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Friday, July 20, 2018

EU and Japan Announce Plans for Reciprocal Adequacy Findings

On July 17, the European Commission announced that the EU successfully concluded talks with Japan, begun in January 2017, with an agreement to recognise each other's data protection systems as equivalent.  The announcement was unusual in that it acknowledges that Japan has a number of significant additional safeguards to put in place before the Commission will be able to adopt an adequacy decision.  This unprecedented pre-approval reflects the EU’s close cooperation with Japan as evidenced in the same day’s announcement of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, a pact which will create the world’s largest open trade zone covering over 600 million people.

A report that both the EU and Japan expect the Commission’s adequacy decision to be adopted in the autumn of this year seems optimistic.  An detailed analysis by Prof. Graham Greenleaf, published by Privacy Laws & Business, describes the Commission’s “many rivers to cross” on the EU side, including a favorable opinion from the European Data Protection Board and the approval of the 28 EU member states, while on the Japanese side, the nation’s DPA will need to formulate and adopt a very complex and customized set of Supplementary Rules under its Protection of Personal Information Act (PPIA).  The new requirements to be met by Japan will need to be completed before the half-dozen review processes required for an adequacy decision by the EU can proceed. 

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