September 28 Meeting

Interpreting for the Accused:

When English-speakers Get Arrested In Japan


Brenda Kaneta

Date:              Thursday, September 28, 2023

Time:              6:00–6:45 pm: Arrive and mingle

                        7:00 pm: Dinner

                        8:00–9:00 pm: Presentation

Place:             Hilton Osaka (Umeda), 4th floor

Cost:              FEW members: ¥6,000

                       Nonmembers (women only): ¥8,000 

Register:        By Wednesday, September 20, midnight

                          (FEW Kansai members may participate in monthly meetings via Zoom if unable to join in person at the        

                          Hilton. Register from the event page.)

One might say that a worst nightmare while living or traveling overseas would be getting arrested by local police. Including both those innocent and guilty, last year approximately 9.55 thousand non-Japanese were arrested in Japan.* By law, anyone arrested here has a right to counsel, but being held in an unfamiliar system without local language capability adds an extra layer of complexity to the situation. This is where Brenda Kaneta, our September speaker comes in.

Brenda is registered with the Nagano Prefectural Bar Association to be an English interpreter for lawyers representing foreigners who have been arrested in Japan. Over the past 10 years, she has been called in as the need arises to interpret for a variety of cases, ranging from very short and simple to quite long and involved. As interpreters taking on this role have the opportunity to receive training to help them understand the system, Brenda has become familiar with prosecution procedures and the rights of the accused in Japan.

This work has proven to have a steep learning curve, but Brenda has worked hard to overcome the challenges as part of her drive to bridge the gaps between Western and Japanese culture. Join us in September as we learn about the role an English interpreter plays in criminal prosecution cases and gain insight into one aspect of the Japanese justice system.


Our Speaker: Brenda Kaneta

Brenda Kaneta developed a love for Japan on her first visit at the age of 16. She returned in 1997 to teach in the JET program and has been here ever since. She has worked in various capacities over the years, driven by a calling to bridge the cultural and language gaps between Japanese and Western cultures. To this end, she founded her own interpretation business, Wordbridge, in 2008.

Founding her own business was also inspired by a life transition when marriage and children moved Brenda to Nagano. As she continues to build bridges, she took on a new role in February 2022 as the Operations Manager of a live stunt show in Osaka. Life is full as she balances living in Osaka during the week and returning to Nagano on weekends to spend time with her family.

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