This article explores the politics surrounding the recent data transfer agreement between Japan and the European Union, with a focus on the linkage between Japanese domestic politics and foreign pressure on Japan’s personal information protection policy. The agreement may be seen as one of mutual recognition, in that Japan and the EU mutually recognized the other as providing an “adequate level of protection” for personal data. However, a close examination of the case suggests that Japan made substantial efforts to meet the EU’s standards for adequacy in order to enhance the interests of transnationalized Japanese firms that rely on the flow of personal information across borders. In sum, the latest changes in Japanese personal information protection regulation paved the way for the Japan-EU data transfer agreement; these changes were precipitated by the extraterritorial effect of the EU’s data protection laws, which had resonated within Japan’s domestic politics.

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