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Japan to safeguard genetic data under privacy law

TOKYO -- The government has decided to protect genomic data under a newly revised privacy law after weeks of discussions by an expert panel on how to treat such information amid the emergence of gene-based therapies.

     The panel agreed at a meeting Friday that such data should be classified as personal identification codes -- the same as fingerprints and digitized facial features -- under the revised personal information protection act enacted in early September. Related genomic data tied to diseases will be classified as highly sensitive personal information. The government will issue relevant rules next year.

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