European Union-Japan Working Towards Stronger Data Transfer Ties


The European Union and Japan have opened talks creating a cross-border data transfer pact.

Representatives from the EU and Japan met on the sidelines of the CeBIT 2017 digital business conference in Hanover, Germany, where Japan served as the partner country for this year’s event.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, made discussion of whether to name Japan as having a strong enough privacy regime to protect EU data a priority for 2017. The Commission made its commitment know in a communication to the Eeuropean Parliament, “Exchanging and Protecting Personal Data in a Globalized World.”

The EU bars cross-border data transfers by default, unless the destination country is deemed to adequately protect EU citizen data.

Věra Jourová, EU commissioner for justice, consumer and gender equality, said such an adequacy decision would complement a EU-Japan free trade agreement being negotiated. The EU and Japan made a joint commitment to “reach a speedy conclusion” to the trade agreement.

The participants issued a joint press release reaffirming “the importance of ensuring a high level of privacy and security of personal data as a fundamental right,” and stating that new privacy legislation passed in both Japan and the EU provide an opportunity to facilitate cross-border data though and “finding an adequate level of protection.

The EU is also committed to reviewing whether South Korea has an adequate privacy regime in place.

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