Kohei Ehara sits quietly in the far corner of the spacious conference room in the Prime Minister's Office, largely unnoticed by a group of reporters waiting for Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to start his daily briefing.

When he is told of Suga's imminent arrival, Ehara stands, stretches his arms momentarily and steps toward the stage as Suga walks in from the other end of the room. He then positions himself right next to Abe's taskmaster as he turns to face the press.

So starts one of the sign language interpreter's most challenging tasks: conveying the words of the government's top spokesman.