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Protection of Personal Information Laws in Japan

Last modified: August 19, 2003

@ The Law on the Protection of Personal Information
the full text (Japanese)
The Law Concerning the Protection of Personal Information held by Administrative Organs
the full text (Japanese)
Purpose Protecting individuals' rights and interests in consideration of the usefulness of personal information. Having the management of public administration proper and smooth and protecting individuals' rights and interests.
Type Fundamental Law:
the basic regulatory framework for the protection of personal information.
Individual Law:
the regulation on the handling of personal information held by government agencies based on the fundamental law.
Principle Respecting the independency and autonomy of the entrepreneurs, the minimum necessary regulation shall be done from a viewpoint of protection of personal information. The handling of personal information by government shall be strictly regulated from a viewpoint of protection of personal information, and also improving openness and transparency of public administration.
Information to be regulated Personal information arranged systematically on a prescribed scale like databases. All personal information held by government agency regardless of record form. Paper document and dispersed information are also included.
Subject and Excption Person, company and any type of organization handling personal information with the exception of the press, writing, scientific research, religion activity and political activity. The duties of central and local governments are also prescribed. All administrative agencies of central government. Each local self-governing bodies are to establish local regulations based on the law. Independent administrative agencies and other organizations are regulated as well by a different law.
Rights of Person Concerned Claim for indication, correction and suspension. Purpose of using information shall be noticed. Claim for indication, correction and suspension.
Penalty Penal servitude in six months or 300,000 yen fine for the disobedience to command by the minister in charge, etc. Penal servitude in two years or 1,000,000 yen fine for the leakage of personal information file by government officials or theirs equal, etc.
Remedy Mediation by local governments.
Settlement by authorized private organization.
Investigation and deliberation by a special committee according to the protest system against public administration.
Effect Date May 30, 2003.
The provisions on the duty of private entities will take effect within two years.
The law will take effect within two years from May 30, 2003.


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