Background Check System May Include Cram Schools, Sports Clubs

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the inauguration ceremony for the Children and Families Agency in Tokyo, April 2023

The Children and Families Agency is considering allowing child-focused private businesses such as tutoring schools and sports clubs the use of its database system to check on a voluntary basis if potential employees have sex crime records, it has been learned.

The mandatory application of the system — known as the Japanese version of Britain’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) — is already planned for background checks on staff employed by schools, daycare centers, kindergartens and children’s institutions, among other facilities. But it had been considered difficult to mandate the use for private businesses because there is no law that defines the duties of such businesses.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Marks of compliance will be given by the government to businesses that use the DBS. The government is expected to submit a related bill at an extraordinary Diet session in autumn at the earliest.

The agency’s expert committee has been discussing the establishment of the DBS since June, and will finalize a draft in September.

Under the Japanese version of the DBS, the Children and Families Agency manages a system that records sex crime cases, and if anyone inquired about has any record of a sexual offense, they will be barred from working with children. The types of sex offenses are expected to be mainly Penal Code offenders.

It is envisioned that the use of the DBS by private schools and other businesses will be on a voluntary basis because there is no law that defines their duties. The government will examine and allow businesses that meet certain requirements to use it.

By giving a stamp of approval with compliance marks, the government hopes to push the use of the DBS by promoting its reliability.

In response to a string of sex crime cases reported against children outside schools at private facilities, a Tokyo-based certified nonprofit organization called Florence that provides childcare support began an online petition on Aug. 10 to make all jobs that involve children subject to a DBS check. It had collected about 70,000 signatures as of Sunday.