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History of UD for Information : Japan

In Japan, the movement for the accessibility of IT began in the latter part of the 1980s. Influenced by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1986, in 1988 the Humanity Electronics Research Committee Research Committee" was established by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in Japan. The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) was offered the position of executive office.

Although this research committee has changed its name several times since, it has continued to participate in deciding guidelines for more accessible machines for the elderly and persons with disabilities. And in 1990 April 20th, it announced the 'Accessibility Guideline of Information Processing Technology for Persons with Disabilities' (Japanese title: Shyougaishyanado Jyouhoushyorikiki Accessibility Shishin'(Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry , Notification No. 231)

At this stage, the term Universal Design was not used, but since June of 2000, when a revision considering the current development of IT, the decreased price of technology and progress of technology, it was restated that the consideration of universal design is its new policy. Currently there are increased demands for PCs, hardware, software, and contents that can be used with assistive technology as well as the Universal Design of the products themselves. Since 2000, the Jimukikougyou Committee has also heavily debated the UD of office machinery and tools. Many industries have also begun to consider Universal Design standards not only for IT products but for every day products such as ATMs, vending machines and home electronics.

In 1990, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications also began its efforts towards creating more barrier free information. As long as Universal Access is their mission, they will continue to create fair services for a wide range of users. Regarding the design of machines, the 'Accessibility Guideline for Electronic Telecommunication Facilities for Persons with Disabilities' (Japanese Title: Shyougaishyanado Denkitsushinsetsubi Accessibility Shishin) was published in October of 1998. They are also beginning to consider barrier free forms of broadcasting such as captioned broadcasting.

Recently, a heavily debated topic has been the accessibility of Internet content. We must innovate methods to universally design web sites that offer information that can be read with ease by the persons with a variety of human-machine interface needs. In May of 1999, two missions were announced: Plan to ensure human assistance and web accessibility for the elderly and persons with disabilities using information technology' and To achieve accessibility of the Internet, and spread the development of assistive technology. The homepage of new ministry offices have incorporated UD, yet the government has yet to exercise more power over the activities of self-governing bodies and industries regarding these missions. Consequently, there are few accessible homepages in existence.