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March 28, 2009

Government to provide free interpreters for foreign nationals who need legal help

judge.jpegThere are about 50 legal support centers (called 'Houterasu' which means 'law terrace') around Japan that provide support for those who cannot easily afford to pay for legal help. It is possible to have free consultations with lawyers at these centers up to three times on one case.

From April interpreters will be provided at these centers for foreign nationals who do not speak enough Japanese. Each center will decide the exact date they will start this new service and which languages are available. The government will pay the cost of the interpreters.

Anyone who has legal problems can also telephone the Houterasu call center (0570-079714). The center can handle calls in English. There is also a Houterasu website that has full information in Japanese on the services provided at the centers and a question and answer section for many common legal problems.

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