Tokyo’s ‘honest citizens’ handed in record £24.5m in lost cash to police last year

Unclaimed money goes to the metropolitan government

Sravasti Dasgupta
Friday 17 March 2023 10:47 GMT
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Citizens in Tokyo gave back a record ¥3.99bn (£24.5m) in lost cash to the police last year.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said in a report on Wednesday that police were able to return ¥2.95bn (£18.2bn) of the total amount to respective owners, reported Japan Today.

Unclaimed money goes to the metropolitan government, the report said.

Japan’s goods law says anyone who finds money must hand it over to the police, but they can claim a reward of between 5 per cent and 20 per cent if it is retrieved by the owner, reported The Guardian.

The police department report also said approximately 3.43 million lost items were handed in to police stations in 2022, recording a 21.9 per cent increase from 2021.

Police attributed the increase in lost items to the lifting of Covid pandemic restrictions, reasoning that this had led to more people going outdoors.

“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 was quoted as saying to the Mainichi Shimbun.

The police department’s Lost and Found Centre figures showed the number of lost items between 2015 and 2019 remained around 4 million.

The number had sharply declined to 2.8 million in 2020 and 2.81 million in 2021 during the pandemic.

Lost property cases increased to 3.43 million in 2022 but did not reach pre-pandemic levels.

The department also said other lost or misplaced items included identification documents such as driver’s licenses and insurance cards, totaling to about 730,000 items.

Around 390,000 lost commuter passes and stock certificates were also found.

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