Z Holdings Corporation

Z Holdings Corporation Announces the "Z Holdings Group Basic Policy on AI Ethics"

- Focusing on diversity, aims to create innovations using AI


Z Holdings Corporation (hereinafter "ZHD") has formulated the Z Holdings Group Basic Policy on AI Ethics (hereinafter "Basic Policy") as the policy for the safe use of AI that is respectful of user privacy. The Basic Policy provides guidelines to promote the correct use of AI in the ZHD Group and to deter negative aspects, while also serving as the basis for specific voluntary rules to be established in the future.

<Background and history>

In recent years, with the rapid development of AI technology and the increase in the amount of data that makes it possible, the use of AI has been advancing in various industries both in Japan and overseas, and is expected to fix labor shortages, improve convenience in society, and solve social issues. At the same time, it is pointed out that AI may violate human rights by unintentionally making discriminatory evaluations and selections. To resolve such ethical issues, guidelines are being developed and laws and regulations considered both in Japan and overseas.

In utilizing AI technology in a digital society, ZHD established the Expert Panel on AI Ethics* in June 2021, to clarify the basic policies necessary to enable its services to be used without anxiety, and to formulate effective voluntary rules. A total of five discussions on the Basic Policy have been held joined by experts with outstanding knowledge.

*Z Holdings Hosts "Expert Panel on AI Ethics"

<Outline of the Basic Policy>

The Basic Policy declares that ZHD will safely use AI while respecting user privacy, and that ZHD will contribute to the realization of a society in which each individual is able to achieve various forms of happiness, leveraging the diversity of information.

The Basic Policy consists of eight items, including "pursuit of fairness and impartiality," "ensuring safety and security," and "protection of privacy" to ensure that no unfair discrimination or inappropriate biases against specific attributes or individuals occur. In order to maintain a high level of transparency in addition to fairness and impartiality, ZHD will continue to receive external input on the status of AI utilization, such as from the Expert Panel, and will formulate specific voluntary rules under this Basic Policy. 

The ZHD Group will implement AI in all of its services to update users' daily lives, corporate activities, and the society itself, and aspires to become a "World-Leading AI Tech Company from Japan/Asia."

■Comment by Chairperson Takehiro OHYA (Professor, Faculty of Law, Keio University)

It is highly significant that Japan's leading digital platform operator has announced its basic policy on AI ethics and demonstrated its attitude toward the active and sound utilization of AI based on this policy. The question now is how to implement governance that reflects the principles expressed in the basic policy and ensures the sound utilization of AI. I hope that Z Holdings Corporation will continue its progressive efforts in this regard and serve as a model for society at large.

■Z Holdings Group Basic Policy on AI Ethics


The Z Holdings Group aims to become a world-leading AI tech company from Japan and Asia and to create a world in which the use of AI brings new values and infinite possibilities to all people, enabling humanity to realize a better society towards the future. At the same time, we recognize the potential negative impacts AI can have on people and the society. While respecting users' privacy, we will use AI safely and contribute to the realization of a sustainable society, where social issues in areas such as economy, education, and environment are addressed, and the diverse information generated by the new values and connections are utilized to enable each individual to achieve various forms of happiness.

We are aware of our responsibility to the society and economy, do not tolerate unjust discrimination in line with our respect for diversity and in accordance with international norms of human rights as well as the Z Holdings Group Code of Conduct*1 and Basic Policy on Human Rights*2, and respect the safety of life and freedom of expression and speech. On this premise, we will fulfil our responsibility of creating a better future, by ensuring that people benefit equally from AI, and by providing new values and evolution to society through the use of AI. We hereby declare our basic policy to our customers and the society.

1. Creation of a better future and contribution to mankind prompted by the diversity of information
The Z Holdings Group understands that the society is composed of diverse values and a variety of views. We believe that AI will bring new diversity to mankind, encourage the meeting and recognition of different values, views and information, which will accelerate innovation in our society. We will use AI to promote the healthy development of our society, to create a better future, and to contribute to mankind.

2. Realization of a peaceful and sustainable society
In accordance with international norms of human rights, as well as the Z Holdings Group Code of Conduct and Basic Policy on Human Rights, the Z Holdings Group recognizes that everyone has an equal right to benefit from AI, and will utilize AI for world peace and to achieve a sustainable society in which social issues can be resolved. Through AI, we will contribute to the productivity of society and to the revitalization of the social economy. Furthermore, we will increase the speed of people's learning and development through the use of AI, and implement global environmental conservation initiatives for future generations in accordance with our Basic Environmental Policy*3

3. Governance controls
Z Holdings Corporation will be responsible for governance controls to ensure that the Basic Policy on AI Ethics becomes an effective initiative for the Z Holdings Group. Should an incident occur that is detrimental to society or users, we will promptly disclose the facts, endeavor to clarify the cause, and take appropriate safety control measures and extensive measures to prevent reoccurrence.

4. Pursuit of fairness and impartiality
In developing and using AI, the Z Holdings Group will respect user privacy and value diversity, and strive to ensure that no unfair discrimination against specific attributes or individuals occur. Furthermore, we will pursue the fairness of AI by appropriately verifying data, algorithms, outputs, etc., to avoid inappropriate biases occurring in the results of AI applications.

5. Pursuit of transparency and accountability
The Z Holdings Group recognizes the need for transparency regarding decisions made by AI and will pursue accountability. In order to minimize concerns about AI, we will strive to achieve communication that gains understanding and acceptance from the society.

6. Ensuring safety and security
The Z Holdings Group will ensure safety and security in the use of AI, evaluate risks according to the purpose of its use, and take measures according to the risks, in line with the Z Holdings Group's Cybersecurity Policy*4

7. Protection of privacy
The Z Holdings Group believes that user data handled by AI requires a high degree of privacy protection. We will take sufficient care not to breach privacy when developing and using AI and comply with the Basic Policy on Data Protection*5 to build the trust from our users.

8. AI human capital development
In order to further advance AI, the Z Holdings Group endeavors to foster human resources in AI in a variety of job categories, and to develop professionals who can lead discussions in academic and interdisciplinary fields and create new value beyond the boundaries of industry, academia, and government. Through the development of AI human capital, the Z Holdings Group will contribute to social development.

The content of this basic policy will be revised as appropriate, keeping in mind that AI technologies and societal attitudes will change over time.

*1 Z Holdings Group Code of Conduct https://www.z-holdings.co.jp/en/company/compliance/
*2 Basic Policy on Human Rights https://www.z-holdings.co.jp/en/company/humanrights/
*3 Basic Environmental Policy https://www.z-holdings.co.jp/en/sustainability/stakeholder/01/#anc5
*4 Cybersecurity Policy https://www.z-holdings.co.jp/en/company/cybersecurity/
*5 Basic Policy on Data Protection https://www.z-holdings.co.jp/en/company/dataprotection/

Unless otherwise specified, English-language documents are prepared solely for the convenience of non-Japanese speakers. If there is any inconsistency between the English-language documents and the Japanese-language documents, the Japanese-language documents will prevail.