Diet library offers free online access

JIJI

The National Diet Library has launched a public-private pilot program that provides online access to its books free of charge.

The program, led by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, creates digital files of the library’s books to allow access via smartphones and other gadgets.

It is designed to explore new business opportunities related to the use of such archives, agency officials said.

The test program, launched Friday and set to run through March 3, covers 13 works including Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s “Rashomon” and “Kappa,” as well as Kunio Yanagida’s “Tono Monogatari,” a collection of folk tales. Their copyrights have expired.

The program is offered on an online store run by major bookstore chain Kinokuniya Co., which is offering free registration at http://bookweb.kinokuniya.co.jp.