ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2 N 3269
DATE: 1999-03-08
Coded Character Sets 
Secretariat: Japan (JISC)
DOC TYPE:   National Body Contribution
Finnish National Body Comments on ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2 N 3243, the Japanese National Body Recommendation to ISO/IEC JTC1 Concerning the Activities of JTC 1/SC 2 
Secretariat, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2
For information at the 9th plenary meeting, Fukuoka, Japan, 1999-03-16/17.
DISTRIBUTION:   P, O and L Members of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2 
WG Conveners, Secretariats 
ISO/IEC JTC 1 Secretariat 
WEB ISSUE #:   045
Secretariat ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2 - Toshiko KIMURA
IPSJ/ITSCJ (Information Processing Society of Japan/Information Technology Standards Commission of Japan)*
Room 308-3, Kikai-Shinko-Kaikan Bldg., 3-5-8, Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105 JAPAN
Tel: +81 3 3431 2808; Fax: +81 3 3431 6493; E-mail:;
*A Standard Organization accredited by JISC

TITLE:   Finnish National Body Comments on ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2 N 3243, the Japanese National Body Recommendation to ISO/IEC JTC1 Concerning the Activities of JTC 1/SC 2

Finland agrees with Japan on the importance of the standardization work of JTC 1/SC 2. Finland, however, cannot agree with all of the conclusions drawn by Japan.

As per SC 2 N 3177, Finland believes in that:

"ISO/IEC 10646 is called the "Universal Character Set" for a reason: it is intended to cover all the scripts of the world. This view is widely shared by the industry and the user communities, both of which participate both directly and indirectly in the work of WG 2.

"Thus, the stated wish to create rational limitations to additions of new characters or scripts must not lead to arbitrary barriers for entry. The market relevance for inclusion cannot be defined in the terms proposed [in the contribution by the Netherlands National Body], as long as the industry upholds the above stated stand on universality.

"Admittedly, as the result of the above, it is not uncommon that any given National Body may find itself in a situation, where it has no expertise on a particular script in the process of being encoded. The value of the participation of such a National Body then lies in their expertise in the standardization process and in the general aspects of encoding characters for use in IT applications."

Although SC 2 N 3177 continues as follows:

"The process in SC 2/WG 2 is a transparent one and extensive efforts continue to be made to implement advanced planning for it. This process is being continuously improved and we welcome [the Netherlands] to participate in this process in co-operation with the other National Bodies, liaison organizations, and experts. It is unavoidable that many issues will be discussed and prepared outside the formal WG operation. In particular, WG2 has made successful use of ad-hoc meetings to resolve complex technical issues requiring specialized expertise. This would appear to be in line with the stated wishes [of the Netherlands NB].

The suggestion [by the Netherlands NB] to turn over sections of the standard to relevant user communities is at best impractical for lack of mechanism and control and at its worst would result in a fractured standard, something that very much goes against the idea of a unified, universal character set which is the primary market requirement."

... Finland believes that certain changes are needed to the process. We believe that it would be prudent to require that any proposal be submitted by the local National Body or specifically sponsored by a representative authority on behalf of the user community or by a recognized scholarly group e.g. in the case of an ancient character set. This would help to virtually guarantee the integrity and applicability of the proposal and the membership of SC 2 could concentrate on those aspects of standardization and character encoding schemes that they are experts in.

Finland also agrees on the need to agree on the guiding principles for the future extension of IS 10646.