U-Qui-Ch-kun (Universal Quick Checker for Bank of Japan notes) wins IAUD silver award

The 5th International Conference for Universal Design in Fukushima & Tokyo 2014 was held at Tokyo International Exchange Center from November 11th to 13th, 2014. At an award ceremony on November 11th, the IAUD silver award was presented to the National Printing Bureau (NPB) in recognition of its development of U-Qui-Ch-kun, an app for identifying Banknotes for visually impaired people (Japanese only).PDF


IAUDaward2014 Universal design (UD) involves making products, buildings and surrounding environments accessible to as many people as possible, including the elderly and people with disabilities. It plays an important role in the manufacture of banknotes, which are used by everyone.

The International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) seeks to support healthy societal development and the enhancement of human welfare by further popularizing and promoting the adoption of universal design. As part of its operations, the association awards prizes to corporate entities and individuals in recognition of remarkable performance and ideas toward the realization of a UD-friendly society for everybody regardless of ethnicity, culture, custom, nationality, gender, age and ability. (For more details, see the 5th International Conference for Universal Design in Fukushima & Tokyo 2014 official website.外部リンク)

NPB strives to facilitate the Bank of Japan notes recognition for visually impaired people.

Efforts to Enhance Identifiability

An example of its work in this regard is seen in the development of a free iPhone app called the Universal Quick Checker for Bank of Japan Notes (U-Qui-Ch-kun in Japanese). When the smartphone’s camera is pointed at a Bank of Japan note, the app speaks and displays the denomination. (It does not have a counterfeit detection function.)

U-Qui-Ch-kun - Universal Quick Checker for Bank of Japan notes (Japanese only)


As part of efforts to introduce various improvements relating to banknotes (including the development of the app), NPB seeks to promptly and faithfully reflect various requests from visually impaired people based on the results of monitoring and surveys involving members of nationwide visually impaired organizations.

Roger Coleman, the Chair of the Award Review Committee, commented, “A variety of problems still need to be resolved in relation to the social involvement of visually impaired people. Against such a background, it is wonderful that this app has been developed to provide a long-term and complete solution to one of the issues.” IAUD President Kazuo Okamoto also presented a certificate of merit to an NPB representative.

National Printing Bureau Japan
Public Relations Office

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