The government on Wednesday decided to forgo submitting to the Diet a bill that would make it illegal to download literary materials without the permission of copyright holders, as concerns grew that it would impose excessive restraints on internet use.

With Japan seeing a rise in the number of piracy websites, some of which are estimated to have caused damage worth hundreds of billions of yen, the government had sought to broaden the criminalization of downloads of copyrighted materials from videos and music to cover all types of content.

But academics, manga artist groups and others have said the envisioned expansion to also cover materials including manga, computer games and literary pieces could affect freedom of expression by fans and hinder legitimate activities, such as research.