Bill to Allow Checks for Sexual Offense Records Drafted; Modeled After the U.K.’s DBS

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Masanobu Ogura, center, the state minister in charge of tackling the low birth rate, talks about the Japanese version of the disclosure and barring service at the Children and Families Agency in September

A draft outline of a bill to enable checking the sexual offense history of people who apply to be in a workplace where there are children was revealed on Tuesday.

Under the proposed Japanese version of the United Kingdom’s disclosure and barring service (DBS), the sexual offense history of those who received sentences of imprisonment without work or greater punishment will be available for 20 years after the completion of the sentence. The histories of those who were issued less severe penalties, such as fines, will be available for 10 years.

The Japanese version of the DBS will establish a database of sexual offense records. Employers will be able to confirm that those who wish to have a job involving children have no history of sexual offenses.

The Children and Families Agency, which compiled the bill, analyzes the length of time between the conviction of a sex offender and a subsequent conviction for a repeat offense. Among those who reoffend, more than 90% who were imprisoned do so within 20 years and more than 90% who were given fines or other less severe penalties do so within 10 years.

The Penal Code stipulates that a sentence of imprisonment without work or a greater punishment will cease to have effect 10 years after the completion of the punishment, and a sentence of a fine or a lesser punishment will cease to have effect after five years. This has been one of the focal points of the proposed legislation.

Under the draft outline, schools and day care centers will be required to vet job applicants by conducting DBS checks. The use of the service by businesses such as tutoring schools and sports clubs will be voluntary, and the government will issue approval for the use of Japanese DBS by them. Intermediaries for babysitters will also be subject to the government’s preapproval system.

The types of criminal sentences that can be inquired into include violations of municipal ordinances, such as molestation and camera voyeurism.

Meanwhile, for teachers and day care workers, a system is currently in place to check whether their teaching licenses or other qualifications have been revoked due to indecent behavior toward children. Some members of ruling parties are calling for the establishment of a new system that can be linked to this system.

The agency aims to submit the bill to the current Diet session after final coordination with the ruling parties.