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Japan lower house passes bill for criminal checks for jobs with kids



Japan’s lower house passed a bill on Thursday that requires employers to conduct criminal background checks dating back 20 years to block people with sex offense convictions from jobs involving children.

The bill that cleared the House of Representatives, if made into law, will introduce the system dubbed the “Japanese DBS,” similar to the British government’s Disclosure and Barring Service. The move comes following a series of cases in which children have been sexually abused by figures of authority.

The bill will now be deliberated by the upper house.

Ayuko Kato, minister responsible for the Children and Families Agency, bows at the House of Representatives in Tokyo on May 23, 2024, after the lower house passed a bill that will require criminal background checks for jobs involving children. (Kyodo)

The background checks will cover those convicted of crimes such as nonconsensual sex. In addition to criminal offenses, violations of local ordinances such as groping or nonconsensual photography will be covered by the system.

Under the envisioned system, schools, day care centers and kindergartens will be required to refer job candidates for criminal background checks conducted by the Children and Families Agency.

Cram schools and afterschool clubs can voluntarily sign up to the program. By participating, they will receive official certification that can be used in marketing materials.

If the agency confirms the jobseeker was handed a prison sentence for a sexual offense in the last 20 years, or a fine in the past 10 years, it will notify the individual and give them the option of declining the job offer.

If the individual chooses not to decline the offer, the agency will inform the prospective employer of the outcome of the background check.

The government plans to compile guidelines laying out criteria for employers to use when implementing precautionary measures or dealing with an allegation against a worker.

Related coverage:

Japan’s Diet enacts law to create economic security clearance system

Lower house OKs bill to create economic security clearance system

Gov’t to require sex offense checks when applying to work with kids

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