The iPhone is climbing up the ranks in the crowded Japanese mobile phone market, recently reaching the number five position behind Sharp, Panasonic, Fujitsu and Kyocera. The Japanese government is taking notice of this increasingly popular smartphone and is calling on exclusive carrier Softbank and Apple to install content filtering software in accordance with Japanese law. Japan's government requires mobile phone operators to install filtering software on handsets that are sold to minors to protect these youths from harmful website content. While the law does not carry any penalties, the National Police Agency still canvass mobile phone dealers to confirm handsets comply with this law.
A spokesperson from Softbank Mobile responded to the government's request with the argument that installing censorware on the iPhone would be a difficult process. Stores would need to obtain personal information, including credit card details, from each customer before installing the filtering software on a newly purchased iPhone. Thus far, the Japanese government has not responded to this reluctant response. It will be interesting to see if Japan turns up the heat on Softbank and Apple to force compliance with this protective law or if officials will just let it slide.