Barrier-free Transport Promotion Division

Guidelines for Public Information Symbols

1.Purpose of Determination

Graphical symbols, unlike text, have the advantage of being able to convey messages such that anyone can recognize them at a glance. With this advantage, graphical symbols used at high-traffic public facilities such as public transportation, tourist attractions, sports venues and commercial facilities can be an effective means of providing important information. However, the standardization of these symbols is inadequate. Domestically, these symbols are used inconsistently from facility to facility, without being standardized through the Japanese Industrial Standards. Internationally, the ISO specifies only 57 such symbols.

There has been increasing social demand for standardization and improvement of these public information symbols, with growing attention from the perspective of normalization, or establishing a barrier-free society.

These guidelines were determined to provide standard public information symbols to be used at facilities throughout Japan.

2.Process of Determination

Process of Determination

These guidelines were determined by "The Study Committee of Public Information Symbols"-hereinafter called "the Study Committee"-which was established in April 1999 by the Eco-Mo Foundation, a charitable corporation of the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport, and was co-sponsored by the Nippon Foundation. The Study Committee has spent two years studying the establishment of standardized public information symbols in Japan, with the support and cooperation of a wide range of fields, including government organizations (the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport; the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the National Police Agency; and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency); the traffic operators; travel and distribution associations; consumer groups; handicapped and welfare groups; academic experts and designers. The Study Committee spent the first one year collecting existing public information symbols internationally, classifying categories, selecting referents and variants, and studying descriptions. Then redesigned candidate symbols systematically and came up with 128 draft symbols in June 2000. The symbols were then evaluated for their appropriateness by the comprehension and visibility tests specified by ISO and JIS.

The Study Committee determined 125 Public Information Symbols on March 1, 2001. The Study Committee reported on the original 128 draft symbols at a meeting of ISO Technical Committee (for public information symbols) held in Tokyo on October 25, 2000, as its interim report on developments in Japan. Beginning in April 2001, these guidelines will be further discussed by the tentatively named "Study Committee for JIS Standardization of Public Information Symbols"under the Japanese Standards Association to finalize the standardization of these symbols.

3.Designers of the Symbols

The symbols specified in these guidelines were designed by "Japan Sign Design Association" and Kenzo Nakagawa of NDC Graphics, using the graphic elements selected by the Study Committee working group and under its editorship, except for the symbols with "※"which existed before this project began.

4.Use of the Symbols

The symbols presented in these guidelines can be freely used by anyone and can be accessed at the Web site (http// of the Eco-Mo Foundation. However, registering these symbols as your trademark or design can be a copyright infringement. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Name of organization Foundation for Promoting Promoting Personal Mobility and Ecological Transportation
Telephone +81-3-3221-6673 (Barrier-free Transport Promotion Division)
Fax +81-3-3221-6674