Cooperative Dialogue between Commissioners Kumazawa and Jourová
On 20 March 2017, the Commissioner of the Personal Information Protection Commission Japan (PPC) Haruhi Kumazawa and the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vĕra Jourová held a cooperative dialogue on the personal data transfer between EU and Japan where the following issues were discussed.
1. An enormous amount of trans-border data flows including personal information have been increasingly arising accompanied with the globalization of economic and social activities and the development of information and communications technologies. In this situation, as the EU and Japan are mutually important partners, for the purpose of further developments of both economies, it is highly important to ensure mutual and smooth cross-border personal data flow while guaranteeing a high level of protection of personal information. This is also what Japanese and European stakeholders desire. Together, we also want to promote at international level our common vision of how strong privacy standards, as a central factor for consumer trust, can contribute to the further development of the data economy.
2. So far, Japan's objective has been to facilitate coordination directed toward setting up a bilateral meeting on a regular basis with the European Union, with putting into perspective the possibilities of establishing a framework to enhance mutual and smooth data transfer based on the PPC’s decision “New Initiatives for Ensuring Smooth Cross-Border Personal Data Flows”, made on 29 July 2016.
Meanwhile, in the EU, the Communication “Exchanging and Protecting Personal Data in a Globalised World” adopted by the European Commission on 10th January, 2017 stated that the European Commission will actively engage with key trading partners starting from Japan in 2017, including by exploring the possibility to adopt an adequacy finding. According to that Communication, discussions on a possible adequacy finding are a two-way dialogue that includes providing any necessary clarifications on the EU data protection rules in view of the entry into application of the General Data Protection Regulation. As such, Japan and the EU are sharing the same goal of realization of mutual and smooth cross-border transfer of personal data.
With a view to improving the mutual understanding on personal information protection systems, the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers and the Secretariat of Personal Information Protection Commission have held cooperative dialogues vigorously.
3. Today it was agreed to intensify this cooperative dialogue and make efforts to build a consensus to realise mutual and smooth cross-border transfer of personal data, including through further meetings between the European Commissioner and the Commissioner of the Personal Information Protection Commission.
From left, Ms. Jourová and Mr. Kumazawa
Concurrently, a separate meeting aimed at advancing cooperation on the data economy was held attended by Commissioner Kumazawa and the following four parties: Andrus Ansip, Vice President of the European Commission, Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender equality, Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan, and Naoki Ota, Special Advisor to the Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Japan.
Please see the joint press statement issued by the above five-party talk here (PDF：44KB) .
In relation to the above-mentioned dialogue, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a Japan-EU Summit Meeting held in Brussels on 21 March made his welcome remarks to the significant progress underway by the Japan-EU personal data protection authorities.