Outline of Law Concerning Electronic Signatures and Certification Services


1. Purpose

To promote the diffusion of information using electromagneticelectronic methods and information processing through securing the smooth utilization of electronic signatures, and thereby to contribute to the improvement of the citizen's quality of life of the people and the sound development of the national economy, by the presumption of the genuine establishmentauthenticity of electromagneticmagnetic records, the provisions for voluntary accreditation with regard to designatedof certification services and the prescription of other necessary matters concerning electronic signatures.


2. Contents

(1) Presumption of the authenticitygenuine establishment of electromagnetmagnetic records

A provision to the effect that ifwhen a certain electronic signature signature by the person who performed the electronic signature with regard to information recorded in an electromagnetic record is performed by a specific person in relation to information recorded in an electromagnetic record, the electromagmagnetetic record that was created in order to represent information shall be presumed to have beeen authenticgenuinely established.

* Electronic signature: an encrypted, etc. measure used to indicate the creator with regard to information recorded in an electromagnetic record and that is conducted by a method that can verify whether or not any alteration of said information has been performed. a cryptographic or similar measure which has the objective of indicating the creator of information recorded in an electronic record, and which is capable of providing verification of change if the record is changed.

(2) Provisions for accreditation of designated certification services

i. Accreditation of designated certification services

Provisions to the effect that, among certification services (services that verify that information used to confirm an electronic signature belongs to the person who performed the electronic signature), those that fulfill certain requirements shall be defined as "dDesignated cCertification sServices", and that a person seeking to perform certification service may receive the accreditation of a relatedcompetent ministers (three ministers). To this end, provisions that set out the requirements for accreditation, the duties of persons performing designatedaccredited certification services, the mark that may be used to indicate the receipt of accreditation, etc. are enacted.

(Further, provisions are made so that persons who have been sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment or greater, persons who have been punished for violating this Law, persons whose accreditation has been revoked, etc. may not receive accreditation for a prescribed period.)

ii. Treatment of foreign certification services

Foreign certification service providersproviders are also able to receive accreditation under this Law. In addition, an exception is established to the effect that certification service providersproviders who have received an accreditation in a foreign country that is similar to accreditation under this Law can receive accreditation under this Law through simplified written procedures in cases where there is a treaty between Japan and said foreign country or another international agreement. (Internationally compatible certificationmutual recognition)

iii. Designated investigative organ

Provisions to the effect that, in carrying out the accreditation of a certification services, a competentrelated ministers may have a designated person (the designated investigative organ) perform the whole or part of the investigation.

(3) Other necessary items

i. Support, etc. for designated certification service

Provisions to the effect that, in order to promote the smooth implementation of the accreditation provisions ofconcerning the designateda certification service, a relatedcompetent ministers shall conduct surveys and research with respect to the evaluation of the technologies associated with electronic signatures and the certification service and strive to provide necessary information, advice and other support to persons performing designated certification service and users.

ii. Public education activities and public information activities directed toward the citizenry

Provisions to the effect that, through public education activities and public information activities, the national government shall strive to deepen the citizens' understanding of electronic signatures and the certification services.

iii. Role of the National Public Safety Commission

Provisions to the effect that, when the National Public Safety Commissionit finds it necessary to prevent serious harm from occurring in connection with an accredited certification service, the National Public Safety Commission may requestire the relatedat a competent ministers to take necessary measures.

iv. Penaltie Provisions

Provisions to the effect that a sentence of no more than three years of penal servitude or a fine of not more than two million yen shall be imposed for an act whereby a user causes an accredited certification provider, etc. to makeperform a false certificationverification.


3. Date of enforcement

April 1, 2001