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Is Web Scraping Legal in Japan?

Web scraping legality is a bit more complex in Japan. While most of the general scraping advice applies: scraping public data or personal data is legal. However, laws like Unfair Competition Prevention Act (UCPA) can be used to prevent scraping of competitive data as plaintiff can argue that scraping is a form of unfair competition.

Unfair Competition Prevention Act (UCPA)

This law regulates the use of scraped data. The UCPA prohibits the use of information gathered through "unfair" means, such as unauthorized access to computer systems or the use of "crawling" or "scraping" software to collect data without the website owner's consent.

Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL)

Just like EU's GDPR and US' CCPA, Japan's PIPL regulates the collection, storage, and use of personal data. This does not mean that scraping personal data is illegal, but storing and using it can be legally complicated or even illegal.

There aren't any notable cases directly related to web scraping in Japan. However, there have been cases where companies in Japan have been sued by website owners for unauthorized access and scraping of their sites without permission. In these cases, the courts have generally found in favor of the website owners and ordered the companies to stop scraping the sites and pay small amount of damages.