions.
They agreed to intensify the work with the shared commitment to complete as soon as possible both procedures – the designation of the European Economic Area by the Personal Information Protection Commission as a foreign country establishing a personal information protection system recognised to have equivalent standards to those in Japan based on Article 24 of the Act on the Protection of Personal Information (APPI) and the parallel decision by the European Commission that Japan ensures an adequate level of protection of personal data pursuant to Article 45 of the General Data Protection Regulation.
They affirmed that the Personal Information Protection Commission and the European Commission will continue to consult each other with a view to finding mutually acceptable solutions whenever there is a need for cooperation with respect to personal data based on the framework for mutual and smooth transfer of personal data between Japan and the EU.
As announced in January 2017 in its Communication on Exchanging and Protecting personal data in a globalised world, the Commission has launched a dialogue with the aim of reaching an "adequacy decision" with Japan. Adequacy decisions allow for the free flow of personal data to countries with "essentially equivalent" data protection rules to those in the EU.