In the quiet courtroom, the Somali defendant sat unhandcuffed and with an earphone in place, flanked by guards.

“The court is now in session,” the presiding judge said in Japanese. His words were immediately translated into English by one interpreter, and then into Somali by another. This “relay” style is how the trial sessions have been carried out for all four Somali defendants who were brought to Japan to be tried for allegedly attempting to hijack an oil tanker operated by a Japanese company.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.