Published January 1, 2010 | Version v1
Journal article Open

The Development of Japanese Data Protection

  • 1. Meiji University (明治大学)
  • 2. Meiji University
  • 3. Ehime University


In 2003, Japan enacted its first private-sector data protection legislation, complementing the concurrent update of the public-sector regulations. The publicly stated goal of the Japanese government was to support trade with Europe by providing suitably strong protection to qualify for European data-export approval. In this paper we examine the internal social and political pressures that led to the adoption of apparently strong private-sector data protection, despite prior long resistance to such a move. The pressures we have identified include direct and indirect effects of Japanese economic difficulties since the early 1990s, media pressure to update public-sector rules because of the introduction of Juki Net, and similar media pressure to apply similar rules to the private sector. We also examine the role that the technology of kanji input systems played on the lack of urgency in demands for private-sector data protection until 2000. This record was migrated from the OpenDepot repository service in June, 2017 before shutting down.



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