Publishers in Japan demanded Tuesday that Apple stop selling pirated digital copies of novels by Japanese authors, including Haruki Murakami's "1Q84" on its online book store.
"We have no choice but to deem it illegal that Apple Inc. distributes materials which clearly violate copyright," a consortium of Japanese book publishers said in a statement sent to Apple's Japanese subsidiary.
It said that Apple's App Store had distributed pirated digital editions of works by famous Japanese authors including Murakami and Keigo Higashino.
"Some of the works have been deleted in response to requests from authors and publishers but a majority of them continue to be illegally distributed," the statement said.
The consortium includes the Japan Book Publishers Association, the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, the Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan, and the Digital Comic Association.
It called on Apple to set up a section to handle requests for deletion of pirated copies and to fight digital piracy.
"We would rather sit at the same table with Apple and work together to set new rules in the era of digital networks," the statement said. "We strongly request that Apple take responsible action."
Apple Japan said in a comment issued to Japanese media: "We fully understand the importance of intellectual property including copyright."
"We will promptly and appropriately respond to complaints about violation of copyright."
The App Store sells digital books that can be viewed on Apple's popular iPhone and iPad mobile devices, among other digital content.
Murakami, 61, has often been mentioned as a Nobel literature prize contender, and his novels have drawn international acclaim.
His works have been translated into almost 40 languages, include the titles "Norwegian Wood", "Kafka on the Shore" and "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle".
The first two volumes of his three-volume "1Q84" were released in Japan in May 2009 and became instant bestsellers there.