On the Braille Authority of Japan
The Braille Authority of Japan (BAJ) started in 1966 as the only decision-making body for standardization of braille notation in Japan.
Japanese Braille System was adopted in 1890, and since then standardized letter code has been used in this country. But before the foundation of BAJ, some differences of braille notation in books and school textbooks could be found among the publishers of braille books/braille libraries, because institutions concerned had introduced their own ways, which caused the indication of problems and increased the demand of standardization.
Momenta toward standardization were begun by staff concerned with schools for the visually impaired, but gradually need of a constitution covering all publishers and libraries which published braille textbooks was increased.
Therefore BAJ was organized. In addition to the members chosen from the All Japan Society of Educational Research for the Visually Impaired and Japan Council of Social Welfare Institutions for the Visually Impaired, BAJ consists of members of learning and experience recommended by the delegates from both sides. One is a nationwide organization of schools for the visually impaired and the other is a national organization covering publishers of braille books and braille libraries.
Main programs of BAJ are as follows:
- Standardization and modification of braille notation
- Diffusion and information of braille notation
- Training and leading of local braille research groups concerned
- Communication and relation with bodies concerned both domestic and international
- Editing and publication of bulletins of the authority
BAJ edited and published such instruction books as “Japanese Braille Notation”which is fundamental to the field, “Braille Science Notation,”“Braille Mathematics Notation,” and“Companion to Translation of Exam Questions into Braille.” The authority also issues “Newsletter of BAJ ”and a public relations magazine “Japanese Braille,”both annual.
In addition BAJ makes a modest contribution to dissemination and information of braille by bringing out“History of Japanese Braille Notation Based on Written Materials” and by distributing of “educational brochures”of braille.
Regional meetings around the committee members of BAJ are opened on a regular basis in the nation, where efforts into dissemination and education of braille notation are made. Annual meetings are held to study and confer about braille, where we bring along the results achieved in the local study sessions. The yearly assemblies are given such considerations as not only the regular committee members, secretariats, and associate members, but also all people interested in braille are invited, so that all participants can express their opinions freely on Japanese braille notation, and they offer platforms to exchange information to people concerned. So the authority is called“Open BAJ.”
Besides, BAJ sends members to World Blind Union (WBU) to promote the cooperation with bodies concerned in the world for diffusion of braille.