Google, X Among Six Search, Social Media Operators Subject to Japan’s New Government Regulations to Protect Personal Data

REUTERS file photo
‘X’ logo is seen on the top of the headquarters of the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, in downtown San Francisco, California, U.S., July 30, 2023.

Google LLC and X Corp., which operates the service formerly known as Twitter, are among the six companies whose services will be subject to regulation by the Japanese government from as soon as October.

A council of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry released its report Tuesday saying that it is appropriate to designate the six companies, with the aim of strengthening the protection of users’ personal information.

With the enforcement of the revised Telecommunications Business Law in June, companies operating search engines and social media with more than 10 million users are newly subject to the regulations.

Google, Microsoft Corp., and LY Corp., which will be formed Oct. 1 through the merger of Line, Yahoo and Z Holdings, are designated for operating the Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines.

Google and LY Corp. are also designated for operating social media along with Meta Platforms, Inc., TikTok Pte. Ltd. and X.

Each company had already been subject to the regulations as companies offering other services such as email.

If there are cases where users’ personal information is leaked, the ministry can demand reports from and issue governmental guidance to companies subject to the regulations.