The government will initiate in August a major campaign to curtail the rampant practice, mainly in China, of uploading Japanese anime and manga on the Web for public viewing without authors' permission, NHK said Monday.

As the popularity of Japanese-made animated movies and cartoons soars worldwide, thanks in part to the government's effort to promote their export, a growing number of websites, especially those operated by Chinese, are offering their online versions for free in violation of the rights of their copyright owners.

The Cultural Affairs Agency estimates such violations by Chinese pirate sites alone have amounted to at least ¥560 billion in the past year.

In the joint campaign, the government, along with 15 businesses, including anime production companies and publishers, will start Friday to send requests to delete illegal anime and manga postings to some 580 violators that the government has identified. The campaign will also launch a site that leads users to websites that offer official versions of some 250 of the violated works, including recently produced ones, at a cost of several hundred yen, according to NHK.

"We want to create a scheme that allows overseas fans to enjoy Japanese works legally and without worries (for violation) and enables profits from them to be paid to anime production companies and publishers," NHK quoted a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official as saying.