Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
No, actually. They're perfectly lovely characters, essential to many languages, but ASCII is a very restricted set of 127 specific characters that do not include umlauts, accents, etc -- only those characters used in the English language are included, along with control characters and punctuation (see here).
I'm not arguing that applications that only accept ASCII are appropriate in Java -- they're certainly not. I'm just being pedantic about our terms.