Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has announced plans to build a centralized database for rights information on Japanese content, including films, animation and music.

The database, set for launch in the 2016-17 fiscal year, will be translated into various languages and be available to potential rights buyers worldwide.

International negotiation for Japanese content rights is currently complicated by the tangle of local rights owners for many intellectual properties. This is a by-product of Japan’s ‘production committee’ system for producing films and other content, in which a consortium of media companies underwrite a project in return for slices of the rights. The database will help foreign buyers sort out who owns what – information that is now often hard to obtain.

METI will select a database contractor in the first half of the 2016 fiscal year, which begins at the end of March, 2016.  The initiative is part of METI’s plan to triple overseas sales of Japanese content rights to JPY20 billion ($166 million) from FY2013 to FY2018.