The Japanese version of section 230: “Law concerning Limitation of Damages to Specific Telecommunications Service Provider and disclosure of Sender Information”


Although the Japanese law has some similarity to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, in general, it seems that the Japanese version expects more from the “specific telecommunications service provider,” a term that refers to  both the internet service providers (ISPs) and the provider of services (such as internet forums). That is, the service providers are only immune from liability if they meet certain requirements, and if not, they are expected to be responsible for what happens through their services.

Furthermore, it is apparent that the law was deliberately made so that the language would be vague, and not bring about immediate changes to the role of such service providers. Because the wording of the law is so vague (“if there is an appropriate reason, which is enough to determine that it should have been able to know that such other person’s rights are infringed”), it is usually not clear whether or not the service provider is really immune until the case goes to court. In effect, the law only seems to promote the awareness of such issues among service providers, and provide the court with some general guidelines when making judgments about such internet related issues.

The law being vague is not always a negative factor, though. Because of section 230, AutoAdmit was never held guilty for distributing such information that apparently infringed the right of others. The Japanese law makes it clear that, in general, internet service providers are immune from responsibility, unless the service provider was aware that some sort of infringement was taking place. This leaves space for judgment in extreme cases. It make it necessary for service providers to have some limited amount of responsibility for what happens on their site, and gives the incentive for them to implement methods to stop malicious activity online.

              An English translation of the law can be obtained at


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