From a Japan Times Editorial:
That Japanese public libraries are thriving may come as no surprise to anyone, but an education ministry report found that the number of books checked out by elementary school children from the 3,274 public libraries nationwide reached an average of 26 per child in fiscal 2010. That is up from 18.8 in 2007, a significant and commendable upswing to the highest level ever. The total number of books checked out by all people was also at a peak of 663.6 million books nationwide.
After the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, libraries in many areas were decimated. Librarians, volunteers and readers of all kinds worked hard to ensure that children and adults had access to books so their reading life could continue even during the middle of the tragedy.
…libraries deserve even more support and use. Their importance will continue as libraries learn to adapt to new forms of reading, such as e-books, while still providing many other functions. Most importantly, books must be presented to young people in fun and meaningful ways until their natural curiosity and reading habits take over to keep them reading on their own. Libraries help do just that.
Read the Complete Editorial