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On 13 June 2022, the Amendment of the Telecommunications Business Act was enacted. The Amendment includes new regulations for the use of personally identifiable information and other information related to individuals, including cookies. Telecommunication service providers subject to the Amendment will be required to take measures based on the relevant ministerial orders to be enacted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in the near future.

In June 2022, the Personal Information Protection Commission, which is the regulatory authority for the protection of personal information in Japan, published its 2021 annual report. While the report does not supplement the law in any way, it does provide businesses with useful insights on the PPC’s thinking and position with respect to various types of processing of personal information under Japanese law.

In an attempt to protect its oil and gas industry, Texas has passed legislation that seeks to punish investment firms that divest from fossil fuel related investments. On 16 March 2022, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Glenn Hegar, sent a letter to 19 major financial companies which was not limited to US or Texas-based companies and included Japanese companies requesting verification that they do not engage in investment policies that result in the boycott of fossil fuel-based energy. This request was made pursuant to Texas Government Code Chapter 809: recent legislation prohibiting the Texas Government from investing in financial companies that take any action intended to penalize, inflict economic harm, or limit commercial relations with a company based on the company’s involvement in fossil fuel-based energy.

Several means exist to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, including development of new technologies, transitioning to renewable energy and voluntary energy conservation. In addition to these efforts, there is growing interest in offsetting residual emissions that are inevitably emitted despite reduction efforts through the use of carbon credits.

On May 11, 2022, the Diet of Japan approved the “Act on the promotion of national security through integrated economic measures.” Key features of the Act include the establishment of (i) a system to ensure stable supplies of critical materials, (ii) a system to ensure stable provision of services using critical infrastructure, (iii) a system that supports the development of critical technologies and (iv) a secret patent system. The Act will enter into force on or before 18 February 2023.

In recent years, a considerable number of examples of successfully monetized smart city businesses have emerged, particularly in Europe and the US. In Japan, however, very few examples of monetized, sustainable smart city businesses exist. The failure to find a business model that can be monetized would be a major problem for both companies and local governments.
In order to help tackle this issue, Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) lawyers Yaeko Hodaka and Keisuke Misuda, together with the World Economic Forum (WEF), prepared a video titled “Smart City Business Models: Factors Hindering Sustainable Commercialization and How They Can Be Overcome.”

As global and regional integration increases, multinational companies ought to navigate numerous custom-related complexities and challenges imposed by relevant authorities in any jurisdiction. This webinar series provide an in-depth coverage of legal frameworks, practical issues and key trends and developments surrounding customs audits in select Asia Pacific jurisdictions.

On May 1, 2022, the amendment to the Ministerial Ordinance for Exporter Standards and relevant administrative notices (the “Amendment”) came into force. Upon enforcement of the Amendments, so-called “Deemed Exports” will be interpreted in a more restrictive manner than previously. Although export licenses were not required for the provision of technology information between Japan residents, pursuant to the Amendment, if certain conditions are met, such provision may be regarded as a “Deemed Export” and subject to an export license under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act