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The Japanese Government’s Approach to legal issues in Metaverse
Aug 18,2023

The Japanese Government’s Approach to legal issues in Metaverse


The Japanese government introduced the “Intellectual Property Promotion Plan 2022” in June 2022. Within its “Top 10 IP Strategy Measures,” a primary emphasis was placed on the need to adjust to rapidly emerging technologies, particularly the metaverse, NFTs, and generative AIs. A key component of this visionary strategy is the planned development of guidelines addressing both content-related and inherent legal challenges of the metaverse.


For a more comprehensive understanding, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications launched a dedicated study group on the utilization of the metaverse in August 2022. By July 2023, this group had unveiled its findings through an extensive report. This report articulates a precise definition of the metaverse, portraying it as “A virtual digital space accessible via the Internet or other networks, enabling users to engage in communication.” It delves into the historical trajectory of the metaverse, highlighting how the amalgamation of elements from online games, social media platforms, and online conferencing tools molded the metaverse, which has seen a surge in popularity since the late 2010s. Economically, the report posits that the global metaverse market is on track to hit a staggering US$678.8 billion by 2030, marking a growth of roughly 17 times from its 2021 valuation. Additionally, Japan’s domestic market is projected to be valued at 4 trillion yen in 2025, escalating to 24 trillion yen by 2030.


Concurrently, the Cabinet Office has taken proactive steps. In November 2022, they instituted a public-private collaboration council centered solely on the metaverse’s legal intricacies related to content. Their rigorous discussions and deliberations led to the release of a comprehensive report in May 2023. A prominent issue underscored in this document relates to the unauthorized imitation and sale of real-world branded items within the metaverse. There’s a growing anticipation among industry professionals and legal experts for the formulation of clearer and more stringent regulations overseeing trademark registrations pertaining to products and services in the metaverse in the foreseeable future.


<Sources (in Japanese only)>

Intellectual Property Promotion Plan 2022″ (Prime Minister’s Office website)

Report of the Study Group on Utilization of Metaverse, etc. for the Web3 Era,” dated July 18, 2023 (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications website)

Discussion Paper on New Legal Issues Concerning Content in the Metaverse, etc.” (Prime Minister’s Official Residence website)