The spam problem in Japan has evolved rapidly over the past few years. As late as 2004, the vast majority of spam was sent to mobile phones rather than PCs. This is no longer true: Japan has been largely successful in its efforts to reduce mobile spam; however, spam sent to PCs has exploded and now constitutes the vast majority of spam in Japan. In 2006, close to 90% of spam in Japan was sent to PCs (it was less than 30% in 2004). Of the spam sent to PCs, more than 90% was advertisements for matchmaking (dating) sites, 2% was for adult sites and the remaining messages were for all other content.
In response to the changing nature of spam in Japan, regulations to combat it have accordingly evolved. A
large increase in spam sent to mobile phones gave rise to industry self-regulation in 2001 by mobile operators
and, in 2002, two national laws were enacted to combat spam – the Law Concerning the Proper Transmission
of Specified Electronic Mail (the “Anti-Spam Law”) and the Law for the Partial Amendment to the Law Concerning Specified Commercial Transactions (the “Revised Transactions Law”). The Japanese government first amended the Anti-Spam Law in 2005 (the “2005 Anti-Spam Law”). Most recently, on June 6, 2008, the government amended the Anti-Spam Law a second time (the “New Anti-Spam Law”) in hopes of curtailing its continuing spam problem. The New Anti-Spam Law will go into effect once the government issues an
implementing order with regulations supplementing the law, which it must do by December 6, 2008. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (“MIC”), which is in charge of regulating the telecommunications and broadcasting industry, enforces the New Anti-Spam Law.
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