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Tim Cook talked App Store laws & user privacy with Japan's PM

Tim Cook touring a Sony facility in December [Twitter/@Tim_Cook]

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On his Pacific rim tour, Apple CEO Tim Cook asked the Japanese Prime Minister to think about user protections if the country decides to legislate the distribution of smartphone apps.

Following a decision by Europe to force Apple and other device makers to enable third-party app marketplaces on their hardware, Tim Cook has been keen to ease future issues the App Store may face. In his December trip to Japan, he appealed to the highest politician in the country.

Speaking to Japanese Prime Minister Fumiko Kishida on December 15 in Tokyo, Cook talked about a number of topics, including asking for regulations relating to app distribution don't undermine user privacy and security, reports Nikkei Asia.

Japan's government said in April that it considered introducing new rules to ensure fair competition in the App Store and in the Google Play Store. While a council on digital market competition recommended legislation limiting the ability for Apple and Google to change market conditions, Apple disagreed.

At the time, Apple said it disagreed with the report, that its position is never one of a market leader, and that it continues to face "intense competition in every business segment."

During December's meeting, Cook discussed how Apple invested more than $100 billion in Japanese supply chains over the last five years, and that it had a continued focus on the country. According to Cook, the prime minister was satisfied with Apple's investment in the country.

Kishida also asked for Apple to work with Japan on a digital form of the country's My Number ID cards, which has a 12-digit government-issued code for each Japanese resident. In doing so, usage of the system for related services, such as for proof of insurance, could be accelerated.

Cook reportedly was keen to work on the project, but also that Apple had strong concerns over how My Number IDs could be sensitively handled, including in relation to user privacy and security.

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