With the aim of promoting rehabilitation medicine in Asian countries, where the number of persons with disability occupies a significant proportion in the world, New Millennium Asian Symposium on Rehabilitation Medicine was held in February 2001 in Tokyo, under the sponsorship of the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine. Twenty-three guest speakers from 14 Asian countries and regions participated in the 2-day meeting. With a structured questionnaire that was sent to the participants beforehand, demographic data related to rehabilitation practice and information on training and certification in rehabilitation medicine in the participating countries were collected, and presented at the meeting. Based on these data, the current status of rehabilitation medicine in Asia was summarized. The symposium marked an important step forward for the promotion of rehabilitation medicine in Asia.