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Mission and Roles


"The NDL is hereby established as a result of the firm conviction that truth makes us free and with the object of contributing to international peace and the democratization of Japan as promised in our Constitution."

(From the Preamble of the National Diet Library Law)

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Supporting the National Diet

(1) The NDL supports the Diet and assists the activities of Diet members, using its professional expertise in research and accumulated information resources.

  • Research on request: The NDL carries out legislative research on a wide variety of national issues related to politics, economy, society, or science and technology in response to requests from Diet members.
  • Research on national policy issues: The NDL carries out research and publishes research papers in advance on subject matter it anticipates will prove germane to national politics.

(2) The NDL database of the minutes of the Diet and laws in the Japanese language keep the general public informed of Diet activities via the internet.

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Acquiring, cataloging, and preserving materials and information

(1) Material Acquisition

Domestic Publications - Legal Deposit System

The National Diet Library Law requires that all publications published in Japan, including microfilms, CDs, DVDs, maps, and more, must be deposited with the NDL. Through the Legal Deposit System, the NDL collects many domestic publications as the only legal deposit library in Japan. It also holds domestic publications which were published before the legal deposit system was initiated. The NDL owns the largest library collection in Japan.

Foreign Publications

The NDL selects and collects materials on Japan, as well as materials which are useful to support Diet activities and for conducting research and studies, by purchase, international exchange, and donation.


The NDL archives domestic websites.

Online Publications

The NDL collects e-books and e-magazines which are free, private online publications without Digital Rights Management (DRM).

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(2) Making and Providing Bibliographic Data

The NDL provides bibliographic data of collected materials.

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(3) Preservation and Conservation

To preserve and ensure future access to the library materials the NDL has collected, which are the shared cultural heritage of the nation, the NDL has initiatives to digitize materials, repair damaged materials, and develop a proper environment for preservation.

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Providing access to information resources

(1) Services Available by Visiting the Library

The NDL provides services including access to materials held by the NDL, copy services, and reference services.

Users can apply for user registration in accordance with the normal procedure and obtain a Registered-User Card at the User Registration Counter in the Annex. You can then search for and request the materials you require from the NDL Online on a user terminal. When the materials you requested arrive, pick up the materials at the specified counter. Materials cannot be taken outside the library.

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(2) Services Available without Visiting the Library

Services Available from Local Libraries

The NDL delivers materials to public and university libraries. You can also request copying and reference services through these libraries. The NDL provides a Digitized Contents Transmission Service, through which digitized versions of NDL holdings that are out-of-print or otherwise difficult to obtain are available at libraries and institutes that are partners of the NDL.

Services Available via the Internet

The NDL provides online services available to anyone at any time.

  • NDL Online
    Remote copying services are available for registered users via NDL Online.
  • NDL Digital Collections
    NDL Digital Collections enables users to search and view a wide variety of digital materials.
  • Other Databases
    Many other databases are also available.

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(3) Services for Persons with Print Disabilities

The NDL produces talking books of academic literature for users with print disabilities and lends them through libraries across Japan. In addition, the NDL collects Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) data and braille data made by public libraries, and provides them to libraries and individuals through an online data transmission service for persons with print disabilities.

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(4) Services for the Staff of Agencies in the Executive and Judicial Branches of Government

We lend library materials and accept requests for photocopying and reference services via National Diet Library branch libraries in many agencies of the executive and judicial branches of government. We also provide training in support of the staff working at our branch libraries.

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(5) Promoting Children's Reading Activities

The International Library of Children's Literature specializes in children's literature and provides library services for children's books from both Japan and around the world. We feel that every child should have the opportunity to become familiar with books and libraries, and we support programs that promote children's reading activities through exhibitions and other events related to children's literature.

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Cooperation with affiliated institutions

(1) Support for and Cooperation with Libraries in Japan

We provide training and information to libraries in Japan in support of their activities and human resource development, sharing our expertise in library sciences to help improve the operations and services of libraries throughout Japan.

  • Collaborative Reference Database
    The NDL's Collaborative Reference Database is a Japanese-language resource, through which libraries are able to share their responses to reference questions as well as to provide information for personal study.

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(2) International Cooperation

The NDL participates in the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and other international activities, through which we interact with other national libraries and their affiliated institutions in working to solve problems that are universal to all libraries as well as promote cooperative and collaborative projects with organizations that share common goals.

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(3) Comprehensive Access to Information Resources

We employ data linkage via the Internet to provide our patrons with a variety of data-linkage platforms that access digitized materials or search guides for Japanese libraries, including integrated searchability for records on the Great East Japan Earthquake or other useful means for accessing cultural resources throughout Japan.

  • National Diet Library Search
  • Great East Japan Earthquake Archive (HINAGIKU)
    HINAGIKU is a portal site on which you can collectively retrieve, browse and utilize the records and information related to the Great East Japan Earthquake.
  • Japan Search
    Japan Search links digital archives in the publications, cultural properties, and media arts fields and organizes metadata of varying of contents preserved by Japanese institutions and organizations into a searchable "national, integrated and cross-sectoral portal website".

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