Japan is considering requiring those who want a job in child care or education to submit proof that they are not convicted sex offenders, government officials said Monday, as parents have been calling for such a system amid growing cases of children being sexually abused by teachers and babysitters.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is planning to make the envisioned system, similar to the Disclosure and Barring Service certificates in Britain, the main pillar of a new government agency that will control child-related policies, the officials said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (L) and Seiko Noda (R), minister in charge of children's policies. (Kyodo)

Earlier this month, Kishida instructed Seiko Noda, the minister in charge of child-related policies, to accelerate studying the certificate system even before the new agency is launched.

In fiscal 2020 ended last March, 200 teachers at Japanese public schools were subject to disciplinary action or reprimanded for obscene acts or sexual harassment. Cases among babysitters and child care workers were also emerging.

Parents of child sex crime victims hold a press conference behind partitions in Tokyo in July 2020. (Kyodo)

In Japan, licensing for teachers and babysitters is overseen by different ministries, making it difficult for authorities to prevent a person with a sex crimes history from switching between professions involving children.

While many parents have welcomed the initiative, some experts are concerned that such a system may hinder the rehabilitation of those who have served their sentences.

Hisashi Sonoda, a professor emeritus of criminal law at Konan University, raised issues such as the risk of information leak on someone's sex crime history and the ambiguity of the definition of sex crimes to be covered under the system.

The system "could lead to the offender becoming a social outcast," he said.

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