The idea that America is more "free" than Japan is one I've encountered quite often during my ESL teaching days. Japanese students, tired of Japan's stricter, more structured society, often pine for life in America, which is "free" and therefore good. In what way is America freer than Japan, I would ask, always eager to teach a lesson on a subject that interests my students rather than working from a boring ESL textbook. In America, there are fewer rules and more personal freedom, the answer would come back. No uniforms in junior high and high school. Most Americans start driving at age 16, not 18 as in Japan, and young people don't have to pony up $3000 or more for a month-long driving school to get their drivers' license. I enjoyed my days as an English teacher because of random, interesting discussions like this.
Seen from Japan, America is a very "free" place.