Japanese comics (which is called “manga”) and animated cartoons (called "anime") are subject to very robust protection in Japan. It is common to read about individuals facing jailtime and fines for illegal distribution of copyright-protected content or selling of unlicensed merchandise.
For the most part people residing outside of Japan managed to get away with hosting scans of popular manga titles on their own website. However, the Japanese government is now taking steps to strengthen the protection for Japan's manga industry. Japan is rolling out new copyright laws improving protection for manga and anime, and will be sending takedown notices to over 500 alleged infringers who have uploaded manga scans online without permission from the copyright holders.
According to the Japan Book Publishers Association’s data, the sales of manga in North America in 2011 have dropped to 150 billion yen (roughly US$1.5 billion) from 2007’s 300 billion yen (US$2.9 billion). Piracy is cited as the main cause of decline.
The campaign started on 1 August 2014, and is supported by various businesses, anime production outfits, and publishers. According to the Japan Times report on the subject, a large number of suspected infringers are Chinese websites.
The Japanese government’s campaign against online manga piracy isn’t limited to just the infringers. The campaign will also see the launch of a new website that will give overseas manga readers access to official versions of the violated works. This is intended to address the most common excuse made by copyright infringers - that there's no convenient legal means of access to the copyright-protected work