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).

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