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Internationalization of domain names?


   Forgive me if this is the incorrect place to ask this question. Please
send me a clue personally rather than flaming me on the list. I've read
many documents and am now totally overwhelmed.

   What if any are the plans for ICANN (and the internet in general) to be
able to use "internationalized" domain names? What i mean is when will
domain names allow "unicode' characters in them instead of only the ASCII
character set? Are there any plans for this possibility? 

   I am asking because EVERY language on this planet except English has a
totally different alphabet or at least some accents that are not to be
found in plain ASCII encoding. So i'm wondering how Russians will be able
to get domain names in Cyrillic or Japanese (or for that matter French or
Esperanto) in their own character sets instead of trying to spell them out

   If you have any clues for me please respond personally because i'm
spending my time wandering around the whole internet trying to find any
information on this and may not be able to return to this forum for an
answer any time soon. 

   Thank you for your consideration and any help.