According to Akamai’s Q3 2015 rankings, Japan has an average connection speed of 15 Mbps and an average peak connection speed of 78.4 Mbps per second.
The current population of Japan is approximately 127 million. Nearly 115 million are connected to the Internet, which gives the country an Internet penetration rate of 91.1%, thus ranking 5th in the world after Brazil, the United States, India and China.
The local Internet infrastructure is primarily based on broadband connections. Prevalent connections include ADSL, Fiber optics (FTTH) and cable Internet. FTTH is the fastest connection, closely followed by ADSL and cable. However, ADSL is the most popular type of connection owing to the fact that it covers the entire country, and that it’s also generally cheaper than FTTH and sometimes even cable. According to latest data published by Numbeo, one should expect to pay around $40 to $50 per month for a basic Internet package comprising speeds of 30 Mbps. It is possible to opt for higher speeds, but the cost will go up considerably.
The industry experiences fast-paced advancement owing to the fact that it belongs to the private sector. The market is divided between a plethora of nationwide and regional ISPs. Some of the most important names include: Asahi Net, Yahoo BB, OCN, So-net, @nifty, etc. Most of these companies provide what it is usually referred to as “unbundled services”. In a nutshell, this means that the ISP is usually separate from the company that sets up the line and leases the modem to customers. NTT East and NTT West are two major names for such companies.
With regard to the web hosting industry, it also keeps pace with the advancement of the Internet industry. Each hosting company is comprehensive, well-defined and providing great value for money. Basic prices for Shared, VPS and Dedicated Hosting services usually start at the equivalent of $8, $20 and $50 per month in local currency (yen). Features are abundant, and so are bonuses: SSL certificates, easy website builders, one-click install software, round-the-clock customer support, etc.
However, international customers may find it quite hard to go through the offers of each Japanese hosting provider owing to the fact that support for international languages such as English or French is very limited, if not inexistent altogether.
The market is divided between a plethora of ISPs. Important names include: Asahi Net, Yahoo BB, OCN, So-net, etc. Services provided by these companies are usually similar both in terms of performance and price, but some of them are, obviously, more professional than the others. It’s important for customers to do their due diligence with respect to the company’s setup process in order to make sure they’re not in over their heads.
As previously mentioned, costs for an average 30 Mbps connection to the Internet usually starts at anywhere between $40 to $50 per month, depending on the company of your choice and the actual location. In comparison with what other European ISPs offer in terms of value for money, the cost in Japan is quite high. However, it should be noted that cost of living in Japan is also generally higher than in other equally developed countries; according to data published by Numbeo, cost of living in Japan is approximately 20% higher than in most Western European countries, which would explain the considerable difference in price.
Japanese law provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. The government is not known to interfere in private matters of Internet users, unless the activity is suspicious enough to trigger the intervention of competent legal authorities. However, due to amendments made to the Japanese copyright law in 2012, illegally and intentionally downloading copyrighted content incurs severe criminal penalties, which is why Japan is not a popular offshore hosting location.