The Japanese government eyes allowing employers to conduct criminal background checks going back 20 years under a new system to block people with sex offense convictions from jobs involving children, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

Japanese criminal law states a sentence ceases to have effect 10 years after a person serves out a prison term to facilitate rehabilitation and ensure occupational freedom, but the government deemed a longer disclosure period is needed in light of the high rates of recidivism among sex offenders over 20-year periods.

The government plans to submit a bill during the current ordinary Diet session to create the system, dubbed the "Japanese DBS," similar to the British government's Disclosure and Barring Service certificate, the sources said.

Parents and child support groups had been lobbying for the introduction of the system to protect the safety of children after two men registered with a babysitter matching app were arrested in 2020 in separate cases for sexually assaulting children in their care.

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

The government is arranging for a 20-year disclosure period after a person finishes their term after being convicted of crimes such as nonconsensual sex. The disclosure period is expected to be 10 years or less for offenders given a lighter sentence, such as a fine, they said.

Under the envisioned system, it would be mandatory for schools, nurseries and kindergartens to check the criminal records of job-seekers.

Operators of cram schools, afterschool clubs, babysitter services and talent agencies would not be obliged to use the system as they are not under state supervision.

Sex crime records subject to disclosure would be limited to those finalized in courts, excluding cases where charges were dropped due to a settlement or other reasons.

In addition to criminal law offenses, violations of local ordinances, such as groping and voyeurism, are to be covered by the system.

According to an analysis conducted by the Children and Families Agency, over 90 percent of sex offenders recommitted a sex crime within 20 years.

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