The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan recently announced a code of practice for businesses regarding notification of consumers about collection and use of their personal data. The Code is not mandatory, but is intended to set recommended standards or best practices. The focus is on achieving clarity and avoiding misunderstandings between businesses and consumers - helping businesses to produce clear and informative notices as to their privacy policy in a form which consumers are able to understand. The Code recommends that in their privacy notices businesses should specify: the service that the business will provide; what data will be collected and how; how personal data will be used; whether the data will be transferred or shared and, if so, to whom; procedures for stopping collection of personal data or how to correct data already collected; how long personal data will be retained and how it will ultimately be disposed of; and relevant contact information for the business.

TIP: Although the Code is still voluntary, multinational corporations with a consumer-facing presence in Japan should review their privacy notices and ensure that these contain the information required in a form which is clear, concise and helpful to consumers.