The Japanese have warned that technology giants such as Hitachi and Arm Holdings could pull their operations out of the UK – putting over 100,000 jobs at risk – if the UK Government fails to embrace data laws which are at least equivalent to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
In an open letter to Theresa May’s Government, Japan’s foreign ministry has asked for transparent negotiation on how the UK plans to leave the EU and provide advanced warnings on any changes that will affect companies operating in both the UK and EU member states.
Japan is particularly concerned over the affect the Brexit could have on the adoption of GDPR. The letter states: “Japanese businesses have concerns that the free transfer of information might be impaired once the UK releases itself from the EU’s data protection legislation and establishes its own legislation.
“Once the UK is no longer bound by the EU’s data protection legislation, the smooth cross-border transfer of personal data between the UK and the EU may become difficult.”
To address this concern Japan is requesting that the UK maintains the current levels of information protection and the free transfer of data if it sets up its own take on the GDPR.
It also requested that the Brexit negotiations “establish close cooperation on the facilitation of data transfer among Japan, the UK and the EU”.
If Japan feels the negotiations leave its businesses at a disadvantage, the letter warned that there could be an exodus from companies with facilities in the UK to the European mainland.
“Japanese businesses with their European headquarters in the UK may decide to transfer their head-office function to Continental Europe if EU laws cease to be applicable in the UK after its withdrawal.”
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