The honest citizens of Tokyo handed in a record ¥3.99bn (£24.5m) in lost cash to police last year – an average of more than £67,000 a day.
Japan’s national police agency said the amount was up ¥600m from the previous year, and beat the previous high of ¥3.84bn declared at police stations across the capital in 2019.
There was relief, too, for at least some of those who had mislaid their money. The police department’s lost and found office said it had returned almost ¥3bn, while ¥480m was given to those who had discovered the cash and, rather than pocketing it, decided to do the honourable thing.
In all, 3.43m items were handed in to police in 2022. Driving licences and other forms of ID comprised the biggest number – 730,000 items – followed by 390,000 commuter and rechargeable “IC” public transport cards. The haul also included about 300,000 gloves and other items of clothing, and a similar number of wallets.
Under Japan’s lost goods law, anyone who finds money must hand it in to the police, but they can claim a reward of between 5% and 20% if it is retrieved by the owner.
If the cash has not been claimed after three months, the entire sum goes to the finder. If the finder does not claim the money within an additional two months, it becomes the property of the local government.
The large quantity of misplaced money is a symptom of Japan’s enduring attachment to hard cash and a cultural resistance to paying on the never never. Police attributed the rise in finds in 2022 to signs that the coronavirus pandemic was coming to an end.
“It could be a result of the surge in people out and about after coronavirus border control measures were drastically eased, and the resumption of socio-economic activities,” an official told theRead more on theguardian.com