The National Police Agency is mulling over the use of a lie detector test as part of its recruitment process. The national newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that the polygraph will only be used on applicants who will consent to undergoing such test, so as to avoid any accusations that the agency is invading the privacy of such individuals. The main thrust of the measure is to weed out possible sex offenders and potential criminals.
Polygraph machines measure and record the physiological reactions of the person in response to certain questions posed to them. Supporters of polygraphs in general said that when a person tells a lie it is very difficult to hide or control certain mannerisms that the body does. According to the report, the recruiters will analyze the reactions of the applicants when asked about their thoughts on pedophilia and their level of interest in molestation. The newspaper has quoted a senior police officer saying that the idea came about because “scandals were repeatedly committed by people who apparently lacked the skills required of policemen.”
There is stiff competition for those who wish to be part of Japan’s police force; of the 126,000 candidates in 2012, only 14,700 passed the exams to become locally recruited officers. In the meantime, disciplinary actions on officers have risen considerably in the last three years: from 242 in 2009 to more than 400 in 2012.
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