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Yahoo Japan website will be unavailable to most of Europe | The Asahi Shimbun: Breaking News, Japan News and Analysis

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Yahoo Japan Corp. said it will render its website inaccessible across most of Europe starting April 6 due to the excessive regulatory burden.

An official from Yahoo Japan said on Feb. 1 that the company decided it has become too difficult to continue servicing the region considering the costs of complying with local laws and regulations.

The areas affected include member nations of the EU, Britain, Iceland and Norway.

The Japanese website offers a search engine, news, travel and shopping services, among others.

Other Yahoo-related websites offered in local languages will not be targeted. The change is expected to mainly affect those who use the Japanese version of the website while on business or private travel in Europe.

Only about 1 percent of Yahoo Japan users access the website from these areas. Yahoo Japan said it will continue to offer its email services, but users can no longer obtain new email addresses starting on April 6.

The company did not specify which laws and regulations it had in mind when making the decision. But it appears to be affected by recent moves in Europe to tighten regulations on the protection of personal data.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in 2018, requires not only businesses based in the EU but also those outside of it to implement stricter personal data management and step up measures to prevent information leaks. Violators face hefty fines.

Last year, the major messaging app operator WhatsApp LLC, a subsidiary of Facebook Inc., which has renamed itself Meta Platforms Inc., and Amazon.com Inc. were slapped with fines ranging from tens of billions of yen to nearly 100 billion yen (hundreds of millions of dollars to $870 million) for violating the GDPR.

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