Hokkaido has started the broader-based dispatch program in the current fiscal year so that sign-language interpreting service could be available even if the Deaf person visits a city/town in the prefecture.
The Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act requires all the cities, towns and villages across Japan to dispatch sign-language interpreters. About 40 percent of the local governments in the prefecture were "blank areas." Issues such as shortage of sign-language interpreters also remain.
According to the Prefecture Division of Health and Welfare, out of 179 local governments 73 have not undertaken a sign language interpreter dispatch service in 2011, because they were unable to secure sign-language interpreters, etc.
The new program allows the Deaf person first to apply to the city where he/she lives. And then the city forwards the request to the other city which he/she is going to visit and the Hokkaido Federation of the Deaf, which dispatches an interpreter. Expense is 4500 yen per hour.
Japanese original article: