Employment background checks have gained popularity in Japan, but tend to more limited in terms of scope. In particular, employers commonly check an individual's academic and employment history (and to some extent references), but typically do not verify other details such as financial information unless directly related to the position.
Japan's Act on the Protection of Personal Information, "APPI" - (Act No. 57 of 30 May 2003), Act on the Protection of Personal Information Held by Administrative Organs (Act No. 95 of 1988 of 30 May 2003 as amended) and the Act on the Protection of Personal Information Held by Independent Administrative Agencies all address personal data collection, use and processing.
The APPI was amended in 2015 by the Amended Act on the Protection of Personal Information. The amendments go into effect May 30, 2017, and the law's requirements will now also apply to small business operators handling 5,000 or less items of personal information (who were previously exempt from compliance).
Under the Amendments, the definition of personal information has been expanded to include information recorded, expressed orally or via an electronic record. The definition also covers "individual identification code" which includes information such as driver's license numbers, passport numbers, individual identification numbers, facial recognition data and fingerprint information. Sensitive personal information is now defined under the Amendments as well and includes race, religion, medical history and other personal information which has potential to result in unjustifiable discrimination or prejudice.
Both the original APPI text and the Amendments require business operators to clearly identify and communicate the purpose behind personal information collection and obtain consent from the individual. Prior consent is also required if collecting sensitive personal information. Before transferring personal data to a third party (especially if the third party is in another country that is not considered adequate from a data protection perspective), prior consent should also be obtained.
The Amendments also established the Personal Information Protection Commission which is an independent authority that will monitor and supervise compliance with the law.
Japan Criminal/Illicit Activity Database Records Search
Requirements: Name in Japanese, date of birth, address, release form
This search is a proprietary database composed of numerous publicly available sources including media and court records. While not a true criminal search, this database can provide a window into an individual’s past behavior.
The Certificate of Criminal Record in Japan is not available to third parties, but can be obtained by the data subject via an in-person application.
Japan Civil Records Search - Local Level
Requirements: Name in Japanese, date of birth, address
The search is performed via a proprietary database that contains civil litigation records from the Tokyo District Court. Report may include case type, file date, case number, name of court where case was filed, plaintiff, defendant and disposition if a case can be located.
Japan Bankruptcy Records Search
Requirements: Name in Japanese, date of birth, address
This search is conducted through the Legal Affairs Bureau. Report may include file date, case number, name of court where case was filed and case status if a bankruptcy case can be located.
Education Degree Verification in Japan
Requirements: Name in Japanese, date of birth, school name, degree, major, dates attendance, city of school, copy of degree, release form
It is common to verify only the highest degree obtained by a candidate. Educational institutions will be contacted to verify dates of attendance, graduation date and degree information.
Employment Verification in Japan
Requirements: Name in Japanese, date of birth, employer name, contact information, release form, date of employment and position
Employers will be contacted to verify the individual’s title, dates of employment and if the candidate is eligible for rehire. Typically employment verifications do not extend beyond a 7 year time frame in the absent a legal or regulatory requirement to obtain that information.
Reference Check in Japan
Requirements: Name in Japanese, date of birth, Reference's relationship, contact name and contact information (including phone number and email address)
This search is conducted via telephone (or at times e-mail) with the individual’s personal or professional references using a standard list of questions.
Motor Vehicle Records
The motor vehicle records search will provide the information regarding driver’s license status, validity and reportable offenses where available.
Professional License Verification
This search verifies the individual’s claimed license. Most often, the Professional License Verification simply provides the current status of the license claimed; however, other details such as license number, date of issuance, expiration and disciplinary action will be provided when available.
Global Monitor Check
Requirements: Name, date of birth, address
The Global Monitor Check (GMC) is database product that searches a variety of databases including (but not limited to):
• Bank of England Sanctions
• Commodity Futures Trading Commission List of Regulatory and Self-Regulatory Authorities
• Defense Trade Controls (DTC) Debarred Parties
• FBI Fugitives 10 Most Wanted, Most Wanted Terrorists and Monthly Most Wanted
• Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Special Alert List
• Foreign Agent Registrations
• International Police Most Wanted
• Office of Foreign Asset Control
• OFAC - Enhanced Sanctioned Countries
• OFAC – Palestinian Legislative Council
• Office of Controller of Currency of Unauthorized Banks
• OSFI - Canada
• Politically Exposed Persons
• State Department Terrorist Exclusions
• Terrorists Inside of European Union
• Terrorists Outside of European Union
• United Nations Named Terrorists
• US Bureau of Industry and Security - Unverified Entity List
• US Bureau of Industry and Security - Denied Entity List
• US Bureau of Industry and Security - Denied Person List
• World Bank Ineligible Firms
ID Check in Japan
Requirements: Name, DOB, Address, Consent Form, Identification Card Color Copy (Front and Back)
A validation and/or verification of the data subject’s identity documents.
A search to determine if a candidate had fiduciary or board of directors responsibilities for a company.
Employment Screening Package
Requirements: Name, date of birth, school name, degree obtained, dates of attendance, city of school, employer name, contact information, dates of employment, position, release form
The employment screening package provides discounted price rather than ordering individual products. It Includes:
- Criminal Background Check
- Highest Degree Verification
- One Employment Verification
Criminal and Civil Search Package
Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, name in Kanji, release
The Criminal and Civil Search Package offers discounted pricing of our most popular searches. This bundle includes one criminal records search and one civil records search, based on the jurisdiction of the address provided.
Civil and Bankruptcy Search Package
Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, release
The Civil and Bankruptcy Search Package offers discounted pricing of our most popular due diligence searches. This bundle includes one civil records search and one bankruptcy records search, based on the jurisdiction of the address provided.
Japanese Police Record
Available. Japanese police certificates will not contain information about criminal convictions when:
1. The period of suspended sentence has ended;
2. The penalty of the crime was a fine, and the crime occurred more than five years ago;
3. The term of the prison sentence ended more than ten years ago; or
4. The conviction was vacated or the criminal was subject to a pardon or amnesty.
Persons convicted of crimes in Japan may obtain court conviction records indefinitely. The headquarters' records section of the Metropolitan or Prefectural police issues certificates which include a nationwide criminal records check.
Certificates of No Criminal Conviction can only be obtained by the subject themselves and are not issued to third parties. To get a police certificate by yourself, you must first get copies of your birth certificate/family register ("Koseki Shohon") and residence certificate ("Jumin Hyo") from your local city hall.
The police certificate is issued from the Prefectural Police Headquarters - the Ken Keisatsu Honbu (in Tokyo, this is the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Headquarters, or Keishi Cho). The turnaround time is typically around 2-3 weeks.
JAPANESE ID CHECK
Japan does not have an ID card system for Japanese nationals and no such identify verification system is available.
Driving History Checks
Driving record history is unavailable for third parties.
Japanese Court Records
Available. Records of court judgment are maintained at the relevant office of the District Public Prosecutor's office (chiho kensatucho kirokuka), where the case was heard. However these files are not accessible to the public. There is one third party database in Japan which covers the Tokyo District Court and Tokyo metropolitan area. Info Cubic utilizes this database as part of our criminal records check. There is no centralized court registry.
Japanese Privacy laws & Regulations
In April 2005 Japan enacted the Personal Information Protection Law to govern the handling and release of personal information. Although the provisions do not relate specifically to screening, the act does state that an individual's consent must be obtained in order to release their personal information to a third party. The release of personal information such as for employment and education verifications is governed by the Personal Information Protection Law in Japan which includes a provision that an individual's consent must be obtained prior to releasing their information to a third party. The law however, does not specify what constitutes consent or what evidence must be provided to prove consent. As such employers have interpreted this in varying ways. Some employers will accept the minimum proof of a signed authorization letter, whilst others may require a copy of the subject's ID or even a phone call to HR from the subject to confirm that they have authorized the release of their information. A small number of employers or schools will refuse outright to release any information. Info Cubic will utilize our local researcher network to contact schools or employers. However please be aware additional information might be required by each school and employer due to the reasons described above.
Drug Testing in Japan is relatively new and there is no legislation directly covering if and how a company can drug screen their employees.