Japan: 9 sex offenders missing

December 22, 2005

Nine of 83 child sex offenders have gone missing following their release from prison despite a new system adopted by the Justice Ministry in June under which the ministry is supposed to provide information, including the current residence of every released offender, to the National Police Agency, NPA officials said Thursday.

The failure of the system to confirm the whereabouts of nine child sex offenders was quickly brought to light when eight men disappeared immediately after their release. A ninth man went missing some time after his release.

Under the new system, the ministry provides the NPA with the names, dates of release and addresses of sex offenders, who committed sexual assault, rape, rape-robbery, or abduction for sexual purposes of children under 13.

The system was supposed to enable prefectural police supervising the areas where released sex offenders live to confirm their whereabouts for more than five years after their release.

From June to the end of November, the ministry provided information to police on 55 child sex offenders who had served their sentences and 41 who had been released on parole.

Of the 96 men, the 55 who had served their sentences and 28 of the men on parole were discharged by the end of November.

Ten child sex offenders registered addresses in Tokyo, seven men registered addresses in Osaka and Kanagawa prefectures, respectively, five registered Hokkaido addresses and the remainder registered addresses in various other parts of the country.

However, police can now only confirm the whereabouts of 74 released sex offenders.

The nine missing sex offenders, who have no relatives, only declared that they would be resident in the Tokyo or Kansai areas. They did not provide addresses.

A ministry official said that sex offenders who are soon to be released offer their future addresses on a voluntary basis. Some men were discharged without having a fixed address they could give to the NPA.

"The current system has its limits," an NPA official said, referring to the fact that authorities cannot force released child sex offenders to live in designated places.

In one reported case of the system working as it should, officers at a police station were able to use information provided by the ministry to track down and warn a man who had acted suspiciously and had allegedly talked to primary school girls. The register also helped police arrest three men on the ministry list for indecent exposure, molestation and stealing a vehicle.

According to the NPA, there were 1,679 sexual assaults, 74 rapes and 141 abductions (including for purposes other than sexual assaults) that targeted children under 13 in 2004.

The Yomiuri Shimbun








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