Steven Brownstein Goes to Tokyo Court
AROUND THE WORLD WITH STEVEN BROWNSTEIN
This month Steven Brownstein traveled to Tokyo to find out if criminal records are available.
Recently it came across my desk that Japanese court records were somehow "out of bounds" for researchers.
Someone even wrote that the only way to get a record was to pretend to be a relative.
My company, Straightline International, has had a relationship with the Courts for over seven years.
Living only 3 hours from Tokyo I decided to visit once again.
Perhaps, something had changed since I last visited. I needn't had gone.
Everything is the same as always.
On the 11th Floor of the Tokyo District Courthouse is the Criminal Case Filing Section, i.e., the Clerk's office.
They were happy to see me again and after cordial greetings Japanese style I began to converse with the chief clerk aided by my Japan researcher and translator, Miho.
Like I wrote, everything is the same. The computers go back almost 20 years (as they started computerizing from 1999). Names are searched by last name, then DOB; only then if there is a match, by first name. No, I did not have to pretend to be a relative. I couldn't pretend anyway since they already knew me!
The computers work in Chinese characters so the clerks and my researcher are very careful with translations. As an added service the clerks have decided that if I fax them the names in Japanese characters that would be alright, too.
So I searched the names; rather, the clerk searched the names and I asked several questions:
* Do I have to be a relative?
** No. * Can I get copies?
** No, not here.
* Why not?
** Because while we process the information when the case is before the court upon completion we send the file over to the Public Prosecutor's office.
* Where's that?
** Across the street.
So my questions were answered. Though, not all is solved, for even though the case information is available at the court should I need copies I would have to make contact at the Prosecutor's office.
But this is pre-employment screening and copy retrieval is usually beyond the scope of that.
For pre-employment screening purposes the information received from the Courts is more than adequate.
Also, as a reminder always obtain implicit consent from the applicant.