On April 4, 2023, the European Commission announced that the EU and Japan had successfully completed the first periodic review of the Japan-EU mutual adequacy arrangement, adopted in 2019. The mutual adequacy recognition – whereby Japan and the EU each have recognized the other’s data protection regime as adequate to protect personal data – complements the regions’ other bilateral partnerships, such as the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, the Strategic Partnership Agreement, and the recently launched EU-Japan Digital Partnership (see our previous blogpost here).
The review process led to the adoption of two reports by the Commission and the Personal Information Protection Commission of Japan (“PPC”), each discussing the functioning of their respective adequacy decisions. According to the Commission’s report, the convergence between the EU and Japan’s data protection frameworks has further increased in recent years, and the mutual adequacy arrangement appears to be functioning well. We provide below a brief overview of the Commission’s main findings.