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Jul. 09, 2012

Cooperating in the Promotion of Barrier-Free Environments at Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea (Japan Pavilion and Symposium)

Sumitomo Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation Korea Ltd. cooperated in an effort to create audio description for the Japan Pavilion at the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012 (May 12 - August 12, 2012), held in the southern South Korean city of Yeosu. In the spirit of hospitality for all, the entire Japan Pavilion is barrier-free. Although most of the exhibits consist of visual works, visitors with impaired vision can also enjoy them thanks to addition of audio description created with the cooperation of Sumitomo Corporation, which has been engaged in promoting barrier-free movies (*1) since 2004. 

On June 10, the Universal Design Symposium (sponsored by Saga Prefecture) was held as an official Expo event, attracting an audience of roughly 250 attendees, including 25 Yeosu locals with visual, hearing and physical disabilities. Using the popular Japanese cartoon "Doraemon" to illustrate, Mr. Park, executive director of Sumitomo Corporation Korea, explained the importance of making information available for people with visual and hearing disabilities (*2). Following this, a barrier-free version of "Doraemon" was screened. During the panel discussion held after the screening, Mr. Yasushi Furukawa, Governor of Saga Prefecture, emphasized the need to promote barrier-free films. "As we get more and more movies like this, life becomes easier," he noted. "We must therefore promote the expansion of the Sumitomo Corporation Group's efforts."

The symposium was held with the assistance of 18 Sumitomo Corporation Korea employees, who participated as volunteer staff, performing various tasks including guiding guests with visual, hearing and physical disabilities, welcoming attendees at the conference hall, and distributing flyers. Help was also provided by Ms. Lee Soome from Sumitomo Corporation Korea's Planning and Development Department, who participated in the production of the barrier-free version of "Doraemon" and handled the translation from Japanese into Korean. "I tried to make a translation that would be easy for visually impaired people to understand," she explained. "I hope that barrier-free movies will also become widespread in South Korea, making it possible for more people to enjoy them."

*1 Sumitomo Corporation's initiative to promote barrier-free movies is designed to enable people with visual and hearing disabilities to enjoy the latest films with their family and friends. To this end, in time for the release of new films, we create sound guides for visually impaired people and Japanese subtitles for hearing impaired people. With the cooperation of cinemas around the country, we then screen the films, thereby providing opportunities for filmgoers to enjoy barrier-free movies.
*2 Providing secure alternative means of accessing information for people who cannot collect information through regular channels due to physical disability. 

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