Judicial redress

In order to ensure adequate protection and in particular the enforcement of individual rights, the data subject should be provided with effective administrative and judicial redress, including compensation for damages.
Before or instead of seeking administrative or judicial redress, an individual may decide to submit a complaint about the processing of his/her personal data to the controller itself. Based on Article 35 of the APPI, PIHBOs shall endeavour to deal with such complaints "appropriately and promptly" and establish internal complaint-handling systems to achieve this objective. In addition, under Article 61(ii) of the APPI the PPC is responsible for the "necessary mediation on a lodged complaint and cooperation offered to a business operator who deals with the complaint", which in both cases includes complaints submitted by foreigners. In this regard, the Japanese legislator has also entrusted the central government with the task of taking "necessary action" to enable and facilitate the resolution of complaints by PIHBOs (Article 9), while local governments shall endeavour to ensure mediation in such cases (Article 13). In that respect, individuals may lodge a complaint with one of the more than 1 700 consumer centres established by local governments based on the Consumer Safety Act (61), in addition to the possibility of lodging a complaint with the National Consumer Affairs Centre of Japan. Such complaints may also be brought with respect to a violation of the APPI. Under Article 19 of the Basic Consumer Act (62), local governments shall endeavour to engage in mediation with respect to complaints and provide the parties with necessary expertise. Those dispute resolution mechanisms appear quite effective, with a resolution rate of 91,2 % concerning more than 75 000 complaint cases in 2015.
Violations of the provisions of the APPI by a PIHBO can give rise to civil actions as well as criminal proceedings and sanctions. First, if an individual considers that his/her rights under Articles 28, 29 and 30 of the APPI have been infringed, (s)he may seek injunctive relief by asking the court to order a PIHBO to satisfy his/her request under one of these provisions, i.e. to disclose retained personal data (Article 28), to rectify retained personal data that is incorrect (Article 29) or to cease unlawful processing or third party provision (Article 30). Such an action may be brought without the need to rely on Article 709 of the Civil Code (63) or otherwise on tort law (64). In particular, this means that the individual does not have to prove any harm.
Second, in the case where an alleged infringement does not concern individual rights under Articles 28, 29 and 30 but general data protection principles or obligations of the PIHBO, the concerned individual may bring a civil action against the business operator based on the torts provisions of the Japanese Civil Code, especially Article 709. While a lawsuit under Article 709 requires, aside from fault (intention or negligence), a demonstration of harm, according to Article 710 of the Civil Code such harm may be both material and immaterial. No limitation is imposed as to the amount of compensation.
As regards the available remedies, Article 709 of the Japanese Civil Code refers to monetary compensation. However, Japanese case law has interpreted this article as also conferring the right to obtain an injunction (65). Therefore, if a data subject brings an action under Article 709 of the Civil Code and claims that his/her rights or interests have been harmed by an infringement of an APPI provision by the defendant, that claim may include, besides compensation for damage, a request for injunctive relief, notably aiming at stopping any unlawful processing.
Third, in addition to civil law (tort) remedies, a data subject may file a complaint with a public prosecutor or judicial police official with respect to APPI violations that can lead to criminal sanctions. Chapter VII of the APPI contains a number of penal provisions. The most important one (Article 84) relates to non-compliance by the PIHBO with PPC orders pursuant to Article 42(2) and (3). If a business operator fails to comply with an order issued by the PPC, the PPC Chair (as well as any other government official) (66) may forward the case to the public prosecutor or judicial police official and in that way trigger the opening of a criminal procedure. The penalty for the violation of a PPC order is imprisonment with labour for up to six months or a fine of up to 300 000 yen. Other provisions of the APPI providing for sanctions in case of APPI violations affecting the rights and interests of data subjects include Article 83 of the APPI (regarding the "providing or using by stealth" of a personal information database "for the purpose of seeking […] illegal profits") and Article 88(i) of the APPI (regarding the failure by a third party to correctly inform the PIHBO when the latter receives personal data in accordance with Article 26(1) of the APPI, in particular on the details of the third party's own, prior acquisition of such data). The applicable penalties for such violations of the APPI are, respectively, imprisonment with work for up to one year or a fine of up to 500 000 yen (in case of Article 83) or an administrative fine of up to 100 000 yen (in case of Article 88(i)). While the threat of a criminal sanction is already likely to have a strong deterrent effect on the business management that directs the PIHBO's processing operations as well as on the individuals handling the data, Article 87 of the APPI clarifies that when a representative, employee or other worker of a corporate body has committed a violation pursuant to Articles 83 to 85 of the APPI, "the actor shall be punished and a fine set forth in the respective Articles shall be imposed on the said corporate body". In this case, both the employee and the company can be imposed sanctions up to the full maximum amount.
Finally, individuals may also seek redress against the PPC's actions or inactions. In this respect, Japanese law provides several avenues of administrative and judicial redress.
Where an individual is not satisfied with a course of action undertaken by the PPC, (s)he may file an administrative appeal under the Administrative Complaint Review Act (67). Conversely, where an individual considers that the PPC should have acted but failed to do so, an individual may request the PPC pursuant to Article 36-3 of that Act to make a disposition or provide administrative guidance if (s)he considers that "a disposition or administrative guidance necessary for the correction of the violation has not been rendered or imposed".
As regards judicial redress, under the Administrative Case Litigation Act, an individual who is not satisfied with an administrative disposition made by the PPC may file a mandamus suit (68) asking the Court to order the PPC to take further action (69). In certain cases, the court may also issue a provisional order of mandamus, so as to prevent irreversible harm (70). Furthermore, under the same Act, an individual may seek revocation of a PPC decision (71).
Finally, an individual may also file an action for State compensation against the PPC under Article 1(1) of the State Redress Act in case (s)he has suffered damages due to the fact that an order issued by the PPC to a business operator was unlawful or the PPC has not exercised its authority.