Empowering Transparency: A Closer Look at Japan’s 2022 Whistleblower Legislation

In 2022, Japan took a significant step towards enhancing corporate transparency and accountability with the introduction of new whistleblower legislation. This move reflects a growing global recognition of the importance of protecting individuals who come forward to expose wrongdoing within organizations. Let’s explore the key aspects of this legislation and its potential impact on Japan’s business landscape.


Japan has historically been known for its strong emphasis on group harmony and loyalty. While these values contribute to a cohesive society, they can also create challenges when it comes to uncovering and addressing internal misconduct. Recognizing the need to strike a balance between these cultural values and the imperative for transparency, the Japanese government embarked on developing comprehensive whistleblower protection measures.

Scope of the Legislation

The 2022 whistleblower legislation in Japan aims to protect individuals who report various types of misconduct within their organizations. This includes but is not limited to financial fraud, corruption, safety violations, environmental abuses, and other unethical practices. The legislation covers both the public and private sectors, signaling a commitment to fostering a culture of accountability across various industries.

Key Protections for Whistleblowers

One of the primary features of the legislation is the protection it provides to whistleblowers against retaliation. Employees who report misconduct are shielded from adverse employment actions, ensuring that they can come forward without fear of reprisal. This protection extends to a range of measures, including termination, demotion, harassment, and any other discriminatory actions.

Moreover, the legislation establishes a confidential reporting mechanism. Whistleblowers can disclose information through designated channels, ensuring the protection of their identity. This confidentiality is crucial for encouraging individuals to speak up without the fear of jeopardizing their careers or personal safety.

Obligations for Employers

To facilitate a culture of transparency, the legislation places responsibilities on employers as well. Companies are required to establish internal reporting systems and provide clear guidelines on how employees can report misconduct. This not only streamlines the reporting process but also ensures that whistleblowers have access to the necessary support and protection.

Furthermore, employers are prohibited from taking retaliatory actions against whistleblowers. Failure to comply with these provisions can result in legal consequences for companies, emphasizing the seriousness with which the Japanese government views the need for robust whistleblower protection.

Cultural Implications

Implementing whistleblower legislation in Japan is not just a legal matter; it also involves navigating cultural nuances. The emphasis on group harmony and loyalty, deeply ingrained in Japanese society, may pose challenges in promoting a culture of speaking out against one’s own organization. Striking a balance between promoting transparency and respecting cultural values is a delicate yet crucial task.

Efforts to raise awareness about the benefits of whistleblowing and the protections afforded by the legislation are essential. Education campaigns can help reshape perceptions and highlight the positive impact that reporting misconduct can have on organizations and society at large.

International Perspectives

Japan’s move to strengthen whistleblower protection aligns with global trends. Many countries have recognized the pivotal role whistleblowers play in uncovering corporate misconduct and safeguarding public interest. The legislation places Japan among the nations actively working to create an environment where individuals feel empowered to report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal.

Potential Challenges

While the legislation marks a significant stride, challenges may arise in its implementation. Ensuring that companies across diverse sectors fully embrace the spirit of whistleblower protection is an ongoing process. Overcoming any resistance to change and fostering a genuine commitment to transparency will be critical in realizing the legislation’s intended impact.


Japan’s 2022 whistleblower legislation represents a pivotal moment in the country’s journey towards greater corporate accountability. By providing robust protections to those who expose misconduct, the government aims to foster a culture where transparency is valued, and unethical practices are swiftly addressed. As the legislation takes root, its success will depend not only on legal frameworks but also on a collective effort to reshape cultural attitudes towards whistleblowing, ultimately contributing to a more accountable and transparent business environment in Japan.

Unveiling the Power of Whistleblower Programs: A Strategic Advantage for Companies


In an era where corporate transparency and ethical conduct are paramount, whistleblower programs have emerged as a critical tool for companies committed to fostering a culture of integrity. A whistleblower program encourages employees to report misconduct, violations, or unethical practices within the organization without fear of reprisal. This article explores the myriad benefits that a whistleblower program can offer to companies, ranging from safeguarding reputation to enhancing overall organizational health.

1. Early Detection and Mitigation of Risks

   One of the primary advantages of implementing a whistleblower program is the early detection of potential risks and wrongdoing within the company. Employees, being the eyes and ears of an organization, can provide valuable insights into irregularities that might otherwise go unnoticed. By acting as an internal monitoring system, a whistleblower program allows companies to address issues promptly, preventing them from escalating into larger, more damaging problems.

2. Protecting Reputation and Building Trust

   Reputation is a fragile asset that can take years to build and moments to destroy. A whistleblower program signals a commitment to ethical conduct, transparency, and accountability, thereby enhancing a company’s reputation. By demonstrating a willingness to address internal issues, companies build trust not only with their employees but also with customers, investors, and other stakeholders.

3. Legal Compliance and Regulatory Adherence

   Many industries are subject to a complex web of regulations and compliance standards. Whistleblower programs play a pivotal role in ensuring that companies adhere to these legal requirements. By providing a mechanism for employees to report potential violations, companies can stay ahead of regulatory challenges, avoiding legal consequences and financial penalties.

4. Cost Savings through Fraud Prevention

   Whistleblower programs act as a deterrent against fraud and financial misconduct. The potential for exposure through internal reporting discourages individuals from engaging in fraudulent activities, ultimately saving the company from financial losses. The cost of investigating and addressing issues identified by whistleblowers is often outweighed by the savings gained through fraud prevention.

5. Enhancing Corporate Governance

   A robust whistleblower program contributes to the improvement of corporate governance practices. It ensures that there is accountability at all levels of the organization, discouraging unethical behavior among employees and executives alike. This, in turn, fosters a culture of responsibility and adherence to established governance standards.

6. Employee Morale and Retention

   Knowing that their concerns will be taken seriously and addressed fosters a positive work environment. This, in turn, boosts employee morale and can contribute to higher retention rates. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that values their input and actively works to maintain a healthy and ethical workplace.

7. Innovation and Continuous Improvement

   Whistleblower programs not only identify existing issues but also contribute to a culture of continuous improvement. By encouraging feedback and suggestions from employees, companies can harness valuable insights that l ead to innovative solutions and enhanced operational efficiency.

8. Preventing a Toxic Organizational Culture

   Toxic workplace cultures can be detrimental to employee well-being and overall company performance. Whistleblower programs act as a safeguard against such toxicity by providing an outlet for employees to report inappropriate behavior or harassment. Addressing these issues promptly helps maintain a healthy and inclusive work environment.

9. Demonstrating Ethical Leadership

   Leadership sets the tone for the entire organization. Implementing a whistleblower program demonstrates a commitment to ethical leadership. When employees see that leaders are receptive to feedback and take action to address concerns, it establishes a culture of trust and ethical behavior that permeates throughout the company.

10. Global Competitive Advantage

    In an interconnected world where information travels at unprecedented speeds, companies with strong ethical foundations gain a competitive edge. A whistleblower program positions a company as a responsible and trustworthy player in the market, attracting socially conscious customers and investors.


In conclusion, a whistleblower program is not merely a compliance requirement but a strategic asset that can propel a company to new heights of success. From risk mitigation to reputation management, the benefits are multifaceted. Embracing transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct through a whistleblower program is not just a choice; it’s a pathway to sustained growth, resilience, and long-term prosperity in the dynamic landscape of business.

Changes to Japan’s data privacy law echo Europe’s GDPR

Japan has made changes to its 2005 Protection of Personal Information (APPI) Act, bringing the bill closer in line with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The latest tweaks, announced this month, cover data breach reporting and the use of facial recognition data gathered from devices such as security cameras.

Breaches should now be reported using an official form, rather than by mail or fax, as before.

When processing image data, the intended use should be stated immediately, while the methods and privacy measures used while processing said images should be made clear.

These additions follow hard on the heels of more significant changes, which will mean tighter controls on the international transfer of data from 2022, helping to bring the law further in line with GDPR.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE EU-US Privacy Shield data-sharing framework declared invalid by ECJ

“Japan has a robust data privacy law with many similarities to the GDPR,” Scott Warren, a partner in the Tokyo office of law firm Squire Patton Boggs, tells The Daily Swig.

“Indeed, Japan is the only country in Asia to have exchanged joint adequacy findings with the EU, finding the laws roughly equivalent.”

Warren added: “What I find interesting is the ways the laws diverge. For example, Japan does not have a breach notification obligation, nor significant penalties on entities failing to meet the standards.

“Japan has recently passed an amendment to the law to rectify some of these and other items, including increasing penalties up to $946,000 – but it will take well over a year for it to be fully implemented.”

Cross-border transfers
While in its current form the APPI applies to any organization obtaining personal information from data subjects located in Japan, this hasn’t been enforceable on foreign businesses.

Now, though, they will have to provide reports concerning the processing of Japanese residents’ personal information – and can be penalized if they fall short.

Read more of the latest data privacy news

In addition to the move towards reporting via a specific web form, there is also a new requirement for all breaches to be reported to the victim and the Personal Information Protection Commission (PPC).

It’s not yet clear whether all breaches will need to be reported, but major incidents or those that violate the rights of subjects almost certainly will.

Expanding individual rights
In a GDPR-like move, data subjects will now have the right to request access to their data, and to ask for it to be corrected or deleted, where there’s the possibility that their rights or legitimate interests have been breached.

This also applies to short-term data – previously, the data had to have been held for six months or more.

Currently, there’s no need for a data subject to give their explicit consent when data is transferred to a third party.

This, though, is set to change, and permission will become opt-in. Further, if data has already been transferred on an opt-out basis, it cannot now be transferred to a third party without permission. Any organization receiving data will have to conform to APPI standards.

Increased penalties
Organizations that violate these rules now face a potential fine of ¥100 million ($942,000), while falsifying a report to the PPC will cost ¥500,000 ($4,708). Meanwhile, any individual found responsible for a breach could face a fine of up to ¥1 million ($9,420) and a year in prison.

The move brings Japan to the forefront of Asian data protection legislation, says Warren, along with Korea, which has had strong data protection laws for years.

“Elsewhere, we have seen a number of countries pass new data privacy laws, which have various GDPR-type elements in them, though rarely as strenuous,” he says.

“Thailand’s new law is similar in many respects, though its implementation has been delayed. Vietnam’s new law takes various elements of the GDPR, but includes data localization requirements similar to China’s Cybersecurity Law.”

He adds: “I fear many countries in Asia have a way to go.”

Source: This article was originally posted on “The Daily Swig” on September 20, 2020, written by Emma Woollacott.

Ginto Asia appointed partner for Unleashed inventory and order handling software

We are happy to share that Ginto Asia now is an official partner for Unleashed Software, a Cloud based inventory and order handling solution from New Zealand.

At this time Ginto Asia is the only Unleashed partner in Japan and we are happy to help Japan-based customers with evaluation, implementation and integration of the Unleashed solution twisting the solution to work well in a Japanese context..

Ginto Asia already have one customer in Japan who use Unleashed with integration to Xero accounting and StockTrim inventory planning, handling around 2,000 SKUs, 500+ customers, 50+ suppliers and 8,000+ annual sales orders and in-house assembly.

Unleashed software handle most aspects of Purchase Ordering, Inventory/Warehouse management, Assembly Production and sales order management, including Invoicing. The system is available with English Interface but can handle Japanese Data. Our experience shows that by the proper implementation the system can fulfill 95%+ of local requirements while still leaning on global best practices and all customer facing documents can be made in Japanese language.