Pursuit of Harmony and Mutual Development with SocietySUSTAINABILITY FOR THE MEDIA DO GROUP

Basic Policy

MEDIA DO’s name encapsulates the Company’s desire to become a medium that unites forms of value that would not have come together otherwise and thereby contribute continually to the evolution and development of society. The growth of the business of the MEDIA DO Group is linked to the ongoing and harmonious development of society as well as to the growth of the publishing industry. For this reason, we recognize that it is important for our business activities and services to contribute to healthy economic development as well as to the enrichment of culture and society. Going forward, the MEDIA DO Group will continue to pursue growth through business activities matched to contemporary trends and changes while leveraging its unique strengths to generate social value.

Unleashing a Virtuous Cycle of Literary Creation

Fight against Piracy Together with ABJ
MEDIA DO is charged with the mission of continuously protecting the frameworks that support the ongoing production of high-quality creative works and provide users with a safe environment that can be used with confidence to enjoy these works. We are also tasked with maximizing the volume of works distributed through these frameworks in order to contribute to the development of the culture these works shape. The spread of illegally reproduced content (piracy) is one of the greatest threats to the publishing industry and a constant source of economic and mental stress to all involved in the production and distribution of creative works. Creator organizations, publishers, telecommunications companies, MEDIA DO, and other industry participants banded together to establish Authorized Books of Japan (ABJ) in 2020 as an organi-zation for driving consistent, long-term efforts to fight piracy. As of April 1, 2023, membership in ABJ totaled 90 companies.

ABJ has led the charge in combating piracy by improving user literacy and preventing the damages that piracy causes. Measures on this front have included anti-piracy campaigns advanced through coordination between creators and ABJ members as well as the use of the ABJ certification mark to indicate authorized distribution services. As of July 31, 2023, there were approxi-mately 900 eBook distributors and distribution services displaying the ABJ certification mark. Meanwhile, an anti-piracy campaign thanking people for their love of manga, which was a collaborative undertaking by publishers together with popular artist Vaundy, garnered significant attention in March 2023, with the campaign video being played more than 10 million times on social media.

The industry has been gaining ground through these efforts, which have successfully halved the access numbers of the 10 most used piracy websites from the peak levels seen in January 2022. Another victory in the war on piracy was the closure of a major piracy website in June 2023. Nevertheless, the access numbers of piracy websites remain high. ABJ will thus be rolling out surveys of users and other measures aimed at examining the underlying cause of piracy in its crusade to eradicate piracy and help create an environment in which creators feel safe to create.

Website for ABJ anti-piracy campaigns (in Japanese only)

Participation in W3C Internet Technology International Standardization Organization
EPUB is a global standard file format for eBooks specified by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an organization promoting the international standardization of internet technologies. MEDIA DO officially joined W3C in 2018 with the aim of playing an active role in discussions on the impacts of technological progress on the content industry, how to respond to these impacts, and how technology can be used by the industry. Currently, Daihei Shiohama, president and CEO of overseas subsidiary Media Do International, Inc., is serving as the Asian co-chair of the Publishing Business Group of W3C. In 2020, Mr. Shiohama became the first Japanese member among the W3C evangelists, an elite team of field specialists from around the world. In this role, he encourages members of the Japanese publishing industry to participate in this organization.

Based on the recommendations of W3C, EPUB 3.3 was adopted as the new international standard for eBooks on May 25, 2023. In addition to employing the latest specifications, EPUB 3.3 is also guaranteed to feature backward compatibility. The adoption of this new standard is anticipated to accelerate the distribution of eBook files in Japan and around the world. Meanwhile, the newly adopted EPUB Accessibility 1.1 specification will offer the levels of accessibility required by global social foundations.

Progress in internet and other technologies with the potential to impact society is moving forward at an increasingly rapid pace, and the operating environment for the content industry is constantly changing as a result. To respond to such change, the MEDIA DO Group will continue to be an active participant in discussions regarding EPUB specifications while sharing information regarding the future of the publishing industry and the environment pertaining to media with publishing and media industries around the world. At the same time, we will advance the conversation on cases of new technologies being used in next-generation publishing in order to realize MEDIA DO’s vision of “More Content for More People!”

Easy Access to Books for People with Disabilities through Accessible Library
In June 2019, Japan instituted a law aimed at ensuring that everyone has access to books, regardless of whether they have a disability. This law requires municipalities to provide accessible books and eBooks that can be used with ease by people with vision impairments and to pursue increases in the quantity and quality of the books available. MEDIA DO seeks to make active contributions to the development of culture by helping develop frameworks that grant everyone easy access to books. This desire prompted us to develop the Accessible Library, a digital library service for people with disabilities that uses automated text-to-voice technologies for eBook files. Launched in June 2022, Accessible Library was designed as a tool for supporting municipalities in creating libraries that accommodate people with disabilities.

To help address the diverse issues of a wide range of municipalities, Accessible Library is provided through a scheme that allows it to be introduced at prices determined based on population size that are lower than the standard asking price. This service uses the reflowable EPUB*1 format files produced by publishers to allow users to enjoy unlimited access to easy-to-hear readings via the automated text-to-voice function.

It is estimated that there is roughly 300,000 people with vision impairments in Japan, and approximately 10% of these individu-als use braille on a general basis to obtain information.*2 A number of the books that public libraries provide for people with vision impairments are translated to braille or are in the form of voice recordings produced through the hard work of volun-teers. However, as libraries have to prioritize popular works likely to be in high demand when producing such options for people with vision impairments, it is difficult for them to offer a wide range of options from diverse genres. Seeking to resolve this issue, MEDIA DO embarked on the development of Accessible Library as a framework for providing, in an efficient and ongoing manner, options for people with vision impairments to read a diverse range of past and future works.

In October 2022, MEDIA DO was presented with the grand prize in the Digital Agency’s good digital award program, recog-nizing Accessibly Library as a service for realizing inclusive and accessible digital transformation. Also, in December 2022, we received first prize in the 2022 iteration of the digital publishing award program organized by the Japan Electronic Publishing Association to promote digital publishing and the refinement of related technologies in Japan. As of June 30, 2023, we were offering more than 16,000 works through Accessible Library, thanks to the support of 13 publishers, and this service was used by some 90 municipal government agencies and public libraries across Japan. People with vision impairments throughout the country are being encouraged to take advantage of this service.

*1 eBook files that can flexibly adjust text and layout features
*2 Source: Statistics on Children and Other People with Disabilities Released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (2016)

Message from an Accessible Library User

Yasuyuki Suzuki
Director, Sakakimachi Township Library, Nagano Prefecture(Introduced Accessible Library in May 2023)

Nagano is one of the largest prefectures in Japan, and is covered with mountains. As such, there are towns in which libraries are far away as well as those that do not have a library at all. This situation was further compounded by the typhoons that occurred in 2019 as well as by the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2020, creating a strong need to address the issue of not being able to check out a book without actually going to a library. In response to this situation, Nagano Prefecture launched a digital library operated jointly by prefectural and municipal government agencies on August 5, 2022.

This library employees a new scheme in which the prefectural government operates the overall platform, and all 77 municipalities in Nagano Prefecture purchase the portion of the eBooks to which they have been assigned. The goal of this project is to overcome geographical limitations to allow anyone to read eBooks, for free, regardless of place or time.

We were able to take another large step toward our ideal of providing access to “anyone” thanks to Accessible Library. The decision to take this step was based on a discussion by a committee of representatives from prefectural and municipal government agencies on how we could make reading more accessible for people with vision impairments. I look forward to further involving Nagano’s information services to be even more inclusive going forward.

Community Contribution

Support for Entrepreneurship to Contribute to Regional Development

Japan currently faces a number of serious social issues, including the contraction of its workforce and the rapid aging of its population. Recognizing these issues, MEDIA DO is actively promoting regional development to ensure that Japan can hand down an energized society to future generations.

In this endeavor, an issue that needs to be addressed is the concentration of information and production capabilities in major urban centers, a situation that results in regional economies lacking information and experiencing of their population decline. One of MEDIA DO’s efforts to address this issue was the 2020 establishment of TOKUSHIMA INNOVATION BASE ASSOCIATION (TIB) in Tokushima Prefecture, where Founder and President Yasushi Fujita was born. Created jointly with four local companies, TIB is spearheading efforts to assist entrepreneurs and managers active in regional economies in honing their management skills and to help them grow in a safe and secure environment.

Annual innovation base meeting assembly for all members (May 2023)

TIB coordinates with universities and municipal government organizations as well as with the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a global organization that has attracted participation by approximately 15,000 entrepreneurs from across the world and generates annual revenue in excess of ¥100 million. Through this coordination, TIB offers valuable learning opportunities as well as programs for fostering mutually supportive relationships between managers with the aim of cultivating prominent entrepreneurs outside of urban centers. Other companies have followed this example, leading to similar initiatives underway or being planned in more than 30 other prefectures as of July 2022. MEDIA DO hopes to spread such initiatives across Japan in order to create a robust flow of information and people into regional economies and to thereby contribute to the nationwide cultivation of new industries that will strengthen the Japanese economy as a whole.

Professional Basketball Club Contributing to Regional Economy

To help create a more fulfilling society, the MEDIA DO Group encourages the empowerment of regional communities by driving local economic and cultural development through support for professional sports. As one facet of these efforts, MEDIA DO, through joint investment with 22 other companies with connections to Tokushima, established GAMBAROU TOKUSHIMA Co., Ltd., in April 2022. This company aims to create the first Tokushimabased men’s basketball club to join the Japan Professional Basketball League (B.League).

While maintaining close coordination with shareholders and other companies, organizations, and government agencies, GAMBAROU TOKUSHIMA manages the TOKUSHIMA GAMBAROUS basketball club. TOKUSHIMA GAMBAROUS joined the 2023–2024 season of the B3 League, a league below the B.League, in July 2023. The opening game of the season is slated to be held in Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture in October.

TOKUSHIMA GAMBAROUS is engaged in efforts to contribute to the regional economy in Tokushima Prefecture by encouraging sports tourism through official games expected to draw large numbers of spectators and staff and through the attraction of lodging facilities. Another goal of TOKUSHIMA GAMBAROUS is to contribute to culture and education and to the creation of venues through which community members can communicate through sports.