The European Commission on September 5 launched the procedure for the adoption of its adequacy decision on Japan, following the conclusion of bilateral talks on personal data protection in July.

The draft adequacy decision and the related documents include the additional safeguards that Japan will apply to EU personal data transferred to Japan, as well as commitments regarding access to personal data by Japanese public authorities for law enforcement and national security purposes, guaranteeing that their level of data protection is adequate to that of the EU’s. Japan is also going through a similar process to recognise the EU’s data protection framework.

“We are creating the world’s largest area of safe data flows,” said Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. “Personal data will be able to travel safely between the EU and Japan to the benefit of both our citizens and our economies. Our partnership will promote global standards for data protection and set an example for future partnerships in this key area.”

According to a European Commission press release, each side is now going through its internal procedures towards the final adoption of its reciprocal adequacy finding. For the EU, this involves obtaining an opinion from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the green light from a committee composed of representatives of the EU Member States. Once this procedure will have been completed, the Commission will adopt the adequacy decision on Japan.

The Japanese government 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.

Now, the draft adequacy decision will be tabled before the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) which will issue its opinion. It will also be reviewed by a committee composed of representatives of the EU member states and put before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs before being adopted by the College of Commissioners.