The legal framework to protect personal data was first developed in Europe but has been adopted by countries all over the world. Japan is one example, whose Act on the Protection of Personal Information has followed a path of convergence with the European regime (GDPR). Japan has faced the dilemma of developing such a law while at the same time constructing an environment to better exploit data for innovation. This has given rise to other data regulations like text and data mining exceptions or the Smart Cities Law.
In a digitalized world, the trans-border flow of data has become essential for trade and the exchange of services, but some protectionist trends are gaining ground at the international level, such as data localization. Japan is one of the convenors of the WTO e-commerce negotiations, and as a firm believer in the free market and multilateral trade, Japan has tried to export the same idea that applies internally. This is why Shinzo Abe coined the expression Data Free Flow With Trust, a concept whose objective is to ease the flow of data but with the necessary safeguards for cybersecurity, personal data, or intellectual property. This talk will assess Japan’s push for this concept at the international level, including its successes but also challenges, and it will put it in relation with other relevant actors, such as the United States, the EU and China.
Dr. Ana Gascón Marcén is an Associate Professor in Public International Law and EU Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zaragoza (Spain). She is a member of the Multidisciplinary Research Group “Japan”. Her main research topics are Human Rights, the interplay of Law and Information and Telecommunication Technologies (especially personal data protection) and the comparison of Japanese Law with EU Law. She is also a civil servant of the Information Society Department of the Council of Europe, currently on personal leave.
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