Japanese law currently provides for a 50 years copyright protection. On 20th January 2003, the Japanese government proposed to increase existing copyright protection by 20 years.
The future law would also amend existing provisions regarding the burden of proof in copyright infringements cases. Thus, the alleged infringer would have to prove that his act was legal. Moreover, the bill would relax rules in relation to the use of copyright protected material for education purposes.
The bill should be discussed in the Japanese Congress in Spring this year. It already has to bear with many oppositions fearing that an extension of copyright protection would challenge new content creation. The future law would however be in line with EU and USA legislation, the latter having recently increased its copyright protection by 20 years.