The global digital wellbeing study shows that the Japan has dropped 3 places since last year, falling behind South Korea

VILNIUS, Lithuania, Sept. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The third annual edition of the Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) ranks Japan 12th among 110 countries. Covering 90% of the global population, the DQL study is conducted by the cybersecurity company Surfshark and evaluates countries based on a set of five fundamental digital wellbeing pillars. Japan excels in three, specifically internet affordability (6th), e-government (11th) and e-infrastructure (13th), but displays mediocre results in internet quality (31st), and e-security (32nd).

Overall, Japan’s DQL has decreased slightly compared to 2020, falling from 9th place to 12th. The country ranks 2nd in Eastern Asia behind South Korea. Mobile internet in South Korea is 3 times faster (144.03 Mbps) than in Japan (41.19 Mbps). On the other hand, people in neighboring South Korea have to work 2 times more (total of 66 min/month) to afford the cheapest broadband internet.

Japan’s DQL is around 30% better than the global average, but it still has room for improvement in specific areas. Compared to the United Kingdom, Japan has a similar GDP per capita, but e-security of both countries differs substantially – UK ranks 17th in the pillar, while Japan barely makes it to the top 40. Additionally, mobile internet stability in the country only ranks in 96th place and its affordability is low compared to broadband.

“Digital opportunities have proved to be more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, stressing the importance for every country to ensure fully remote operational capacities for their economies,” – explains Vytautas Kaziukonis, CEO of Surfshark. “That is why, for the third year in a row, we continue the Digital Quality of Life research, which provides a robust global outlook into how countries excel digitally. The index sets the basis for meaningful discussions about how digital advancement impacts a country’s prosperity and where improvements can be made.”

In an all-around picture, 6 out of 10 countries holding the highest scores are located in Europe, following last year’s trend. Denmark ranks 1st in DQL for the second year in a row and is closely followed by South Korea. Finland ranks 3rd, while Israel and the U.S. round out the top five of 110 nations that were evaluated. The bottom 5 countries are Ethiopia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Guatemala, and Angola.

Regionally, the U.S. stands out as a country with the highest digital quality of life in the Americas, while South Korea takes the leading position in Asia. Among countries in Africa, people in South Africa enjoy the highest quality of their digital lives whereas Australia leads in Oceania, outperforming New Zealand in various digital areas.

Other significant findings of the report include:

Broadband is globally less affordable this year. Comparing countries included in both DQL20 and DQL21, people have to work 11% more (25 min more) to afford broadband internet in 2021. However, people have to work 29% less (28 min less) to afford mobile internet this year.
The world’s worst internet is the least affordable. People in some countries, such as Nigeria, Côte D’Ivoire and Mali require approximately a week’s worth of work to afford the internet.
Investing in electronic infrastructure and electronic government contributes to people’s digital wellbeing the most.

The 2021 DQL research examined a total population of more than 6.9 billion people in terms of five core pillars and 14 underpinning indicators that provide a comprehensive measure. The study is based on open-source information provided by the United Nations, the World Bank, Freedom House, the International Communications Union, and other sources.

The final 2021 Digital Quality of Life report and an interactive country comparison tool can be found here:

Surfshark, a Gold winner at 2021 Cybersecurity Excellence awards as a Most Innovative Security Service of the Year, is a privacy protection toolset developed to provide its users with the ability to control their online presence seamlessly. The core premise of Surfshark is to humanize online privacy protection and develop tools that protect users’ privacy beyond the realm of a virtual private network.


Paulius Udra
+370-645 26125
[email protected]