ISO/IEC JTC 1                                                         
Information Technology                                                

ISO/IEC  JTC 1 N 5698                   

DATE:  1998-12-30     


National Body Contribution                                            

Japanese National Body Recommendation to ISO/IEC JTC 1 Concerning the 
Activities of JTC 1/SC 2                                              

Japanese National Body                                                


This document is circulated to JTC 1 National Bodies for information  
and review at the January 1999 JTC 1 Plenary meeting in Rio.          


DUE DATE:            

DISTRIBUTION:  P and L Members                                             


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NO. OF PAGES:  2         

Secretariat, ISO/IEC JTC 1, American National Standards Institute, 11 
West 42nd Street, New York, NY  10036; Telephone:  1 212 642 4932;    
Facsimile:  1 212 840 2298; Email:                 






TITLE:   Japanese National Body Recommendation to ISO/IEC JTC 1
              Concerning the Activities of JTC 1/SC 2

SOURCE:  Japan
DATE:       1998-12-25

It is Japan's understanding that the work of JTC 1/SC 2 on the standardization of coded character set is becoming more and more important as the information technology based globalization evolves all over the world. However, Japan has some concern on the activities of SC 2 especially from a point of view on the market relevance which was one of the main issues of the JTC 1 re-engineering and partly pointed out in the Netherlands contribution JTC 1 N 5449. Therefore, Japan recommends JTC 1 to ask JTC 1/SC 2 to carefully study the following items and report back to JTC 1 possibly by its next to the next plenary meeting.

1. It seems that some of the character sets within the work items of SC 2 have quite little market needs compared with other live scripts which are not scheduled for standardization yet. For example, SC 2 is working for several dead or almost dead ancient character sets. On the other hand, we know that there are a large number of live scripts or character sets waiting for standardization especially in the Southeast Asia. We also know that ancient scripts are virtually inexhaustible in terms of their repertoires and kinds of characters. Taking these circumstances into consideration, it is apparent that we should be provided with some measure on the market needs for prioritization of the work items for the standardization of character coding.

2. If it is true that the virtually inexhaustible sets of characters must be standardized, it will be quite difficult, in terms of expertise and resources, for JTC 1 to develop and maintain all these standards. In reality, JTC 1 will have to focus on the fundamental and kernel part of the standardization of character coding asking some reliable outside organizations with appropriate expertise to take care of the rest of the standardization work. To make these distributed development and maintenance possible, we must also be provided with a clear and detailed standardized framework for character coding with recognition and registration mechanisms to attain and maintain interoperability.

3. The current and future basis for the standardization that satisfies various needs including above requirements will be ISO/IEC 10646.
However, the basic concept of IS 10646 seems to be changing and ambiguous.
For example, introduction of control tag structure is being considered recently, and the plane assignment is given for limited number of planes in rather ad hoc manner. We must be provided with a clear guiding principles for the future extension of IS 10646.