As part of the new Japan Revitalisation Programme, Japanese authorities plan to prepare and publish guidelines on anonymisation of personal data. The Cabinet Office of Japan hopes that this will promote the movement of information and property by clarifying the rules related to the use of non-personally identifiable data, and help with the agenda of promoting innovation and R&D.

Japan’s data protection law, the Act of Protection of Personal Information (APPI), prohibits businesses from acquiring ‘personal information’ through unlawful means, but does not bar purchasing or selling personal information as such. At the same time, the law governs how personal data should be handled, including by using the data only for the purposes identified by the controller and notified to individuals. The anticipated guidance should help clarify the type and level of anonymisation required so the data falls outside the APPI.

There is currently no guidance in Japan on how anonymisation should work in practice. The guidance, once issued, should facilitate the use of Big Data for product development and market research.