The number of foreign residents in Japan has been increasing, exceeding 2 million as of today. It was found that many of them don't understand Japanese well and find difficulties in their lives, especially at the time of earthquake or other disasters, because they cannot understand the information from TV or radio. We are conducting research on presenting news in a more understandable way for non-native Japanese speakers.
 We found that converting news scripts into simple expressions is an effective way, as many non-Japanese residents in Japan understand some simple Japanese. This is what we call “easy Japanese”.
 Through reviews of Japanese training materials and evaluation experiments on Japanese learners’ understanding, we put together a guideline for easy Japanese as follows:
・Use natural Japanese
・Write a sentence with 50 characters or less
・Use elementary vocabularies and grammar items covered by level three and four of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
・Leave only the core information.
 For example, a news script "The lead vehicle is a glass-walled observation car and provides the opportunity to enjoy a spacious view, as it has secured more space by setting the cab low" is re-written to "The first car of the train has glass walls and ceiling and provides a wide view". Instead of merely changing the words, an expression "glass-walled" is replaced by "has glass walls and ceiling" and the underlined part is omitted.
 The guideline of easy Japanese is not very specific. So, we are researching a system to assist in the task of rewriting news scripts into easy Japanese. Its features are: the difficulty indicator of words, example search and auto learning function.
 Highlighting words in different colors according to the grade of Japanese Proficiency Test can prevent any re-writer from overlooking difficult words. Searching from the rewriting samples accumulated daily can help finding suitable expressions. The auto-learning function learns errors made in adding furigana, dictionary data and proper names, and produces the correct ones from next time.

 We launched the NEWSWEB EASY site ( in April 2012, which provides news text re-written into easy Japanese (five articles a day). It also shows readings in furigana on top of kanji, displays dictionary data, highlights proper names and provides voice reading in addition to the simplified scripts. The original news scripts are also available. 
 The site has been well received not only by foreign residents in Japan but by disabled people and those studying Japanese abroad. We will continue our study on automating rewriting process so that more news articles can be re-written into easy Japanese.

【 Screen of easy Japanese news 】

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