Japan court sentences 2 Filipinas via remote interpreting for the first time

YAMAGATA, Japan – A Japanese court handed down suspended sentences to two women from the Philippines on Monday, January 20, for violating Japan's immigration law, using a video link system to communicate with an interpreter from a different court for the first time.

A Tagalog-Japanese interpreter shown on a large monitor via video link told the two women the rulings when the Yamagata District Court imposed a prison term of 18 months, suspended for 3 years, on both Blessyl Avilanes Singson, 33, and Grace Ann Cabatit Ragadio, 34, in separate rulings.

Video links had been used to connect the courtroom and a separate room in the same court for witness interrogations. But the revised criminal procedure law took effect in 2018 to allow a witness living away from the court to participate in questions remotely without travelling there.

The same system was also applied to interpreters to address the falling number of such workers amid a rapid increase in demand for them.

The number of registered interpreters fell 4% to 3,788 in the 4 years through 2018, while the number of foreign defendants in need of translation increased nearly 60% to 3,757 during the same period, according to the Supreme Court.

According to the ruling, the two women entered Japan on a working visa as cooks but had worked as employees of a cosmetic manufacturing company between October 2017 and October 2019. They had their visas extended after falsely telling immigration authorities that they planned on continuing work as chefs. – Rappler.com