Monday, June 4, 2012

MIC warning poster on uncertified wireless devices

I've mentioned on this blog numerous times in numerous places that it is illegal to use wireless devices that do not display the MIC certification mark. This must be on the screen, or physically stamped to the phone. (A sticker is apparently OK.) Even if a phone is certified, like the Nexus One (PB99100), it still must display the mark to be legally used. Fortunately, Google got their act together and not only got the Nexus S certified, but also got around to stamping it as such.

Recently spotted in a Kansai train is this AKB48 poster reminding commuters that only wireless devices that display the MIC "certification mark" are allowed for usage in Japan.
STOP! 不法電波
STOP! Illegal radio waves
Wireless devices certified to overseas standards are not to be used domestically. Illegal radio waves effect other devices. Less than one year imprisonment or less than 1 million yen fine. Use of radio waves requires licensing. Does your wireless device display a certification mark?
You'll notice that this mentions wireless devices in general, not mobile phones specifically. Typically, something like this would be most likely targeting CB radio users. However, there is a thriving gray market for overseas wireless devices in places like Akihabara. Using a popular idol group for a poster on a commuter train indicates that, for some reason, the usage of uncertified radio gear by the general public is now on the MIC's radar.

Perhaps more people are buying smartphones overseas. Perhaps domestic makers fear competition from gray market phones. Perhaps this isn't targeting phones at all. Will the average foreigner using a gray market phone have to worry about being arrested? Probably not. Does that make it legal? Certainly not.

This mark must be accompanied with the certification numbers.

B-mobile IDEOS has a sticker with the certification information
Here is an example of what SHOULD HAVE BEEN stamped on the Nexus One. I am unsure if the law requires that only the manufacturer or importer affix the proper stamp with the proper certifications numbers.
Image Source. These are the
correct certification numbers for the
Nexus One.


  1. The amount of people I've seen in recent weeks with all sorts of Xperias that haven't been released in Japan (Xperia P, Xperia U), I'd say people are starting to really use overseas phones these days.

  2. The Japanese carriers have only themselves to blame for that, for releasing a parade of dross domestically-made Galapagos phones, and ignoring all the good phones being made overseas (with the exception of Samsung)

  3. A big problem around ski areas popular with foreigners (namely Niseko and Hakuba) is people bringing in FRS/GMRS walkie-talkies that aren't certified. You can often see big adverts in those areas warning that they interfere with TV/emergency services bands.

  4. Not AKB48, get your idol groups straight >:-E
    Take-chan! Why you want to fine me for 1 million yen?!? I won't be able to buy overpriced photos of you anymore!!

  5. With the amount of money they take for a Wi-Fi certificate I would not think they would need any tax payer money anymore.

    The thing is that if your (Wi-Fi) product has FCC or EU certification you know it will pass the Telec certfication also. You just need to use several months and around a million yen to get it. And that is for each of your products and variants even if they use the same Wi-Fi chip and antenna.

  6. Techniker TechnologeJune 4, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Stop. I think in a true Japanese fashion the slogan should read something like "Let's limit domestic competition!"

  7. So, just go to Narita, and every single person coming in, check their pockets... 1 phone = 1 million yen fine.... Its just a new B_shit to cash in more money for nothing... Market sooner or later is going to be more and more flooded with non MIC mark

  8. Are there Japanese varieties of the FRS/GMRS transceivers widely available in Japan -- at a reasonable price? ( ) A few years ago, I saw the cheap, $7 radios being sold in Akihabara for 10,000 yen! With that kind of price, I'm thinking the domestic industry just isn't serving that market at all.

  9. meh, they're all the same to me.

  10. I totally agreed with u.The Japanese Company are taking advantage of dumb or uneducated users by releasing junk phones except apple/samsung/sony and they are overpriced too.and esp softbank phones are junk and overpriced(eg Dell realesed by SB is 70k)..and govt laws are always in favour of Companies rather than people.

  11. Yes, the custom officers will open your phone's battery cover :P

  12. They can opek your luggage.... They can check your asshole... Checkng a phone is as possiboe as the other two.

  13. I've been seeing that poster on subways in Tokyo recently as well.
    The poster says Smilage? スマイレージ
    which, according to a quick google search (In Google We Trust) seems to be some post-morning-musume idol pop group that odds are most people have NEVER heard of.

    But it seems fitting since odds are, most people don't care about "illegal radio waves" either.

    Although, a recently airing TV Drama called Ataru [ ] has some police lab characters going crazy about "illegal radio waves" coming from "those americans"

  14. haha =P
    Could one claim "I'm not going to turn it onよ~ That's just for when I arrive at the airport in another country after I leave Japan" ^^

  15. I'm trying to figure out if the Xperia U has the mark in its firmware or not. Does anyone know? Or know a site that keeps a list of phones with that are certified? I would hope the JP government would just publish the list on their site but....

  16. It is searchable through the product number, in the case of the N1, PB99100. It's not easily searchable, but it is searchable.

    That's how we originally found the N1 certification information.

  17. Where would you search?

  18. The maze of the MIC site somewhere that I never book marked and it took me an hour to find. NOT doing that again.

  19. Hello
    Could someone tell me if the HTC desire HD (A9191) is certified in Japan, according to that regulation .
    And if anyone has a copy of the sticker i would appreciate it so I could show it if requested when I will rent my sim card.
    Thank you