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ICT accessibility standardization in Japan

"Pre-historical movements" in ICT accessibility standardization in Japan

For information processing equipment,the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) was in the center of activities. As a result,"Accessibility Guideline for Use of Computers by People with Disabilities" was announced by MITI in 1995. In 2000 it was substituted by a revised MITI Announcement titled "Accessibility Guidelines for Use of Computers by People with Disabilities and Elderly."

For telecommunications facilities,an accessibility guideline for use of telecommunication facilities by people with disabilities was announced by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in 1998,and a guideline for creation of the Internet web contents accessible by people with disabilities was jointly announced by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 1999.


Kick-off of standardization in Japan for all people

Japan started standardization activities for elderly and people with disabilities early because the country has a rapidly aging society.

The Ad-hoc Committee on Standardization for the Elderly and People with Disabilities in Japan Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) published a report in 1998. The report emphasized the importance of standardization in this area which triggered various activities.


Common standard development

An inner organization of Japan Standards Association called Information Technology Research and Standardization Center (INSTAC) autonomously established the Standardization Investigation Committee for Realizing Barrier-Free Access to Information in September of 2000. Based on the Committee's conclusions, the Standardization Investigation Committee for Improvement of Accessibility Common to Areas of Information Technology and Software Products was organized in April of 2001 within INSTAC, and started its activities as a body to carry out investigations entrusted by the government. (The chair of this Committee is Prof. Yamada.)


Figure: Structure of the Investigation Committee

First,the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs,Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) both participate in supporting the Committee’s activities.

The two ministries formed a system together in cooperation with understanding of the importance of providing Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) for the elderly and people with disabilities. Second,many groups and organizations such as industrial associations that had been preparing guidelines and promoting relevant activities on accessibility as separate product groups participated in this Committee.


Accessibility Standards in Japan

The accessibility of IT devices and web sites cannot be controlled legally in Japan since Japan does not have regulations such as ADA in the U.S. or DDA in the UK. Therefore, the Japan Industrial Standard (JIS) is being prepared to be a design guideline.

The Standardization Investigation Committee for Improvement of Accessibility Common to Areas of Information Technology and Software Products was organized in April of 2001 within Information Technology Research and Standardization Center (INSTAC), and started its activities as a body to carry out investigations entrusted by the government. The Standardization Investigation Committee chaired by Hajime Yamada,is formulating Guidelines for the elderly and people with disabilities - Information communication equipment and service. It consists of working group1 focusing on IT devices and services and working group2 focusing on web accessibility to make a draft of JIS standards.


Start of ISO work

In 1998,in response to a proposal from Japan, he Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) at its general meeting adopted a resolution to set up a task force for the development of a policy statement on general principles and guidelines for the design of products and environments addressing the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities.

The working group,chaired by Japanese,actively carried out the task and finalized the general principles as the ISO/IEC Guide 71 (Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities) in 2001 .


Achievements of standardization activities in Japan

Table shows a list of Japan Industrial Standard (JIS) standards already authorized in this area. Out of 14 standards,the first eleven standards describe technical specifications directly relate to usability and/or accessibility. Among them,S0011,S0012,S0022, S0114,S0137 were authorized in the year 2000, two years after the Ad-hoc Committee's report .

While the S0021 standard determines general requirements for packaging and receptacles, the S0022 standard gives detail specifications for opening. We call this structure two-tier standardization scheme; upper-layer general requirements and lower-layer detail specifications.

Table: List of JIS Standards for Elderly and People with Disabilities

NumberTitle
G71 Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities
C9120 Guidelines for Usability - design of electric home appliances
S0011 Guidelines for all people including elderly and people with disabilities: marking tactile dots on consumer products
S0012 Guidelines for all people including elderly and people with disabilities: Usability of consumer product
S0013 Guidelines for all people including elderly and people with disabilities: Auditory signals on consumer products
S0021 Guidelines for all people including elderly and people with disabilities: Packaging and receptacles
S0022 Guidelines for all people including elderly and people with disabilities: Packaging and receptacles - Test methods for opening
S0023 Guidelines for designing of clothes in consideration of the elderly people
S0114 Guidelines for product information for consumers
S0137 Guidelines for instructions for use of products of consumer interest
Z8512 Ergonomics - Office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) - Guidance on task requirements
C0076 Fire hazard testing - Part 7 : Guidance on the minimization of toxic hazards due to fires involving electrotechnical products Section 1 : General
C0077 Fire hazard testing - Part 5 : Assessment of potential corrosion damage by fire effluent - Section 2 : Guidance on the selection and use of test methods
C0364-2-21 Electrical installations of buildings Part 2:Definitions Chapter 21:Guide to general terms
C0508-6 Functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety - related systems ? Part 6 : Guidelines on the application of parts 2 and 3

JIS standard on ICT accessibility



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