Recently elected Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama has vowed to extend posthumous copyright protection on compositions from 50 to 70 years.

Speaking at a party celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of JASRAC, the Japanese composers and authors' society, the prime minister threw his support behind the plan which has long been sought by JASRAC, other rights holders societies and music industry bodies in Japan.

The proposal would extend the posthumous period of protection for compositions from the present 50 years to 70 years, bringing Japan in line with international standards. The prime minister did not lay out a timetable for the plan.

Hatoyama added that it was fitting to announce his support for the proposal to extend the protection period to 70 years at the 70th anniversary of JASRAC. He said his party, the Democratic Party of Japan, would work towards revising the copyright law.

Music industry bodies, including the Recording Industry Assn. of Japan, the Music Publishers Assn. of Japan and JASRAC, first petitioned the government for the extension in 2006.

On Aug. 30, Hatoyama's Democratic Party defeated the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, which had held power in Japan for most of the post war era.