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   20 May, 2002 | 1505 IST


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Hooligans could face the music

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Visiting football fans who get into trouble with Japanese police during the World Cup tournament could face a linguistic nightmare.

Several local lawyers' associations say they have been unable to find enough interpreters with 11 days to go before the tournament kicks off, a report in the daily Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said on Monday.

The World Cup, co-hosted with South Korea, runs from May 31 to June 30.

The shortage of interpreters is particularly acute for less common languages, the paper said.

"It doesn't look as though we will find a Swedish interpreter. To be honest, I don't know how we're going to deal with that," one local lawyer association said.

Another association said it had run into problems finding a Croatian interpreter.

In some areas, lawyers are competing against the police and courts for the same linguists. All are required to have their own interpreters.

The threat of hooliganism during the World Cup has unnerved tournament organisers across the country. Officials are preparing countermeasures such as tear gas and "net guns".

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