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Belonging in TranslationSolidarity and Migrant Activism in Japan$
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Reiko Shindo

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781529201871

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529201871.001.0001

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The Hidden Space of Mediation: Migrant Volunteers, Immigration Lawyers, and Interpreters

The Hidden Space of Mediation: Migrant Volunteers, Immigration Lawyers, and Interpreters

(p.105) 5 The Hidden Space of Mediation: Migrant Volunteers, Immigration Lawyers, and Interpreters
Belonging in Translation

Reiko Shindo

Policy Press

This chapter describes instances where the voice of migrant protesters is made simultaneously both audible and inaudible through people who act as their agents. In particular, it looks at three different groups who assume such roles: migrant volunteers at the China Japan Volunteer Organization (CJVO), immigration lawyers, and interpreters. With their professional expertise on legal matters, familiarity with Japanese culture and language as well as those of migrant workers, these agents play an important role in migrant activism. They facilitate negotiations between migrant workers and their employers, represent them at court, and help migrant workers to communicate with their Japanese counterparts. Crucially, they act not only as the spokespersons of migrant protesters, but also as mediators. They interfere with the interaction between migrants and their employers, quietly and sometimes without the knowledge of migrants, to achieve what they see as the best course of action for the migrant protesters. In this way, they play an indispensable role in creating the ‘voice’ of migrants. While migrant protesters become visible and audible thanks to those who assume the role of their spokespersons, they do so, however, at the cost of losing control of their own voices.

Keywords:   migrant protesters, migrant volunteers, immigration lawyers, interpreters, migrant workers, migrant activism, negotiations, mediators, China Japan Volunteer Organization

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