World Laws
Asia (Hong Kong and Japan)

Hong Kong: Early Awareness of Web Accessibility Issues

Hong Kong flagInterregional seminar and symposium on web accessibility in Hong Kong, Dec. 13-17, 1999. This article discusses web accessibility in general and then more specifically the situation in Hong Kong. Web Accessibility by CHONG Chan-yau

Web Access by People with disabilities — The Government's initiative to facilitate access to web sites by people with disabilities (March 12, 2001). Web Access by People with disabilities Report (PDF document) This report talks about:

  • The efforts to revamp government web sites
  • Hong Kong's present position
  • Issuing guidelines to public bodies and Government subvented organizations
  • Promotional and educational activities
  • International practices

Government concerns about enhancing web accessibility, is a press release from September 30, 2001. This press release outlines the steps the Hong Kong government has been taking to increase the web accessibility of its web sites and promoting the awareness of web accessibility to non-government organizations and the community. Government concerns about enhancing web accessibility press release

Digital 21 Strategy

The Digital 21 Strategy was originally written in 1998 with a focus on building Hong Kong's information infrastructure and "creating an enabling environment for e-business to prosper." This strategy was updated in 2001 with an emphasis on creating the right "environment, infrastructure, skills and culture to encourage the development and adoption of IT by the entire community." The latest Digital 21 Strategy was published in March of 2004 and discusses the need to sustain the momentum of the last five years and continue to harness the benefits of IT for the Hong Kong community.

Internet Professionals Association (iProA)

The Internet Professionals Association (iProA) was set up in 1999 as a non-profit organization committed to advance the art and science of Internet technology and its applications in Hong Kong. This association is made up of over 800 professionals from Internet related industries. These professionals "share the common goal of promoting the proper application of Internet technology and enhancing competitiveness of the IT industry."

Web Care Campaign

IProA launched the Web Care Campaign in 2001 with the aim of bridging the digital divide and encouraging organizations to enhance the accessibility of their web sites for different user groups. The Web Care site provides additional information about this campaign and its associated activities which include the Web Care Award.

Early Awareness of Web Accessibility Issues in Japan

Japanese flagMinistry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) announced in 1995 the Accessibility Guideline for Use of Computers by People with Disabilities. In 2000 it was substituted by a revised MITI Announcement titled Accessibility Guidelines for Use of Computers by People with Disabilities and Elderly.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)

Ministry of Postal and Telecommunication (MPT)

The Ministry of Postal and Telecommunication (MPT), like the FCC in the US, gave a declaration about web accessibility guidelines in May of 1999. It was the first formal guideline made by the Japanese government about web access and it is outlined in detail in the following press release from the MPT on May 23, 2000. The plan to assist the use of the information and communication technology, and secure the web accessibility for elderly and disabled individuals

Two missions were announced in this declaration:

  1. 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
  2. Spread the development of assistive technology

Other happenings

The following article, Standardization of Accessibility in the Area of Information Communications—Towards Barrier-Free Equipment and Services of Information Communications By Hajime Yamada (GLOCOM), provides an excellent overview of Japan's early activities with regards to developing standards and policy regulating information communications. A few sections of the article have been highlighted in the bulleted points that follow.

  • Two ministries, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), formed a system together in cooperation with understanding of the importance of providing Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) for the elderly and people with disabilities.
  • Concerning the accessibility of Web pages, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced a guideline for creation of Internet web contents accessible by people with disabilities in 1999.
    • A basic concept for providing administrative information through electronic means was decided through inter-ministerial meetings in 2001. From then on, web sites of administrative organizations were required to follow this guideline.
    • The JIS draft is being prepared to become consistent with the guideline, as well as the guideline of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). JIS standardization concerning web accessibility is expected to be completed in 2003.

Web Content Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS)

On June 21, 2004, the Japanese Industrial Standard for Web accessibility, commonly referred to as the Web Content JIS was released.

Although the Web Content JIS is not legally binding like the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act in the United States, it has attracted attention as Japan's first public web accessibility guidelines. This article discusses the Guidelines for older persons and persons with disabilities—Information and communications equipment, software and services—Part 3: Web content. Web Content JIS Compliance

The JSA Webstore sells English versions of this standard in booklet or PDF form (it is the last item in the list, #43).

Japan: Additional Resources

The first International Symposium on ICT (Info-Communication Technology) Accessibility in Asia-Pacific Region took place on January 22, 2004. The main theme was accessibility of info-communication services/software/equipment by all people including people with disabilities.

The following article in the 2003 Conference Proceedings for CSUN provides another good look at the standardization process of information technology and services in Japan. Standardization of IT Accessibility and International Perspective by NAKAMURA, Hiroyuki

This paper, written by Hajime Yamada, discusses the problem of how to disseminate accessibility standards for the elderly and people with disabilities to developing countries. It also makes some recommendations. Disseminating concepts of information and communications accessibility to the world

The Japanese law on information and telecommunications that came into force on January 6, 2001 is described in detail at the following site Basic Law on the Formation of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society

This report is an outline of the discussions and conclusions the Committee for the Study of Standardization for the Realization of Barrier-free Information Technology had during six months. "Anyone should be Accessible to the Information", was written by Hajime Yamada (Chairperson for the committee).

Asia: Other Commentary on Web Accessibility

The Interregional Seminar and Regional Demonstration Workshop on Accessible ICT and Persons with Disabilities, took place March 3-7 in Manila, Philippines.

ASEAN logoA Seminar, Internet Accessibility - ASEAN Perspective, held in Bangkok, Thailand July 12-16 1999, provided a forum for representatives of each ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member State (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) to review and discuss:

  1. Issues and trends in information policies, structures and technologies,
  2. Implications of trends in information and communication services for Internet accessibility and persons with disabilities from an ASEAN perspective, and
  3. Options for building national capacities and localizing skills and technologies for Internet accessibility among ASEAN member States. Internet Accessibility - an ASEAN Perspective