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Under the new lay judge system, ordinary people are being introduced to the experience of serving as judges. They cannot assume that all defendants will speak Japanese. Some lay judges will handle criminal trials involving foreign defendants.

To ensure fair trials for nonspeakers of Japanese, interpreters will have an important role to play. Accurate interpreting is indispensable for establishing clear communication free of misunderstanding between defendants, on one hand, and lawyers, public prosecutors and judges, on the other.

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