Are VPNs Legal in Japan

Is it Legal to Use a VPN in Japan?

There is no arguing with the fact that Japanese love streaming and downloading entertaining content. To chill out on or spare weekends, we often switch to Netflix or download a movie or music from a p2p file sharing website.

But while you look to make your spare time more entertaining, content publishers are doing the exact opposite, making it really hard for the Japanese to have a really good time. For instance, most streaming websites which include HBO Now, Amazon Prime, and more are not available in Japan. And the ones that are available, such as Netflix, offer much less content than it does in other countries.

Other than that, the Japanese government is strictly against piracy. Which is why it has enforced harsh laws for anyone who uploads and downloads pirated content on the web.

In all of these scenarios, a VPN can easily help you access your favorite content on the web. But is it legal to use a VPN in Japan? The answer is yes. For more details, keep on reading.

Content Restrictions in Japan

Much to our annoyance, online restrictions exist all over the world, including in Japan. Fortunately for the Japanese, the constitution of the country prohibits all sorts of censorships. Which means that there aren’t any government enforced restrictions in the country.

But what about the other kind of restrictions? The ones that are enforced by content providers rather than the government. Much to our annoyance, these restrictions do exist in Japan just like everywhere else.

Production companies are usually responsible for these restrictions. But how does this work? Let me explain…

When production companies release any content, they license it out to other streaming brands for a fee. However, streaming brands don’t operate on a global basis. So they prefer buying a cheaper geo-license instead. This geo-license only allows them to stream content in certain regions only. These geo-licenses are then sold to multiple streaming brands.

Because this geo-license prevents streaming brands from streaming in other countries, therefore these websites restrict foreigners from accessing their content.

Anti-Piracy Laws in Japan

Japan is known for its strictness against piracy. The government has taken a lot of measures over the years to stop the spread of pirated content in its country.

The government first stamped its foot on torrenting when it enforced laws that punished uploaders of piracy content. The Japanese government can now fine $128,300 (10 million yen) and up to ten years in jail to those who upload pirated content on the web.

This punishment is definitely harsh, but that didn’t stop the Japanese from going one step further. After hearing from music and movie companies, the government has enforced new measures that can fine $25,680 (two million yen) and two years in prison to those who download any pirated content on the web.

This means that any person involved in the download of pirated content in Japan can get into a whole lot of trouble if caught by the Japanese authorities. But is there a way around this? Yes. And it involves the use of a VPN.

How a VPN helps?

Connecting to a Virtual Private Network allows you to change your IP address from your own location to any other of your choice. By connecting to a VPN, your IP location changes from your device’s to the server you are connected to. This is helpful in the sense that websites use your IP address to track your actual location. By changing your IP address, you trick the website into considering you a resident of another country even when you’re not.

This is incredibly helpful in accessing and streaming any channel that is not accessible in Japan. Even the websites that are accessible, such as Netflix, will now display more content than previously available. In Netflix’s case, you will be able to access content that is only available in the US version of the library.

Depending on the number of servers a VPN offers, you can access loads of websites with ease in Japan. This means that when you connect to PureVPN, a VPN service that has over 2,000 servers in 141 countries, you will be able to access any website or channel with complete ease, including Netflix US, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, and more!

And when you travel abroad, you can continue to access and stream on your favorite Japanese channels from anywhere by connecting to PureVPN’s VPN server in Japan.

Is it Technically Illegal to Use a VPN in Japan?

The Japanese government believes in complete online freedom. Which is why its constitution abolishes all forms of government censorships on the web. This is also why the government hasn’t banned any tools that allow Japanese from using services that allow greater internet freedom, such as VPNs.

But, as mentioned above, there are other cases too where you might need a VPN service. Because of the intense piracy laws in the country, people obviously hesitate from using p2p file sharing. When streaming with your ISP, you can get into trouble at the hand of law enforcement agencies.

But fortunately, a VPN can anonymize you. A good VPN service, such as PureVPN offers military-grade encryption, which can anonymize your online traffic.

This way, you can continue to use p2p file torrenting without having to worry about the wrath of the government.

Sheheryar Ahmed Khan is a privacy enthusiast, currently affiliated with PureVPN. His reporting covers subjects related to online privacy, anonymity, and security. Also a believer in online freedom, Sheheryar likes to spend his free time streaming football matches and TV shows online.

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