In 2021 society is deeply engaged in a virtual Internet, which has a degenerative effect that is referred to as nerve attenuation syndrome or NAS. Another major issue is the takeover of society by large corporations, many of which are based in east Asia. In Japan the Yakuza organized crime family is used for enforcement. This makes the transmission of data to be a dangerous business.
Johnny is a "mnemonic courier" with a data storage device implanted in his brain, allowing him to discreetly carry information too sensitive to transfer across the Net, the virtual-reality equivalent of the Internet. While lucrative, the implant has cost Johnny his childhood memories, and he seeks to have the implant removed to regain his memories; his handler, Ralfi assigns him one more job that would cover the costs of the operation (which are extremely expensive), sending Johnny to Beijing to collect the latest information. Johnny is told that the information exceeds his current memory capacity of 80 gigabytes, but he acquires a compression unit that effectively doubles the amount he can hold. Johnny Mnemonic Wikipedia, retrieved March 25, 2020.