Outline of Bill to Prevent Sexual Abuse Requires Staff Training, Interviews with Children at Schools, Daycare Facilities

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Children and Families Agency

Schools and childcare facilities that check whether potential employees committed sexual offenses in the past will be required to provide their staff with training regarding sexual crimes, and to interview children to swiftly ascertain when they are at risk of being victimized, according to the outline of a bill to establish the Japanese version of Britain’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The outline was presented by the Children and Families Agency on Wednesday at the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Headquarters for Creating Bright Future Society for Children and Young People. The agency intends to fine-tune the draft in cooperation with ruling parties and submit the bill to the current Diet session.

Japan’s version of the DBS is a database system that will allow child-focused facilities to check if potential employees have sex crime records.

Under the bill, only facilities like schools and daycare centers will be obligated to check whether potential employees have sexual offense records.

Private businesses such as tutoring schools and sports clubs can be certified to use system on a voluntary basis. Once certified, they will be required to use the system when hiring new employees, which will allow them to advertise the safe environment they provide for children.

Under the Japanese version of the DBS, if a potential employee inquired has any record of a sexual offense, the job applicant will be notified of the search results. If the applicant gives up seeking the employment at that point, information about their sexual offenses will not be provided to the facilities.

The facilities are required to thoroughly manage relevant information, and penalties will be enforced if such information leaks to third parties.

The sexual offense histories of people who received sentences of imprisonment will be available through the database for 20 years after the completion of the sentence. In 2025, two types of sentences — “imprisonment with labor” and “imprisonment without labor” — will be unified into the newly created “confinement.”

The histories of people who were given less severe penalties, such as fines, will be available for 10 years. Schools and other child-focused facilities will also be required to train teachers and others regarding sexual offenses to protect the safety of children.

They will further be obligated to interview children and others to determine early on when they are at risk of being victimized.

The facilities will also be required to create an environment in which children can easily seek advice.

Some LDP members called at the Wednesday meeting for offenders’ sexual offense histories to be searchable for a longer period of time.