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Virtual private networks in Japan: The pros and cons of using NordVPN

By John Amari

At a time when digital privacy is paramount, virtual private networks (VPNs) serve as crucial tools in safeguarding online activities, allowing you to browse the internet with peace of mind.

For an increasing number of people, NordVPN, a prominent player in the VPN space, is just what they need for a secure and frictionless experience on the web, whether that’s at work, at home, or on the road.

The company differentiates itself from competitors in a number of ways, not least of which is to offer a seamless onboarding process, best-in-class security, a range of price plans, and — equally important — transparency.

Understanding VPNs

How do virtual private networks do their magic? A VPN operates by burrowing web traffic through encrypted servers, providing an additional layer of protection against internet service providers, government surveillance, and other potential threats.

By masking users’ IP addresses and locations, VPNs ensure that online activities remain private and untraceable—and this level of protection can take on many forms.

Advertisers, for example, may want to track your browsing habits when you go online so that they can send you targeted ads. However, because VPNs encrypt your online identity from your internet service provider, you can thwart such efforts.

In addition to masking your identity online, NordVPN does more: the company’s adherence to a “no-logs” policy further reinforces privacy, assuring users that their data remains confidential and unrecorded.

While VPNs offer numerous benefits, such as enhanced privacy and access to geo-restricted content, some users may experience a slight slowdown in internet speed when using them.

However, NordVPN’s competitive speeds, coupled with its secure and user-friendly software, mitigate this drawback, ensuring smooth browsing experiences.

Setting up: a user-centric approach


Most users will install NordVPN on their desktop, laptop or smartphone. Which leads one to ask: how hard is it to install the VPN on such devices? Well, it depends on the person and their familiarity with VPNs.

For smart device users, who tend to be familiar with apps, installing NordVPN software — whether on a computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet — is relatively hassle-free, in part thanks to user-friendly UX and straightforward installation process.

Indeed, when you visit the NordVPN website and provide necessary details, users receive prompt email notifications guiding them through account verification and software download. The user experience (UX) is further enhanced by helpful guides and progress indicators, facilitating smooth navigation through activation steps.

However, minor inconveniences, such as the requirement to create a Master Password during Chrome extension installation, may detract a little from the overall experience; users have reported that the need for a master password to protect other passwords may be an unnecessary feature.

Nonetheless, NordVPN’s commitment to transparency is evident in its privacy notices, which popped up towards the end of the onboarding process, allowing users to make an informed choice regarding private data usage.

Exploring NordVPN’s Features

Upon successful setup, NordVPN unveils a variety of features designed to enhance security and convenience.

For example, the inclusion of a “Data Breach Scanner,” a feature that highlights NordVPN’s proactive approach to cybersecurity, alerts users to potential data vulnerabilities. The Data Breach Scanner function can scan the web and alert a user if their email is available online, something that users may want to keep private.

Moreover, NordVPN’s Dark Web monitoring service endlessly scans the “dark web” for security breaches of your personal data, sending immediate alerts if it’s compromised and suggesting mitigating steps, such as to change your email.

Notably, NordVPN’s compatibility with popular platforms including social media apps, and its ability to secure sensitive information, further underscores its versatility and utility, allowing users to surf the internet in comfort.

Global access to content: secure connectivity


NordVPN is used in a variety of ways in the real world, but allowing easy streaming of geo-restricted content, such as video on demand streaming services — without compromising internet speeds or private data — is among the most common.

Whether accessing UK-only content on BBC's iPlayer or US-exclusive shows on Disney+, users typically experience minimal lag or disruptions. Importantly, they are  able to watch shows that, without a VPN, would be beyond their reach — even from Japan.

In addition to geo-blocked streaming content, NordVPN users can access cheaper flights and hotels — many of which are priced based on your location, something that VPNs can hide.

What’s more, sports fans can watch globally streamed events using NordVPN, enjoying the skills of baseball super-star Shohei Ohtani on MLB TV or Premiere League soccer star Mo Salah on Sky Sports, to name two sports icons.

Thus, once a user gets past the initial learning curve, which can be expected when using (or reusing) an app for the first time, navigating NordVPN becomes second nature for many, opening up a world of secure browsing and enriched content.

Password management — going that extra mile


NordPass is a key part of NordVPN's suite of security tools. However, the service goes beyond traditional password management, allowing users to securely store not only passwords but also a range of sensitive information.

This means your social security numbers, Netflix passwords, credit card security codes or Wi-Fi access codes are all secured. Moreover, NordPass offers the convenience of password recovery through a unique feature often lacking in other password managers.

Notably, NordPass is included in all plans of NordVPN, except the Basic plan, making robust security accessible to all users. Whether for personal or business use, NordPass provides a comprehensive solution to digital security challenges.

Japan-based users on VPNs: real-world experiences

For this article, Japan Today conducted an ad hoc survey among a small group of expats and global Japanese. The survey revealed NordVPN’s widespread adoption and usage, as four out of five surveyed people had used the service.

One expat, an American businessman, was particularly concerned about his privacy, wishing to use apps and visit websites without being tracked or having his data compromised.

From safeguarding online banking transactions to securely sharing passwords with family members and business partners, it turned out that users of VPNs leverage NordVPN’s features for various, sometimes very personal, reasons.

Competitive Differentiation: NordVPN’s value proposition

While NordVPN faces competition from rival products like ExpressVPN, it distinguishes itself through a combination of factors.

With a vast network of over 6,300 servers spanning over 110 countries, NordVPN offers truly global coverage, catering to digital nomads and remote workers, among other groups.

Competitive pricing, diverse payment options, and compatibility across multiple platforms further enhance NordVPN’s appeal, ensuring accessibility for a wide range of users.

With robust features, intuitive UX, and competitive performance, NordVPN allows one to browse the internet with some confidence, accessing content from around the world while enhancing anonymity.

Despite minor drawbacks, NordVPN’s commitment to transparency and reliability makes their service a strong contender in the VPN ecosystem; the service, it seems,  is considered a trusted ally by many in Japan and other markets.



NordVPN offers a monthly, one-year and two-year plan, as well as a 30-day refund guarantee. Check NordVPN's Special Offer page to get up to 69% off NordVPN.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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