Progress Made under Japanese Government 2013 IT Strategy Plan (ACCJ Public Comment Translated from Japanese)

The Abe administration released an IT Strategy Plan in 2013 aimed at making Japan “the world’s most advanced IT nation” by 2020. The ACCJ submitted the below on May 29, 2015 in response to a request for public comments on progress made to date. The comments focused on Section 5 of the document:: “International Contributions and Reinforcing Global Competitiveness.”


An International Strategy for the Internet Economy

The time has come to change the “Made by Japan” concept to a “Made with Japan” concept that addresses how Japan can create a set of common rules for efficiently sharing data. While trade policy up until now has primarily focused on physical goods, for the first time a section on e-commerce has been included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, marking the entrance of the digital world onto the stage of international commerce. For this reason, cyber-physical systems are an issue that must be investigated not only from the viewpoint of systems, but also in terms of policy. Japan has a leading voice in many areas related to the deployment of global economic partnerships, and should actively lead the creation of international standards for data transfer. Creating rules governing the Internet economy is vital as a cornerstone of economic partnerships, and Japan must take the lead when working together with other nations who share Japan’s ideas. Japan needs to lead with its technology, but be open enough to include in its proposals the sound technology proposals of others, thereby helping shape a standard that is adopted globally and allow Japan to avoid the “Galapagos syndrome.”

  1. International standards:
    When Japan takes the lead in the creation of international standards, in addition to an “All Japan” approach, other approaches may also be necessary, such as having Japan contribute to the creation of international standards by taking the lead in involving other countries in the debate,. While Japan is actively expanding efforts such as inviting the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) General Meeting to Japan, another idea would be to follow the example of Europe’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) to aggressively create alliances involving the countries that Japan wants as its partners starting from the research & development budget allocation stage.
  2. Cross-Border Data Flows:
    With regard to the revision of the personal information protection law that is currently under deliberation to address CBDF (cross-border data flow), because so much emphasis has been placed on facilitating the transfer of data from the EU, the regulations have become rather restrictive in terms of their language. In the first place, it is not logical for this kind of negotiation to be undertaken only between the EU and individual countries. The international flow of data is not unidirectional, and has mutual benefits for each of the countries involved, so it is not as though Japan is in an unfavorable position where it must ask the EU to permit the flow of data. The EU itself has recognized that the mutual flow of data with Japan will be beneficial for the economies of Europe. Therefore, new equal standards must be created that are truly acceptable at the global level. For this reason, instead of focusing only on the EU, a policy plan should be created whereby Asia as a whole will take a position of leadership and Japan will work in cooperation with the other 21 APEC countries to negotiate for the free flow of data throughout Asia (rather than only between Japan and the EU), and to achieve interconnectedness with APEC’s Cross Border Privacy Rules System (CBPR).
  3. Cyber Security:
    With regard to cyber security, instead of using tax money to develop technology in Japan that already exists elsewhere in the world, it will be more advantageous to Japan to create its cyber security system as part of a global cooperative effort, taking advantage of Japan’s strengths in the areas where differentiation is possible or where Japan has unique capabilities to contribute.
  4. Data Localization Requirements:
    There have been numerous calls from countries like China, India, and Brazil, and even from some ASEAN nations to require that data about each country’s citizens be kept within national borders. If this trend continues, in the future it will be impossible to take advantage of the security benefits of using distributed data. While emerging nations may see from these policies short-term increases in employment, they will lose opportunities for long-term development. The Japanese government should avoid adopting “data protectionism” policies and actively work with the US government to consider new rules to promote the free flow of data.


Source: ACCJ Public Comments 
Image Source: ACCJ, Cabinet Office Homepage