Digital technology is sort of a religion in Japan. Judge for yourself – 94% of the population uses the Internet on a regular basis. This is significantly more than in any other Asian country and even exceeds the share of Internet users in such technology developed parts of the world as the US and EU countries. However, with all this being said, the Internet is not only a blessing but it can also carry a threat to privacy. This is especially true for Wi-Fi hotspots, which are widespread in Japan. Public internet is very vulnerable to cyber attacks and espionage. In order to protect yourself from intruders (and from surveillance by your own state as well), a reliable VPN is simply necessary. But how to find the best VPN for Japan without spending precious time and money on trial and errors? Don’t worry, I have already done all the hard work for you. Read on to check my top 3 VPN services for Japan.
Best VPNs that work for Japan
Of course, the list of VPN services working in Japan can be extended to infinity. However, when it comes to security, you can’t opt for the first provider comes your way. After all, your privacy is the most valuable thing you have. Therefore, you should take a closer look at these hands down the best VPNs for Japan:
Why do I consider them to be the best? It’s simple: they won’t compromise on your safety providing you with the best security tools possible. On top of they, they will help you get access to any geo-restricted content to your liking. And it won’t come at a cost of slow connection speeds. So here is a brief breakdown of each VPN provider.
For many years NordVPN has been a pinnacle of the VPN industry. The fact is that not so many services can really compete with NordVPN on speed, server coverage, customer service, and available functions. But the main thing that distinguishes a service among counterparts is unsurpassed user security. To make your stay in the virtual world comfortable and carefree, the service offers several levels of protection. It all starts with the fact that NordVPN does not store any logs of user activity. Therefore, no matter who tries to find out about your online travels, they won’t succeed. NordVPN will carefully cover all your tracks.
The second thing you should know is that the service provides only up-to-date encryption protocols. Thus, the most secure is the OpenVPN protocol, which supplies 256-bit military-grade encryption. It is believed that such encryption cannot be cracked. On top of that, you can choose among other protocols, which are less secure but ensure faster data transfer.
The third level of protection is provided by special purpose servers. In fact, NordVPN has the widest choice of servers among its competitors. The service lends DoubleVPN servers that encrypt your data twice. Also, you can turn to Onion Over VPN servers offering the benefits of both Tor and VPN. Finally, if you are tired of interrupted connections anti-DDoS servers will come to the rescue. There are even more specialized servers, but, as they say, a picture worth a thousand words, so why don’t you check the NordVPN’s site out and see what more they have to offer.
Although ExpressVPN is inferior to NordVPN in terms of security features, the service takes a worthy place among the best VPNs in the industry. Like every reputable provider, ExpressVPN does not store any data logs, thereby cleaning up any digital traces left by their clients on the network. Thus, whoever tries to spy on you, they will not be able to find any compromising evidence. Additionally, all data is encrypted with the same reliable OpenVPN protocol that cannot be hacked. You can also opt for to less secure protocols that, instead, offer a better connection speed.
Speaking of speed, this is the trump card of the provider. Thanks to the extensive server network that can be found in 94 countries around the globe, the service is able to support fantastic speeds. Even if you are connected to a video streaming service or play online games, you won’t have to deal with any lags or tedious buffering. In addition, the connection is surprisingly stable across the board. Even if a connection drops, you shouldn’t worry about possible leaks. Kill Switch will instantly break the data transfer over unprotected channels so that not a single bit will fall into the hands of intruders.
This service is more modest than the mentioned above heavyweights on the VPN arena, nevertheless, it has something to surprise you with. The first thing I would like to note is that PureVPN was created specifically for the Asian market. As you know, almost every Asian country has severe restrictions on viewing and downloading a certain type of content. In addition, users’ online activity is monitored and tracked. Compared to China, Japan is simply a digital paradise where all these surveillance practices are hundred times more lenient. So, if PureVPN can cope with the Great Firewall of China, then it will easily overcome all possible restrictions in the Land of the Rising Sun. Not to mention that the service does not carry out any logs.
As for security, PureVPN embraces all the latest encryption protocols. OpenVPN will be on guard for your digital security while you are surfing the net. Also, there are some other lightweight protocols if you want to boost the connection speed. However, I would not worry about the speed, everything is tip-top with this aspect at PureVPN. The provider even claims that it is the fastest service at the moment. Be that as it may, the company has more than 750 servers in 140 countries, each of which is ready to share its IP addresses with you.
Why You Need a VPN in Japan
According to the Freedom House’ s report, the Internet in Japan is classified as “free”. This means that at the moment the country does not have restrictions on apps for social media, communication tools, or access to content. Also, unlike many of their neighbors in the Far East region, the country hasn’t been caught banning popular sites and blogs. However, Internet users should remember that Japan has one of the most severe copyright laws. If you intend to watch shows, movies or programs on streaming websites or download illegal content, you should be ready for a huge fine and even imprisonment. But all these troubles can be avoided if you let a VPN become a reliable shield between you and corporate monsters. Thus, all information passing through your device to the Internet and back will be encrypted and neither your provider nor the government will be able to monitor your actions.
As in many other countries, Japan has regional restrictions on many popular streaming platforms. If you are annoyed when you see a message saying that your favorite TV series is not available from a Japanese IP, it’s time to take a VPN on board and connect to servers in any country where this content is available.
There are also reverse situations when it is necessary to gain access to Japanese sites, but this is impossible because of all the same territorial restrictions. Almost 4 million people of Japanese origin live abroad, and it is natural that they want to keep in touch with their homeland by watching content in their native language. But if the content is blocked, the only way out is through using a VPN. VPN tunneling will also help to keep access to Japanese sites when you travel abroad.
Besides copyright owners, Internet monitoring also plays into the hands of the government. It has long been known that Japan is in collusion with the US and both states are actively snooping on Japanese residents. If you want to outsmart the all-seeing eye of intelligent services, a VPN is just what you need.
Internet Censorship and Restrictions in Japan
There is good news for Internet users in Japan – the Land of the Rising Sun protects freedom of speech at the constitutional level. This means that there is very little censorship in the press. However, more recently, the government has taken some steps toward stricter monitoring of what is being published in the press and on the web.
There is a recommendation of the Ministry of Communications of Japan to begin regulation of the cyberspace. These regulations are designed to subdue the main news sites of the country and force them to obey the same rules as traditional media.
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2012, the Japanese government adopted the Computer Network Monitoring Law (also known as the Harmful Rumors Law). According to this legislation, the authorities tightened control and censorship in order to prevent criticism of the government and the Tepco energy company, which is responsible for the Fukushima disaster. The law untied the government’s hands, which now can freely monitor information on the net. There were cases when news on the accident was simply being removed from the Internet and users could not leave negative comments about the tragedy.
Moreover, according to Foreign Policy, the government has taken a number of measures aimed at eliminating popular media personalities objectionable to the authorities. For instance, three popular Japanese TV hosts mysteriously lost their jobs. Presumably, this was the work of the Japanese government, although there has been no independent investigation on this matter. Also, the authorities managed to subdue the largest liberal newspaper of the country Asahi Shimbun.
Protect Your Privacy from the Snooping Government
Although Japan is not officially a member of the intelligent alliances, it is known that the country willingly cooperates with the Five Eyes and passes on information about its citizens and expats to their hands. Especially close relations the Land of the Rising Sun has with the USA. The latter utilizes Japan as a base for committing espionage against the Far East countries.
The fact that literally the entire population of the country uses the Internet regularly creates an excellent environment for collecting private information about residents and visitors of Japan. At the same time, by adopting the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, the government has taken care of preventing information leakage regardless of the content and the intentions for its dissemination.
If you are not worried about surveillance by the authorities, there is still something to think about. Japan zealously protects copyrights. Here, streaming data or downloading materials from BitTorrent is a criminal offense. According to the copyright law, you may face up to two years in prison or a huge fine (up to ten million yen). In 2013, 27 people were arrested for illegal downloading of video games, manga, anime, and music videos. Therefore, if you want to protect yourself from total control by the government and corporations when you are in Japan, there is simply no better way than using a VPN.
Why You Should Avoid Free VPNs in Japan
When it comes to digital tools providing security on the network, you have the luxury to choose among myriads of options, including free ones. If you are going to use a VPN for paying absolutely nothing, you should be aware that such services are able to cope only with general browsing. That is, while you just surf the net, everything will be fine. However, as soon as you try to connect to streaming services or online games, a free VPN will fail. It is because such services cannot boast high connection speeds. They usually provide a small number of servers, which are occupied by hundreds or even thousands of people at the same time. Naturally, the VPN-supported speed drops dramatically even if your original connection speed is phenomenal 2 Gb per second.
What other troubles can you expect while using free a VPN in Japan? The root of all problems lies in the very core of such services, namely, in their free of payment nature. If you don’t pay anything, it is too naive to expect that providers will be able to offer a great variety of server locations, modern encryption protocols, and stability.
Moreover, if users get everything for free, then how do providers gain profit? It’s simple – they place hundreds of advertisements and pop-up windows on their applications. These annoying ads slow down the speed even more and it is likely that they can infect your computer with malware.
What is even worse, free VPN services have doubtful logging policies. This means that they can track the browsing history, insert cookies, and even try to sell your data to third parties.
Therefore, you need to think whether it’s worth compromising your privacy if risks are so high. Isn’t it better to trust a reliable service that for a relatively small amount of money will protect you in the face of cyber dangers? A trustworthy VPN service for Japan is always a wise choice for people who value their privacy and won’t settle for less.