The Agency for Cultural Affairs will implement the “eBooks Project” as a part of the experiments which aims to facilitate the distribution and usage of electronic books.

1. Project Summary

Upon implementation of the tests run under the experiment which aims to facilitate the distribution and usage of electronic books, the “eBooks Project” was launched to clarify the problems and advantages in the distribution and usage of electronic books (refer to attachment-1). Under the working group lead by the legal advisor, Kensaku Fukui, materials selected from the digital archives of the National Diet Library which have obtained copyright clearance will be digitally recreated and distributed in this experiment. The results of the eBooks Project will be summarized to be used by public and private organizations aiming to create electronic books from digital materials and distribute them.

2. Materials to be distributed

Refer to attachment-2

3. Distribution period

1 February 2013 – 3 March 2013

4. Contractors and others

Contractors: Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Distributor: Kinokuniya Company, Ltd.
※For details, contact the Agency for Cultural Affairs, eBooks Project Office


(Reference) Summary on Experiment to Facilitate the Distribution and Usage of Electronic Books

- As electronic books recently continue to gain ground, the utilization of the National Diet Library’s digital archives is becoming ever increasingly important. According to the December 2011 summary report on discussions from the conference on the facilitation and utilization of electronic books, it stresses the need to develop a new business model which utilizes the electronic materials of the National Diet Library, along with the need to implement limited experiments of onerous distribution services by parties interested in the development of e-book businesses. Implementation of the above is necessary, furthermore, as the  Intellectual Property Strategic Program 2012  drawn up last May stipulates the promotion of utilizing national archives.

- Based on the above, the Agency for Cultural Affairs will implement a simple test to create and distribute eBooks by utilizing the National Diet Library's current digital archives. The experiment will involve simulated copyright clearing for contract related matters including investigating copyright owners and licensing/clearing copyrights.  Upon investigating possibilities for new business models, the project aims to promote the distribution and usage of digital materials by small-medium sized publishers and other businesses.

Selection Standards for the Distribution Materials used by the Agency for Cultural Affairs eBooks Project

With legal advisor Fukui Kensaku as the chief investigator of this project, the working group comprised of academics, publishers, e-book creators and distributors selected 13 materials for this project.

13 electronic works have been selected for this project based on records of the number of people accessing the National Diet Library's digital archives, and the number of those perusing the digital archives in the library. Upon further consideration of the characteristics and balance of the material for this project, 8 works were selected as appropriate for this test, and 5 were selected from the Japanese Literature Publishing Project implemented by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (refer to attachment-2 for details).
Upon consideration of the date and conditions of these publications, the works are digitally displayed in the exact format of their initial publications taken from the National Diet Library's digitalized archives.


Agency for Cultural Affairs, Copyright Division,
Office for Copyrighted Works Distribution
Director: Hiromi Yamanaka
Deputy Director: Shuji Suzuki 
Unit Chief: Taichi Uchimura (ext:2847)
Telephone: 03-5253-4111 (reception)

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(Agency for Cultural Affairs, Commissioner's Secretariat, Copyright Division)