Japan Diet enacts sex offender screening bill to protect children

Japan's Diet has enacted a bill for a system to check whether workers seeking jobs involving children have sex crime records.

The Upper House passed the bill in a unanimous vote on Wednesday. The legislation is known as the Japanese version of Britain's Disclosure and Barring Service, or DBS. The Lower House approved the bill last month.

The law allows operators of child-related businesses to seek information on whether job applicants have committed sex crimes. They will be able to access such information from the Justice Ministry through the Children and Families Agency.

The law stipulates offenses subject to the checks, such as sex without consent and violations of the law relating to child pornography. The new law also covers violations of ordinances, including groping and sneak photography.

The law says those records are accessible for 20 years after people serve a prison sentence, and 10 years on those punished with a fine.

It notes that people who have already been employed are also subject to the background check.

Committees in both houses have asked in their additional resolutions that the government consider including underwear theft and stalking in the checks. They have also called for a possible expansion of the law's scope to freelance workers, including babysitters and home tutors.

The government aims to start the system within around two years after the law's promulgation. The government plans to devise guidelines for operators. They will include ways to deal with workers who have been found to have sex crime records, such as moving them to different positions or dismissing them.