From the Director
the worlds other democracies, Japan is now grappling with a central
dilemma of the information age how to reap the powerful benefits
of information technology in business and government while safeguarding
the legitimate privacy of citizens and consumers. The ways in which
the privacy issue has developed in Japan since the 1960s and what its
dynamics are now are presented in a major publication of our Japan-US
Privacy and Data Protection Program "Consumer Privacy in
Japan and the New Personal Data Protection Program" (available
by clicking the link on the Home Page).
this White Paper documents, privacy promises to be a major social, political,
and legal battleground in Japan in 2004-2005. This is the period when
rules to implement Japans new Personal Data Protection Law must
be developed and issued by the national ministries. The rules must be
applied not only to especially sensitive areas of personal data
such as financial affairs. credit reporting, national origin, and medical
records but also to the Internet, cell and camera phones, RFID
chips, and other new technologies. How to protect individual privacy
without infringing on the freedom-of-the-press rights of the media will
be a particularly delicate challenge.
the rules must address how to strengthen the security of personal data
held by businesses and government, in light of the steady stream of
data-leakage episodes featured in the Japanese media. 2004-2005 is also
the period when privacy rules for the new electronic Resident Register
(Juki Net) and for other e-Government programs in Japan must be formulated.
these draft guidelines are sure to be put into debate by spokespersons
from the key groups engaged in the privacy issue from Japans
business, consumer, government, technology, legal and media organizations.
be noted is that these privacy debates will unfold at a time of deep
social change in Japan, when the roles of individuals, non-profit organizations,
local government, the educational system, and other key areas of Japanese
life are in significant transition. And, the worldwide terrorist threats
require Japan, as in all democracies, to strengthen anti-terrorist investigative
techniques and achieve stronger citizen personal identifications without
creating undue intrusions into privacy rights.
debates are also unfolding in a climate of sharply lower trust by the
Japanese public in key institutions; this directly affects the willingness
of Japanese citizens and consumers to have their sensitive personal
information collected and used in business and government programs.
Indeed, lack of consumer and citizen trust is at the heart of the privacy
issue, and this is what both business and government must address fully
if the right results are to be reached in Japans privacy system.
PRIVACY RESOURCE (JPR) has been designed and launched as a free service
to all those engaged in the privacy debates.
JPRs monthly Newsflash delivers up-to-the-minute privacy
news from a wide range of Japanese-language and English newspapers
and magazines; past Newsflashes will be accessible for later reference
in the News
collection of laws, regulations, lawsuits, surveys, statistics, reports
and other resources provides a thorough reference library on privacy
developments past and present.
JPR contains a library of model privacy policies by businesses on
and off the Internet, as well as model privacy ordinances by local
governments and privacy policies of local and national government
feature of the JPR is a directory of industry, consumer, legal, government,
technology, and media groups active in the privacy debates.
JPR will also include a selection of privacy laws, guidelines, regulations,
and policies from other democratic nations that may offer approaches
helpful for Japanese policy makers to consider.
However, we must stress that the JPR is just beginning
it is a work in progress. For example, not all of the materials
will initially be available in both Japanese and English, though achieving
that goal will be our priority.
welcome suggestions about other useful materials to put in our library,
and especially we invite users to send such materials to us in electronic
form. We also invite those looking at our web site to suggest ways in
which we might improve both the content and the presentation of materials
for our visitors. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
in the next few months, we will be assembling SPONSORS for the Japan Privacy
Resource, just as we have done since 1998 for the parent of JPR
Sponsors for JPR will be companies and industry associations, government
agencies, private foundations, and media organizations in Japan and in
the U.S. They will see the provision of an expert, objective, comprehensive,
and user-friendly resource on Japanese privacy developments as a significant
resource for themselves, and also a contribution to achieving good outcomes
over privacy in Japan which they will wish to support.
Alan F. Westin
Professor of Public Law & Government Emeritus, Columbia University,
Director, Japan Privacy Resource