Tobita & Partners provides high quality legal advice and assistance to Japanese, foreign and foreign-based corporations and individuals.


Copying a map at a library

Today I'd like to tell about copyright.

In many libraries, it is prohibited to copy a map like a housing map more than a half of a two-page spread.
Many of you may think that we can copy anything in a library, but there are some restrictions on making a copy of works.

The reason why it is prohibited to copy a map more than a half of a two-page spread is as follows:
1. We can copy only a part of a work in a library in accordance with the Copyright Act.
2. "A part of a work" is interpreted as less than a half of the work in practice.
3. As for the housing map, a two-page spread is considered to be a single work.

Therefore, if you copy a housing map more than a half of a two-page spread, it would not "a part of a work" and it is prohibited by the Copyright Act.
Specifically, it is prescribed by law as follows:

(Reproduction in libraries, etc.)

Article 31 (1) In the following cases and as part of non-commercial undertakings at the National Diet Library or at a library or other facility specified by Cabinet Order whose purpose is to offer books, records, and other materials for the public to use (hereinafter referred to as a "library, etc." in this paragraph), it is permissible for a person to reproduce a work from a book, record, or other material of the library, etc. (hereinafter referred to in this Article as a "library material"):

(i) when providing a single user of the library, etc. with a single copy of a part of a work that has been made public (or the whole of a work that has been made public, if it is an individual work that has been printed in a periodical and a considerable period of time has elapsed since its publication) in response to the user's request and for the purpose of the user's research or studies.

In general, each page of a map book is linked to the other page and the entire book is regarded as one map.
Therefore, I think it is natural to regard one map book as one work.
Moreover, in reality, if the area which we want to copy is printed astride a two-page spread, it would be very inconvenient that we can copy only half of that.

This inflexibility might be a difficulty of Japanese Copyright Act.


Parent's access to children should be protected

On July 26, 2015, an article on Sankei newspaper about a contact was distributed to an internet news website as follows:
A man in his 40s fought with his wife at a family court and obtained the final judgement that the man shall see their daughter twice a month.
However, the wife refused this contact order due to their daughter's illness.
Then, the man applied to the family court for its indirect enforcement and he obtained the judgement that if the wife refuses the contact, she must pay a fine of 10,000 yen per one time.
However, the man could never see his daughter as yet, so he made an appeal.
Nagoya high court judged the wife intentionally refused the contact because there were no submitted materials that objectively confirm their daughter's illness.
Finally the court decided to increase the amount of the fine by four times.
I have been considering that it is a serious problem that contacts between parents and children have not been executed properly in Japan, so this judgement by Nagoya high court seems to be remarkable and revolutionary.
In order to deal with this problem, the rule that "parent's access to children has to be protected" should be respected thoroughly. 
This rule has not been observed properly because its enforceability is weak and easy to be broken with some excuses.
I believe we should keep it in mind that marital problems and parent-child problems are different issues.

The revised Corporate Law in 2014 requires Listed Companies to appoint at least one independent director.
In addition, Tokyo Stock Exchange (hereinafter, “TSE”) has formulated the “Japan’s Corporate Governance Code” which requires Companies listed on the First Section or the Second Section of the TSE to appoint at least two independent directors who should fulfill their roles and responsibilities with the aim of contributing to sustainable growth of companies and increasing corporate value over the mid- to long-term. 
This Code has just entered into force from June 1, 2015. 
More precisely, the appointment of independent directors is not obligatory, but if Listed Companies do not appoint independent directors, they should explain sufficient reason.

Overseas investors seem to evaluate the companies highly which have independent directors so most Listed Companies have decided to appoint independent directors.
Many of Japanese Listed Companies hold an ordinary general meeting of shareholders in June, so they are now finding candidates for an independent director. 
In many cases, candidates for independent director are former managers, lawyers or accountants. 
I have been working as an independent director since this June.

It is expected that the system of an independent director shall be more effective and this system will contribute to further development and success of companies, investors and the Japanese economy.