Japan Ramps Up Spam Law, Suspends Businesses

Rhett Pardon
KYOTO, Japan — The Japanese government, in its first sanction against spam operators under toughened rules, has suspended the businesses of two bulk mailers of online adult advertising.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said this week that S.K.I. and Asian Oasis each had been sending as many as 400,000 unsolicited email messages daily and 12 million a month.

The emails did not bear the disclaimer "unauthorized advertisement," or the sender's name, contact address, telephone number and other information as required by Japan's Special Commercial Transaction Law, the ministry said.

Both companies, owned and managed by Yuichiro Sakamoto of Kyoto, transmitted unsolicited email messages from bogus addresses to avoid scrutiny. The companies also operated so-called “one-clip service” that mousetraps website viewers and forces them to pay for unwanted images, authorities said.

The trade ministry issued a three-month business suspension order for both two firms.

Japanese authorities enacted legislation to toughen the spam law, raising the maximum fine to 1 million yen, or $9,500, and/or a prison term of up to one year.