Japan’s First Use of Metaverse for Employment Support for Prisoners and Juvenile OffendersNew way to support reintegration into society goes beyond confines of correctional facilities

The Nippon Foundation is engaged in an employment project to support the reintegration into society of prisoners and juvenile offenders. The project aims to prevent recidivism while maintaining a society that is safe from crime.
As part of this project, the Foundation and the Japanese Ministry of Justice held a joint briefing on February 2 to support employment for people being released from correctional facilities. This was the first time the metaverse was used for a briefing of this kind in Japan, with 13 companies from the restaurant and construction sectors participating from two locations – The Nippon Foundation head office in Tokyo and a location in Osaka. Incarcerated individuals asked questions like, “Will I be able to get a job if I have tattoos or body piercings?” and “What qualifications or accreditations do I need?” One participant said that they liked cleanliness and were attracted to the building cleaning and maintenance industry. The fact that the event was conducted in the metaverse also made it easier for incarcerated individuals to ask questions like salary and whether there was a company dormitory, which are difficult to ask in face-to-face interviews.
Participating companies were also able to ask about individuals’ work experience and skills. After the session concluded, companies expressed their satisfaction and hopes that the program would be expanded going forward, noting that it was efficient to be able to meet with many individuals at once, and because the meetings were not face-to-face, the individuals were able to ask questions without hesitation.

The February 2 event at The Nippon Zaidan Building in Tokyo. Incarcerated individuals could visit company booths and representatives could present their companies in the metaverse.
Company booths in the metaverse

Background and benefits of using metaverse

Support for employment to give people a stable life after being released from a correctional facility previously meant that companies had to visit facilities individually, which placed a burden on the companies. This project’s use of the metaverse reduces companies’ physical and financial burden, demonstrating that hiring activities can be carried out more efficiently. For incarcerated individuals, this breakthrough means they are not constricted by the physical confines of the facility and broadens the scope of their job searches, making it possible to return to work where they had lived, or to start a new life in a completely new location.

Looking ahead

Using the metaverse broadens the scope of support for employment, reducing the risk that because of limited choices, individuals released from incarceration will have to take jobs that do not suit them, then leave those jobs and return to committing crimes. This event focused on companies in the Kanto area on a trial basis, but plans are being made to expand the program and roll it out nationwide from 2024. A range of other events are also being planned for the future, including workshops on overseas justice systems and the use of virtual reality to simulate hands-on work experiences like assembling scaffolding on a construction site or cooking in a restaurant.

About the employment support project

Although the number of arrests in Japan has been declining from the 389,027 recorded in 2004, the rate of repeat offenders (defined as the percentage of the number of people arrested during a year who are arrested for a second or more crimes within one year) has risen consistently, to 48.7% in 2016 from 27.7% in 1996, meaning that roughly one in two arrestees will commit a second offense. In addition, roughly 70% of people who are reincarcerated are unemployed, while the rate of being rearrested after being released from incarceration for people who do not get jobs after their release is roughly three times than for people who get jobs. To prevent this from happening and crime from increasing, The Nippon Foundation is carrying out this project at 12 locations across Japan, holding job training and educational support, internships, and opportunities for interviews.


Public Relations Team
The Nippon Foundation

  • Email: cc@ps.nippon-foundation.or.jp