Third Basic Plan Concerning the Promotion of Reading Activities by Children


The Second Basic Plan Concerning the Promotion of Reading Activities by Children was formulated in 2008 based on the Law on the Promotion of Reading Activities for Children (Kodomo no Dokusho Katsudo ni Kansuru Horitsu), enacted in December, 2001. It has been five years since then, and the Third Basic Plan was approved by the Cabinet on May 17, 2013.

Third Plan acknowledges the successes of the Second Plan: both the number of libraries and the annual volume of books loaned to children have reached record highs, the number of libraries with space for children has increased, the rate of public libraries in towns or villages providing OPAC for users has increased, and ”morning reading time” has become widely popular. On the other hand, the following problems were found: both junior-high and high-school students continue to stop reading as they grow older, some municipalities have yet to create plans for promoting children’s reading activities or to establish public libraries, and almost half of school libraries have yet to meet government standards for book collections at school libraries.”

Also, the past five years have seen major changes that affect the reading activities of children. The Library Law (Toshokan Ho) has been amended in response to the formulation of the Central Education Council’s Report on Lifelong Learning Policy for a New Era (Atarashi Jidai wo Kirihiraku Shogai Gakushu no Shinko Hosaku ni Tsuite), new curriculum guidelines, which promote reading activities to enhance language ability, have come into effect, and the environment in which people read has been altered by new ICT such as the rapid spread of digital books. In addition to other achievements and problems, the Third Plan takes into account such changes in children's learning environment.

The following is the gist of the Third Plan as it relates to libraries.

  • Aiming to halve the rate of non-readers in ten years, decrease that of elementary school to less than 3%, junior high school to less than 12%, and high school to less than 40% in approximately 5 years
  • Increase the rate of cities having a plan for promoting children’s reading activities to 100%, and of towns or villages to more than 70%
  • Encourage every library to provide information on children’s reading by use of ICT
  • Encourage every library to introduce computers for visitors and OPAC
  • Provide opportunities and places to get involved in various volunteer activities, and conduct training to facilitate those activities
  • Check and evaluate administrative performance
  • Set up more public libraries in cities, towns, and villages
  • Equip libraries with sufficient books and facilities
  • Enhance school library services to give students a sense of belonging
  • Encourage more schools to employ a school librarian

Encouraging national and local public bodies, parents, and schools to unite and narrow the regional gaps in the environment in which children read, the Third Plan emphasizes the importance of society-wide promotion of children’s voluntary reading activities.


(2013.7.18 update)