• User Guide
  • Our Services
  • Tokyo Main Library
  • Kansai-kan of the NDL
  • International Library of Children's Literature
  • Access
  • Photoduplication Service
  • User Registration
  • Online Services
  • List of Online Services
  • Legislative Information
  • Online Catalog
  • Digital Library
  • Search Guide
  • Online Gallery

Top > About Us > Services & Roles

Services & Roles

Services for the Diet

One mission of the National Diet Library (NDL) is to assist the activities of the Diet by supplying appropriate analysis and information. The NDL therefore provides legislative research and information services at the request of the Diet members, in addition to offering them reading, lending and copying services of library materials. All departments of the NDL work together to ensure satisfactory Services for the Diet.
The Research and Legislative Reference Bureau, a legislative support organ of the Diet, carries out wide-ranging research on national issues including the political, economic and social systems of Japan and other countries, using large amounts of materials and internal and external databases. The number of answers provided by the Bureau in response to requests from Diet members and Diet staff is approximately 40,000 a year.
The research papers, other publications, the “Full-text Database of the Minutes of the Diet (jointly constructed with both Houses),” “Database System for the Minutes of the Imperial Diet” and the “Index Database to Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills” which the Research and Legislative Reference Bureau provides and develops for the Diet deliberations, are available not only to the Diet members but also to the general public on the NDL website (in Japanese).

  • Services for the Diet
  • Legislative information
    Publications by the Research and Legislative Reference Bureau created as reference materials for the Diet deliberations (photo on the right) are available. (Publications are only in Japanese.)

Services for the executive and judicial branches

The NDL has branch libraries within the government ministries and agencies and the Supreme Court, thus extending its services such as lending, copying and reference services to the executive and judicial branches of the government. The NDL, the central library, and its branch libraries work in concert through a communications network, and cooperate on library activities such as exchange of official publications of government ministries and agencies, interlibrary loan, and staff training for librarians in the branch libraries. The NDL also operates the “Total System of the NDL and Branch Libraries” and provides several services such as a distributed union catalog database enabling a search of each library's catalog.
Through this Branch Libraries System, publications of the executive and judicial branches are deposited to the NDL.

Public services

The NDL provides services at the Tokyo Main Library, Kansai-kan and International Library of Children's Literature (ILCL), as well as via other libraries and the Internet (online service).

Services available by visiting the library

Anyone 18 years old or over of any nationality is eligible to visit the NDL and use the services. *
Most of the materials of the NDL are stored in closed stacks and user registration is necessary to use them. For information on user registration and how to apply, please see User Registration. Without user registration, materials on open shelves in the special materials rooms, digital images of the NDL collections, and subscribed e-journals are available. Library materials can be requested for paid copying services within the scope of the Japanese Copyright Law. Individuals are not allowed to take materials out on loan from the library.

The ILCL provides services to users under 18 years old as well. If you are under 18 years old and wish to use the materials of the Tokyo Main Library and the Kansai-kan, please consult us beforehand. For details, see FAQ..

Services available via other libraries

The NDL provides reader service by delivering materials to public and university libraries *. You can also request copying and reference services through the libraries.

indicates those libraries which are affiliated with the NDL interlibrary loan system. As there may be some materials which cannot be loaned out, please ask the libraries beforehand.
The ILCL provides lending services of selected sets of books which consist of 40-60 children's books assembled by subject (“Book Sets Lending Service to School Libraries”) and copying and reference services to school libraries.

The NDL provides Digitized Contents Transmission Service for Libraries in Japan, in which digitized versions of the NDL holdings that are out-of-print or otherwise difficult to obtain are available in domestic libraries and institutes that have become partners of the NDL.

Online services

Databases and digital images of materials on the NDL website are available to anyone at any time.

National Diet Library Digital Collections

The NDL has digitized more than two million items of books, periodicals, rare and old materials, doctoral dissertations and others. Among them, copyright-free items are available on the Internet. Digitized versions of out-of-print materials or difficult-to-obtain items of some copyrighted materials are also available in domestic libraries that applied for and received authorization from the NDL.

Current situation of digitized contents as of March 2016

(unit: item)

Material type Available Online Available via Digitized Contents Transmission Service Available only at the NDL Total
Total * 500,000 1,415,000 600,000 2,515,000
Rare books and Old Materials 70,000 20,000 - 90,000
Books 350,000 500,000 50,000 900,000
Periodicals 9,000 780,000 450,000 1,235,000

* Including official gazettes, doctoral dissertations, and other materials.

NDL Search

Collections and digital materials owned by libraries (including the NDL), museums, archives, academic research institutes, etc. in and out of Japan can be searched at once and in various ways. Search results contain links to digitized materials, and introductions on how to use or obtain the material.

National Diet Library Great East Japan Earthquake Archive (HINAGIKU)

The NDL Great East Japan Earthquake Archive is a portal site which enables integrated search of related books, sound sources, videos, photos, websites and others operated in collaboration with organizations collecting records of the earthquake disaster. Its aim is to hand down all records and lessons to future generations and to utilize them for the restoration and reconstruction of the affected areas as well as for disaster-prevention and damage control measures.

Other than the services above, the NDL creates catalogs of the holdings and various bibliographies and indexes, and provides them on the website. As databases to help find information, the RESEARCH NAVI provides tips for searching, background information and recommendation of helpful databases; and the Collaborative Reference Database (in Japanese) provides search for data of reference cases of nationwide libraries and manuals to find resources on specific subjects. The Online Gallery features digital images of NDL's collection with easy-to-understand explanations.

Remote copying services are available for registered users. In this service, copies of materials which are searchable via the NDL-OPAC can be requested via the Internet and received by mail.

Services for people with disabilities

The NDL provides various services and support for users who have difficulty in accessing our materials and information, such as the data transmitting service for persons with print disabilities.

To the head of this page