Japan plans to require day nurseries, kindergartens and schools to use a government system to confirm that those applying to work there are not convicted sex offenders, sources close to the matter said Monday.
The system, similar to Britain's Disclosure and Barring Service certificate, is now being discussed by a panel of experts at the Children and Families Agency in response to a series of sexual abuse cases by teachers and babysitters in Japan.
The agency plans to submit a relevant bill to a parliamentary session this fall, the sources said.
In Japan, the licensing for teachers and childcare workers is overseen by different government offices, making it difficult for authorities to prevent a person with a history of sex crimes from switching between professions involving children.
Under the envisioned system, a public entity would issue a certificate proving that the applicant is not a convicted sex offender, the sources said.
Cram schools, sports clubs and other private operators would not be required to use the system, they said.
Parents and child support groups have been calling for the establishment of such a system. But some experts have been critical, arguing that it infringes privacy rights and freedom to choose one's occupation, both of which are protected under the Constitution.
The government has been discussing its response to the issue since two men who were registered with a babysitter matching app were separately arrested in 2020 for sexually assaulting children in their care.
Earlier this month, a former teacher at a major cram school operated by Yotsuya Otsuka Inc. was arrested for allegedly taking pictures of an elementary school girl in her underwear at a Tokyo classroom.