Privacy Laws and Background Checks

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Please advise cost and timeframe of results (turnaround time) to conduct employee background checks in Japan.

We are interested in the following items:

  • 1.Criminal records
  • 2.Driving records (if available)
  • 3.Medical records (if available)
  • 4.Education (highest degree awarded)
  • 5.Employment (2 prior employers)

What information do you need from us, besides the person’s full name and a signed release form?

The investigative situation in Japan

Criminal records are basically unavailable in Japan. The only legal way to check criminal records is reputation and media check.
Criminal records are strictly confidential in Japan and are controlled by the Police alone. They will check criminal records when you:
Become a corporate president, a politician, etc.
Take some certification or license (Lawyer, accountant, doctor, real estate services, PIs, etc)
Only legal method to check criminal records is checking via media (online/paper article check).

Driving records are also unavailable in Japan.
Driving records are strictly confidential in Japan and are controlled by the Police alone. They will check driving records only when they give a traffic ticket.
Medical records are also unavailable in Japan. Social insurance office will never reveal those records for private matters.
The only way to check medical records is checking via hearsay.
Education verification is also in a strict sense impossible in Japan.
Almost all the school will never cooperate with the verification offer. The only method to verify graduation records is the person himself/herself obtain a diploma certificate. However, now the school will cooperate with the verification of the authenticity of the diploma certificate. They have absolutely no knowledge of diploma mill or forgery of the certificate. They’d say ‘Since the person issued a diploma certificate, you should believe it’.

Most Japanese PIs are verifying via alumni list of the college. But Western clients will never admit the authenticity of these lists.
Without previous educational information, it is extremely difficult to find educational history in Japan.
It is easier for us to verify employment history than any of the above items.

Required Information

Most of the case, we need to have a full name in Japanese language and specific address or date of birth to proceed with data search.

As there is no common ID number system in Japan, name and address or name and D.O.B. is deemed as some kind of ID number in Japan. Without the information, the Japanese government is unable to identify a person.

Also, the name has to be a name in the Japanese language because of the fat chances where we see multiple same name people under the same pronunciation name with different Chinese characters.

To make matters worse, needless to say, the address is changeable, but the Japanese local government keeps the previous address records just for five years old. So, address information which is more than five years old no longer exists in publicly kept records in Japan.

A signed release doesn’t mean any sense in Japan. The concept itself is not understood. Japanese would assume if the subject agrees to be investigated, the subject himself/herself should collect various kinds of certificates from the relevant parties. They will wonder if the investigator fabricates the signed release.

In short, there is a huge gap between the investigation circumstance of Japan and that of Western countries. Therefore, Western clients should be aware of the peculiarity of Japanese culture and should do a different type of investigation on the subject.

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