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Reference Manual Titled “Manual for Creating De-identified Information” Compiled to Help Businesses Consider Specific Preparations for Creating Such Information

In line with the revision of the Act on the Protection of Personal Information (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) in September 2015, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has prepared and hereby announces a reference manual titled “Manual for Creating De-identified Information” for businesses concerning the procedures and methods for creating such information, which was newly defined in the Act, in referring to which such businesses will be able to consider for creating such information.

1. Outline of de-identified information

Under the Act revised in September 2015, “De-identified Information System” was newly created. Under the system, personal data, including big data, will be expected to be utilized when meeting the predetermined conditions in place of the individuals’ consent so that third parties cannot identify specific personal information contained therein.

2. Position of the manual

When businesses intend to process personal data for creating de-identified information, they have to determine for themselves how far they process it depending on the details of business involving such personal data or the patterns of use thereof since no uniform standards are provided. On this point, the Act establishes provisions requiring accredited personal information protection organizations to prepare and publicize guidelines and other references, expecting such guidelines to serve for practical use.

Since October 2015, METI has been holding meetings, bringing together experts in the academic, industrial sectors and consumer associations, to repeatedly discuss specific procedures and methods for creating de-identified information, while exemplifying specific use cases. METI then compiled the discussion results into the manual, which is expected to contribute to businesses when considering the creation of such information.

Reference 1:
Report on Survey and Research Concerning the Development of Systems Involving the Protection of Personal Information Targeting the Economic and Industrial Sectors under the FY2015 Infrastructure Development Program Concerning the Informatization and Data Creation on Economy and Society in Japan (PDF:5,512KB)PDFfile

METI expects industrial associations, companies, accredited personal information protection organizations and other entities to effectively utilize the manual for creating de-identified information or preparing guidelines therefor, thereby allowing such information to encourage the creation of new industries and services in Japan.

As additional information, METI has been considering a multistakeholder process appropriate for discussing de-identified information, and in line with this, it compiled a report in March 2015 as a reference material for the process.

Reference 2:
Report on Test Results and Other Information Concerning a Multistakeholder Process for the Utilization of Personal Data,338KB)PDFfile

Reference 3: Key points of the manual

  • Streamlined specific procedures
  • Categorizing potential risks that businesses should keep into: risks involving individual identification; risks involving matching with other data; and risks involving allowing third parties to approach individuals related to the data, and then presenting examples of specific processing methods according to the risks, e.g., erasing singular values and showing data with pseudonyms.
  • Presenting specific examination processes based on three case examples: electricity consumption data, purchase data and transfer data.

Release date

August 8, 2016

Division in Charge

Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Related Information

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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