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1. Introduction

1.1 Forwards

The Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) has undertook projects to promote information exchange through the Internet among member country's legislatures. The APPF General Assembly, held in Korea, in January 1998, adopted a resolution concerning this plan, which was named the "Asia-Pacific Open Information Network (APOINT 2001)". During the Executive Committee Meeting in Peru, September 1998, the APPF Technical Working Group met and discussed the issue. Accordingly, Japan, as part of the APOINT 2001 project, started the development of applications for multilingual network environment. Japanese delegation successfully demonstrated this at the General Assembly in Peru, January 1999, using a beta version of multilingual kit, which enabled users to read the Japanese, Korean, Thai, Russian and Chinese languages by Netscape (ver.3) localized to the Spanish Windows Operation System. Specification on this multilingual kit is available at the APPF Japanese Secretariat web page. (<http://www.glocomnet.or.jp/appf/>)

1.2 Development in 1999

The Asia-Pacific Free Font Study Group (AP Font SG) under the contract of the Japanese secretariat of the APPF developed a Font Archival System and a multilingual web browser to use it which runs on Linux in 1999. This development will promotes two objectives: first, the expansion of multilingual environment of the Linux and secondly establishment of the international glyph registration system.

1.3 Directions in 1999

AP Font SG made a technological review in mid 1999 before progressing beyond the beta version. This technical review was to evaluate the similar software available by commercial base. The original premises of our plan was as follows: AP Font SG found that Microsoft Internet Explorer ver.5 acquired this capacity and asked a APPF Technical Working Group member country (Peru) to testify this result and received an affirmative answer.

1.4 Background and Objectives

The AP Font SG is hosted by the Center for Global Communications (GLOCOM) of the International University of Japan. As a research institution of the social sciences, GLOCOM has, since its foundation in 1991, regarded it as part of its duty to internationally provide information on Japanese society, a task which eventually took advantage of the Internet. As we continued our activities, we came to face a number of requests concerning multilingual processing of electronic document on the network from domestic and international users. In particular, international users are in need of the fonts and tools necessary to read information in Japanese. In order to address this problem, GLOCOM organized a joint-research collaboration project, called the 'Open Electronic Document Committee', in which linguists, network engineers, experts in standardization, and editors are involved.

1.5 Members of the Asia-Pacific Free Font Study Group

Yushi Komachi, Ph.D (Matsushita Graphic Communication Systems, Inc.)
Shuji Matsushita (Professor, Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
Junichi Hamada (Directer, Institute of Socio-Information and Communication Studies, University of Tokyo)
Gen Nagamura (Operating Officer, Seoul Systems Co., Ltd.)
Akinori Okubo (Manager, Research and Development Center, Ricoh Co., Ltd.)
Masayuki Hiyama (Technical writer/document designer)
Hiroshi Koyama (Senior Researcher, GLOCOM, International University of Japan))
Koichiro Hayashi (Professor, Keio Gijyuku University)
Yasuhide Yamanouchi, Ph.D (Research and Education Group Director, GLOCOM, International University of Japan)
Keisuke Kamimura (Research Fellow, GLOCOM, International University of Japan)

1.6 User support

AP Font SG will be responsible for user support and will also continue to upgrade the software. As part of the further development programs, we plan to prepare the following items:
  1. Bug fixes and bug reports
  2. Documentation and manuals
  3. Support for languages other than Japanese

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