Japan’s Internet reached nearly 1.6 billion internet users in 2016, up by more than 300 million from 2015, according to data released by the country’s Communications and Industry Agency (CIA).
That’s up from an estimated 2.4 billion in 2015, the latest year for which data is available.
The total internet population grew by 2.7 million from a year earlier, according the CIA, to a total of 1.7 billion internet households.
Internet access grew by 10 percent in the year ended December 2016, and by 15 percent in 2016.
The growth was driven by an increase in the number of households with Internet access, the CIE said in its annual Internet Users Report.
“Our economy continues to develop in a manner that continues to support people’s use of digital media,” said Yukio Naka, the chief executive of the CIES.
The country’s internet penetration rose by 6.7 percent from a decade earlier, to 8.3 percent of the total population.
The CIE report also found that digital media growth in Japan surpassed its population growth, with more than 4.2 million people subscribing to digital media in 2016 compared with 3.8 million in 2015.
The share of Japan’s total population that accesses digital media grew to 30.5 percent in 2020 from 28.9 percent in 2015 and 25.6 percent in 2014.
“We’re not really seeing the full impact of our internet access, but the impact is increasing,” said Kazuo Takahashi, director of the Center for Media and Communications at Kyushu University.
“Japan’s internet is being used to create, to spread, to distribute information and to connect people.”
A recent poll showed that almost three-quarters of Japanese people believed that the country has too much online access.
“The country is now on the verge of a technological revolution,” Takahoshi said.
“I don’t think that it will be long before we are able to control what we consume online.”
The CIES also said that internet access was growing faster than the country as a whole, with a 15.6-percent increase in internet access in 2016 from 2015.
About 20 percent of Japan residents now have access to at least one internet connection, according a survey from the Cies last year.