Cloud News & Insights

Japan Scores High in Cloud Computing Readiness

Japanese woman on grass happily looking at laptop

The relationship between Japan and cloud computing technology is somewhat unconventional, presenting several interesting characteristics. One odd aspect of Japan is that it is considered as one of the countries best prepared to adopt the cloud widely in its different industries. This arouses interest because Japan has not had a history of being an early adopter of technology developed outside of Japan.

We have seen time and time again that the Japanese market adapts very slowly to non-Japanese technologies. One common example was the slow adoption of large Western social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Even today, these services hardly have the same kind of presence and market penetration that they have in Western nations. However, it is clear that Japanese businesses are adopting these social media platforms as they realize that it makes more sense to their bottom line. Curiously, the opposite has happened with cloud technology; while this technology was first developed outside of Japan, very few countries are as well prepared to move to the cloud as this Asian nation.

Determining a country’s readiness for cloud computing

There are several factors to take into account when evaluating a country’s cloud computing readiness. A number of organizations around the world study each country’s situation and determine what needs to happen in order to implement cloud technology. Often, adopting the cloud widely when the conditions are not there can result in unwanted bottlenecks, problems with service, and other issues that can result in a backlash against this technology. Some factors that are taken into account include the following:

- The evaluated country must have the necessary legislation to deal with data across national borders.
- The country must have a strong record of managing intellectual property rights.
- There must be strong laws in place against computer crimes such as the distribution of malware and data theft.
- The conditions to enable interoperability must exist.
- The communications infrastructure should be recent and use the latest technologies. Countries with communications networks decades old will probably not fare well in adopting cloud computing in their industries, government, and markets.

In all of the above aspects, Japan has outstanding rankings, making it a very attractive market for cloud services providers and businesses looking to adopt cloud technology in their operations.

Japanese data privacy legislation

Japan has had strong personal data protection legislation since 2005. It has clear provisions that differentiate the public from the private sector and also accounts for size, having specific provisions that apply to larger organizations. This legislation is compatible with similar laws in the European Union and, more importantly, with APAC. Every Japanese government department has a specific person or agency in charge of protecting data privacy, working independently and with no coercion from higher authorities. This is of course, reflected in every individual company’s terms and conditions and privacy policy. To give you an example, check out GMO Cloud America’s Privacy Policy.

Communications and computing infrastructure in Japan

Few countries can match Japan’s existing IT infrastructure. Broadband is widely available, with more than ninety percent of homes having upload bandwidths of over 30 Mbps! They are also aiming to provide optical fiber connections to private users for the whole country resulting in upload bandwidths of over 100 Mbps per household. This kind of IT infrastructure means that Japan would have the infrastructure to really take advantage of the cloud, with applications that would be impossible in most of the rest of the world.

The Japanese postal service is a good example of what cloud computing can achieve in a country with such an advanced IT infrastructure. Prior to 2007, the Japanese post office was having severe problems due to the high volume of mail that they were handling. Subsequent privatization of the postal service and a migration to the cloud solved the problem without interrupting the service.

By combining PaaS and SaaS they were able to scale their service to the huge demand, resulting in quality of postal service that is well beyond any other public postal office in any other part of the world, handling enormous amounts of data. More than 24 thousand post offices in Japan are connected to the cloud adding billions of records every day, a feat that is only possible thanks to Japan’s existing advanced IT infrastructure.

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About the Guest Author:

Nida Rasheed

Nida Rasheed is a freelance writer and owner of an outsourcing company, Nida often finds herself wanting to write about the subjects that are closest to her heart. She lives in Islamabad, Pakistan and can be found on Twitter @nidarasheed.

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