UNSW's Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre
invites you to a free seminar,
one of the 2010 Cyberspace Law and Policy Series:


How law represents the Japanese sense of information privacy –
Information privacy and data protection in Japan


Professor Andrew Adams
Professor of Information Ethics, Graduate School, Meiji University, Tokyo
Deputy Director of the Centre for Business Information Ethics


Wednesday, 30 September 2010


12:45 for 1:00-2:00pm, including time for questions and discussion


Teaching room 101, 1st Floor (beside lifts)
Faculty of Law building
UNSW lower campus (near Roundhouse), Kensington, Sydney



There has been an academic myth since at least Benedict's 1940s "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" that the Japanese have little or no sense of privacy. This myth has been challenged by a number of scholars in recent years, all of whome point out that while the exact details of Japanese people's concepts of the various kinds of privacy (bodily, surveillance, information) differ in detail to those of other countries, these ideas still exist, and in fact contain no greater difference than that between other countries such as Germany and the US.

One of the arguments put forward for the Japanese lack of a sense of information privacy was the limited Japanese data protection legislation of 1988 which only covered government use of data, leaving commercial use of data entirely to voluntary codes of practice. However, in 2003, the Japanese government introduced revised data protection legislation for the public sector and introduced legislation it publicly stated was hoped to bring Japan under the EU's third country export regulations.

Prof Adams of Meiji University will present recent joint work with Murata (also of Meiji) and Orito (of Ehime) on the Japanese Sense of Information Privacy, historically and how this has been effected by computer and networking systems, and the broader political background to the development of the 2003 data protection legislation.

For a recent publication in this area, see Adams, Andrew A.; Murata, Kiyoshi; and Orito, Yohko (2010) "The Development of Japanese Data Protection," Policy & Internet: Vol. 2: Iss. 2, Article 5. DOI: 10.2202/1944-2866.1038
Available at:

  About the Speaker:

Starting as a student of maths and computers, Adams received a PhD in computational logic from the University of St Andrews in 1997. As a lecturer in the School of Systems Engineering at the University of Reading the opportunity to teach the computer ethics course allowed him to indulge his passion for the social impact of computer technology, and led to him undertaking an LLM in Advanced Legal Studies at that University (awarded with distinction 2005). Since then he has published papers on issues such as copyright, privacy, surveillance, ubiquitous computers in healthcare, and advised numerous EU security research projects on the legal and ethical implications of their (proposed) technology developments.

In 2007 he spent nine months as a Visiting Professor at Meiji University in Tokyo studying Japanese privacy, data protection and surveillance practices. Papers based on this work have recently been/will be published by AI & Society and Policy & Internet journals. In April 2010 he took up the post of Professor of Information Ethics within the Graduate School of Meiji University. He is currently investigating issues including: self-revelation on SNS, regulation of children's use of computer and communcations technology, openness (in its many forms) in information policy and systems, edemocracy and egovernment.


Entry is free, no need to book. Please RSVP to feedback [at]

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