Kazuko Kitamura (right) helps the Deaf customer in sign language at the city office. (photo: http://www.tonichi.net/news.php?mode=view&id=32612&categoryid=1)
Toyokawa City in Aichi Prefecture has hired a part-time interpreter since July. It aims to enhance communications among the Deaf clients and the city office staff.
When Deaf person visited the city office for procedures or counseling, the city staff had used to sign at a basic level, or communicate in writing.
The assembly approved the budget for an interpreting service this March. The recruitment of a part-time interpreter started soon. In May there were four applicants, and one of them, Kazuko Kitamura (48), was chosen after the examination.
She has a born-Deaf second daughter (22), who motivated her to learn sign language for communication. She has been active as a registered interpreter at her hometown as well.
Kitamura works for the the social welfare section in the city office from Monday until Friday. Not only the section, she accompanies the Deaf client to any section necessary in the office. Moreover, she works as a coordinator for sending the registered interpreters upon the request in the city.
Kitamura said, "The place where the interpreter is available is still limited. I will do my best to help to make a more friendly society to the Deaf community".