Why is there so little free wifi in Japan?

A lack of free wi-fi recently came second in a poll of complaints about Japan, with 31 votes from the 100 foreign visitors questioned by the Nikkei Marketing Journal, only slightly behind the 39 votes for shortage of services in foreign languages. I’d also say this is perhaps the biggest contrast to life in Seoul, where almost everywhere has free wi-fi.

Perhaps the biggest reason for this is that free wi-fi is discouraged by the Japanese government, because there are examples of it being used for people committing fraud in ways that can’t be traced, the same reason that pay-as-you-go phones and internet cafés/ manga kissa where you don’t need a membership card are also discouraged. And in Japan, for some reason companies follow government guidance even when the government can’t even be bothered making an actual law on the matter (for better or worse).

Why is the Japan Times so unreadable?

Since the International Herald Tribune became the International New York Times and for some reason at the same time starting coming with the Japan Times for free, I’ve almost been forced to look at JT a couple of times a week for the first time in years. It hasn’t improved.

There are some actual errors in every edition, but it’s more the terrible writing style such as overuse of headlines and other journalese, e.g. using ‘hike’ in the body of the article when they mean ‘rise’ that drives me nuts. Then there’s the articles that have the Japanese chronological or even seemingly random structure, just with English words rather than Japanese ones…

Unlike most of the questions on this blog, I do have some inside info to help answer this one. A colleague of mine who worked part-time for Japan Times described it as a typical Japanese office, with people given duties because of seniority (or lack of) rather than special ability, and people loath to ask each other for advice. My time teaching in Hokkaido Shimbun was also similar, with students with no particular international knowledge and Elementary English those who were supposed to be going abroad as foreign correspondents.