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Teaching English in Japan with a Criminal Record

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Recently, while I was walking hope drunk after a night at a local bar, fell asleep on a bus stop, and was subsequently was arrested for "public intoxication," which is ironic because I walked home specifically to avoid a potential DUI charge. This happened in California, USA.

I have hired a criminal defense attorney to dismiss this misdemeanor charge, as this my first criminal charge.

If everything works out, and I get my charge dismissed, my "dismissed" charges unfortunately will still appear in my FBI CBC--it will say "No Disposition" rather than "No Arrest Record Found". So, technically I will still have a criminal record.

So, my question is:

1) Will Japan deny me employment even if my charges were dismissed (non-conviction)?

2) Does anyone know someone that is working with a misdemeanor/minor criminal record? Or have heard anecdotes/stories of people who have?

3) "Applications with criminal records will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis." This is stated on the JET website. However, does anyone know people who actually still got hired and worked in Japan?



I feel like I f***ed up so hard on something so stupid. I am senior at a university planning, and have been planning, to work in abroad for the past 3 years and I feel like I royally screwed up my life. Any help and even anecdotal evidence will help me immensely. Advice from people with similar experience will be much appreciated. Thank you.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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The JET program may apply whatever standards they wish. They are not the only employer of English teachers, though.

The only absolutely crucial thing is that you not have a felony conviction, as Japanese law would bar you from entering the country. Misdemeanors don't matter as far as Immigration is concerned. What an employer chooses to think of a misdemeanor is a matter of their own policy.

There is a difference between an arrest record and a criminal record. If you don't have a conviction, you don't have a criminal record. Remember that whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing? Having been arrested alone isn't sufficient for one to be labeled a "criminal".
 
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Unfortunately, even non-convictions can potentially damage more things than one can imagine, especially in immigration of foreign countries where they have a hard time understanding the actual meaning of legal jargon.

In Korea, for example, when you order an FBI CBC it must be spotless clean, as in it must show "NO ARREST DATA FOUND." If I, for example, get my case dismissed, it will state "NO DISPOSITION" or something that is not "NO ARREST DATA FOUND." What Korean immigration does is they reject anything that is not "NO ARREST DATA FOUND," without delving deeper into what the FBI CBC is actually saying. Of course there are exceptions.

I am worried Japan will do the same thing. And yes, although there is a difference between arrest records and criminal records, they have one thing in common--they are, according to the FBI, still one's criminal history.

Out of all the other English programs/company I have scoured (interact, etc), the JET program was the only program/company that stated they may review misdemeanors on a case-by-case basis. Every other website states that one must have a clean record.

Even in the US, most job applications stop asking if you were convicted; rather, it asks you you to check the box if there were any arrests. These arrest records that lead to charges are nearly impossible to erase, especially in my state of CA. One would have to file a motion of factual innocence that is notoriously difficult to win without massive evidence in your favor. But I digress.

Do you or anyone else know actual instances of people with misdemeanor records teaching in Japan.
 
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Mike is correct.

I don't know people personally with criminal records like yours, but I do know OF them working in Japan. Relax.
 

Mike Cash

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I am worried Japan will do the same thing.
You seem to fail to make a distinction between "Japan" and "employers in Japan".

I have already told you that Japanese law only cares that you not have a felony. The statute is very clearly and plainly worded. Despite your rather insulting fears to the contrary, Japanese officials are more than capable of understanding the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor.

Here's the statute; see for yourself

image-jpeg.24145


Whether an "employer in Japan" will hire you or not is entirely up to the employer and they are free to apply whatever standards they please. Whether they have hired anyone in the past with a misdemeanor or not is no certain indicator of whether they would hire you or not. You're just going to have to apply and see.
 

nice gaijin

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I had a friend get rejected by Korean immigration for having an arrest on his record. As I recall him saying, he got drunk in SF, passed out in a cab, woke up to a beating by the police, who claimed he was resisting, and he spent a night in the drunk tank. Charges were dropped and he never saw a courtroom, but when he got offered a job in Korea, the immigration officials denied his visa because the background check wasn't spotless. In this case, I believe he even made his employer aware of the incident and they too were surprised when immigration denied him; as he relayed to me, it may all depend on just who is stamping your papers.

He and his wife instead took a job in Japan (private schools I think, not JET), and to my knowledge had no trouble getting their visas. Don't be discouraged unless you actually get denied.
 

KyushuWoozy

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I'm just curious, in the case of foreigners working overseas who generally does the security check? Is it the immigration authorities, the potential employer, or is it self declared? I've worked in several countries and was never aware that any security check was done by either the immigration authorities or the potential employer but of course it may have been done without my knowing.

I once worked at an English school where there was a high-profile paedophile incident and after that we were all required to produce a background check from our home countries. To get mine, from the UK, I had to choose one specific regional police force to request it from. I was under the impression that if I had committed a crime in another region it wouldn't have been picked up.

It's also interesting to note that having a few too many beers and falling asleep, has mentioned in both the stories on this thread, can have future repercussions the drinker couldn't have imagined.
 
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Just to enter the country, it's immigration and customs. For work purposes Americans have to submit an FBI background check, I think.
 
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Yes, it is true that in many cases Americans are asked to submit a background check. In general though, there is no way that an employer in Japan will bother spending the resources to do background checks. The only records they have access to are the Japanese ones. I know several people who have less-than clean backgrounds in their country and are doing fine here. Japanese employers do not care what a person did before entering Japan. Unless of course one is wanted by interpol.

If one has a clean record in Japan, everything is dandy. No need to tell one's life story.
 
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