What does this cover?

On 3 September 2015 the Japanese Diet announced that its two houses had passed a bill amending the Personal Information Protection Act 2003 (PIPA) (the Amendments), which was later promulgated on 9 September 2015.

Details of the regime are not currently available and the date on which the Amendments will come into force is yet to be confirmed. A new watchdog, The Personal Information Protection Committee (the Committee), will be established on 1 January 2016, uniting the advisory, investigatory and enforcement powers which are currently exercised by different bodies under PIPA.

The Amendments will introduce specific provisions on data transfers that were not included in the previous version of PIPA. Disclosure of data to a third party in a foreign country will only be allowed when that country is included in the Committee's lists or when the transferee meets the Committee's standards (unless the data subject has consigned to it under the opt-out rule or the transfer is conducted under the joint use provision).  Entities that have not handled personal information of more than 5000 individuals in the past 6 months will no longer be exempted from PIPA. 

What action could be taken to manage risks that may arise from this development?

No action at this stage – companies should await news of the implementation date and review details of the regime when they are announced.