[Global Interview 2016] It would be very appreciated if Japan or IAUD could provide and share information and strategies to Europe.

2017.07.12 Updated


Thomas Bade

Thomas Bade

CEO, Institute for Universal Design, Germany

Interviewer: Kazuaki Kitamura (Information Exchange Center / Okamura Corporation)

Interview date: Dec. 10, 2016 PM 12:30-


—Mr. Bade, you have visited Japan many times, haven’t you?

Thomas Bade: I have come to Japan four times.

—What is your impression about Japan?

Thomas Bade: I think Japan is taking the leadership in universal design (UD).
Specifically, I felt in this conference that UD is discussed not from a product design perspective but from a perspective ahead of other countries. UD is advanced to a more holistic process.

—You have been engaged in IAUD Award, not just as a selection committee member, but for the Universal Design Award in Germany for a long time. How do you like the Japanese IAUD Award, compared to the German Award?

Thomas Bade: The same holds true for both awards, but many winners and participants tend to be companies in their own countries (although some companies are not from Japan or Germany). We want to learn best practices from various perspectives. In this regard, it is necessary for both Japan and Germany to increase participants from different countries rather than host countries. We want to increase the number of applicants to IAUD Award, but it is slow to progress.

—Are you taking any measures to increase the number of applicants in Germany?

Thomas Bade: Of course, we are working on it. In fact, collecting people, having them offer various products, and inviting judges require time and money, so it is not easy. We need funds (money) to do something. Therefore, we need to increase promotional activities to explain to companies the benefits to their business performance if they participate.

Thomas Bade

—Do you have any expectations for universal design activates in Japan and the IAUD organization?

Thomas Bade: It would be very appreciated if Japan or IAUD could provide and share information to Europe. You have strong cohesion to have invited so many companies to this conference for universal design. So I would like you to present your concepts and strategies to Europe. If possible, you will come to Europe to have an open session like this with European partners.

—We will work on disseminating information to overseas.
And the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will take place. Toward the year 2020, do you have any advice to improve activities and the current situation regarding universal design in Japan?

Thomas Bade: I think it is important to invite people and handicapped people from participating countries before the Games, show them universal design in Japan, and hear their opinions in order for Tokyo and Japan to provide an environment open to visitors in 2020.

—You mean that it is important that related persons come, see, and feel at first hand to offer suggestions.

Thomas Bade: That’s right. Those who visit will report their experiences and findings, including good points about Japan, in their countries. I think that using their feedback will also help make further improvements.

—Thank you very much.


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