Q Why are there more bookstores than libraries in Japan?

A The number of libraries available to the general public is said to be a barometer of the country's culture, and on this point, Japan is a backward country because there are too few libraries.

The Library Law enacted in England in 1850 established free libraries open to the public covered by taxes. The United States increased its number of public libraries in the nineteenth century.

Japan enacted the Library Law in 1950, one hundred years after the West. The number of public libraries has been steadily increasing and while there were 1,633 libraries in 1985, it increased to 2,297 in 1995 but even then, Japan still lags far behind the West.
Bookstores that are members of the Federation of Japan

Bookstores as of April 1995 numbered 10,967. Including bookstores that are not members, the overall number of bookstores is approximately 20,000. The number of bookstores has not decreased with the spread of libraries.

Bookstores fulfill a role not covered by libraries such as: providing up-to-date information, providing reading matter for entertainment such as comics and popular novels, and providing study referen