The short memo from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was sent to Google’s Japan subsidiary and posted online by the government on Wednesday evening, hours before its new policy went live.
The memo stressed the importance of following local privacy laws, fully explaining the changes to users, and maintaining a flexible stance toward undertaking additional explanation or measures if needed in the future. The rare public reminder by the Japanese government appeared to be an unsubtle message to Google that its actions under the revised policy were being watched closely.
“This was just a notification, and requires no action or response from Google,” said Hayato Okai, an official from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
“We will continue to monitor Google’s policies and its actions with regard to privacy.”
Calls to Google’s public relations in Japan went unanswered Thursday. The company posted a detailed explanation of the changes to its policy on its Japanese blog that mirrored explanations posted in other regions.
The company has said the new policy greatly is much simpler and easy to understand than the multiple policies it previously maintained, and emphasized that no new information will be collected. It said users will still have the ability to delete some of their history, or migrate their data to another service altogether.