Regulation (EU) 2016/679 sets out the rules for the transfer of personal data from controllers or processors in the European Union to third countries and international organisations to the extent that such transfers fall within its scope. The rules on international transfers of personal data are laid down in Chapter V of that Regulation, more specifically in Articles 44 to 50. The flow of personal data to and from countries outside the European Union is necessary for the expansion of international cooperation and international trade, while guaranteeing that the level of protection afforded to personal data in the European Union is not undermined.
Pursuant to Article 45(3) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the Commission may decide, by means of an implementing act, that a third country, a territory or one or more specified sectors within a third country or an international organisation ensure an adequate level of protection. Under this condition, transfers of personal data to that third country, territory, sector or international organisation can take place without the need to obtain any further authorisation, as provided for in Article 45(1) and recital 103 of the Regulation.
As specified in Article 45(2) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the adoption of an adequacy decision has to be based on a comprehensive analysis of the third country's legal order, with respect to both the rules applicable to the data importers and the limitations and safeguards as regards access to personal data by public authorities. The assessment has to determine whether the third country in question guarantees a level of protection "essentially equivalent" to that ensured within the European Union (recital 104 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679). As clarified by the Court of Justice of the European Union, this does not require an identical level of protection (2). In particular, the means to which the third country in question has recourse may differ from the ones employed in the European Union, as long as they prove, in practice, effective for ensuring an adequate level of protection (3). The adequacy standard therefore does not require a point-to-point replication of Union rules. Rather, the test lies in whether, through the substance of privacy rights and their effective implementation, supervision and enforcement, the foreign system as a whole delivers the required level of protection (4).
The Commission has carefully analysed Japanese law and practice. Based on the findings developed in recitals 6 to 175, the Commission concludes that Japan ensures an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred to organisations falling within the scope of application of the Act on the Protection of Personal Information (5) and subject to the additional conditions referred to in this Decision. These conditions are laid down in the Supplementary Rules (Annex I) adopted by the Personal Information Protection Commission (PPC) (6) and the official representations, assurances and commitments by the Japanese government to the European Commission (Annex II).
This Decision has the effect that transfers from a controller or processor in the European Economic Area (EEA) (7) to such organisations in Japan may take place without the need to obtain any further authorisation. This Decision does not affect the direct application of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 to such organisations when the conditions of its Article 3 are fulfilled.