Technological innovation is a major theme running through much of GR Japan’s work. The advances in the Internet and communications technology in particular, are the force behind developments as diverse as the emergence of the digital economy, the sharing economy, the aggregation and use of big data, the use of cloud-based services, the advance of robotics in manufacturing and healthcare, and developments in electronic trading, not to mention the impact technology is having on traditional areas such as the way people receive and disseminate information and interact with their social networks. Japan has been at the forefront of these developments. Prompted by these changes, the current Abe Administration is paying ever more attention to ICT policy, pushing ahead on issues such as the promotion of the sharing economy, the digitalization and aggregation of personal data, the handling and protection of personal information, and cyber-security. As elsewhere, these debates in Japan have been informed by sometimes conflicting needs to make best use of new technologies and explore new business opportunities on the one hand, and to ensure consumer protection and appropriate handling of personal information and privacy on the other. With major changes in the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) and the “My Number Law”) underway, and an ICT promotion law in the offing, the implications for the ICT sector are much anticipated.
GR Japan has followed the debates in this area closely for many years and has been directly involved in policy recommendations on issues such as data residency and the revision of the PIPL. We have also worked on numerous government outreach and education programs among Diet members and are supported by expert staff with direct ICT policy-making experience, including with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. We have an extensive network across government stakeholder institutions such as the IT Strategy Headquarters in the Cabinet Office, the National Information Security Center (NISC) in the Cabinet Secretariat, METI, MIC and the relevant committees and divisions in the Diet and major political parties, which has helped us support our clients with timely and insightful information and helped them to engage in the policy debate.