Legal basis and applicable limitations/safeguards
According to the information received, the MOD collects (electronic) information on the basis of the MOD Establishment Act. Pursuant to its Article 3, the mission of the MOD is to manage and operate the military forces and "to conduct such affairs as related thereto in order to secure national peace and independence, and the safety of the nation." Article 4(4) provides that the MOD shall have jurisdiction over the "defence and guard", over the actions to be taken by the Self-Defence Forces as well as over the deployment of the military forces, including the collection of information necessary to conduct those affairs. It only has authority to collect (electronic) information from business operators through voluntary cooperation.
As for the Prefectural Police, its responsibilities and duties include the "maintenance of public safety and order" (Article 35(2) in conjunction with Article 2(1) of the Police Law). Within this scope of jurisdiction, the police may collect information, but only on a voluntary basis without legal force. Moreover, the activities of the police shall be "strictly limited" to what is necessary to perform its duties. Moreover, it shall act in an "impartial, nonpartisan, unprejudiced and fair" manner and never abuse its powers "in any way such as to interfere with the rights and liberties of an individual guaranteed in the Constitution of Japan" (Article 2 of the Police Law).
Finally, the PSIA may carry out investigations under the Subversive Activities Prevention Act ("SAPA") and the Act on the Control of Organisations Which Have Committed Acts of Indiscriminate Mass Murder ("ACO") where such investigations are necessary to prepare the adoption of control measures against certain organisations (126). Under both Acts, upon request by the Director-General of the PSIA the Public Security Examination Commission may issue certain "dispositions" (surveillance/prohibitions in the case of the ACO (127), dissolution/prohibitions in the case of the SAPA (128) and in this context the PSIA may carry out investigations (129). According to the information received, these investigations are always conducted on a voluntary basis, meaning that the PSIA may not force an owner of personal information to provide such information (130). Each time, controls and investigations shall be conducted only to the minimum extent necessary to achieve the control purpose and shall not under any circumstances be carried out to "unreasonably" restrict the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution of Japan (Article 3(1) of SAPA/ACO). Moreover, according to Article 3(2) of the SAPA/ACO, the PSIA must under no circumstances abuse such controls, or the investigations carried out to prepare such controls. If a Public Security Intelligence Officer has abused his/her authority under the respective Act by forcing a person to do anything which the person is not required to, or by interfering with the exercise of a person's rights, (s)he may be subject to criminal sanctions pursuant to Article 45 SAPA or Article 42 ACO. Finally, both Acts explicitly prescribe that their provisions, including the powers granted therein, shall "not under any circumstances be subject to an expanded interpretation" (Article 2 of SAPA/ACO).
(156) In all cases of government access on national security grounds described in this section, the limitations stipulated by the Japanese Supreme Court for voluntary investigations apply, which means that the collection of (electronic) information must conform with the principles of necessity and proportionality ("appropriate method") (131). As explicitly confirmed by the Japanese authorities, "the collection and processing of information takes place only to the extent necessary to the performance of specific duties of the competent public authority as well as on the basis of specific threats". Therefore, "this excludes mass and indiscriminate collection or access to personal information for national security reasons" (132).
Also, once collected, any personal information retained by public authorities for national security purposes will fall under and thus benefit from the protections under the APPIHAO when it comes to its subsequent storage, use and disclosure (see recital 118).