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Bizarre Robberies Strike Japan

June 29, 2009

Background: One of the biggest culture shocks for most foreigners who have lived in Japan is leaving the safety of the country. People that have lived there will tell stories of how you can forget your wallet in a café for hours, and then return to find both the wallet and the money intact. Guns are also illegal, so living there people feel a higher sense of security both from petty and violent crimes.

However there is crime in Japan, and although sporadic as it may be, most of the crimes I can remember are either quite bizarre or shockingly violent. Some examples are the Akihabara hit and run where a laid off disgruntled worker decided to randomly try to run over 4 or 5 people in Akihabara in the morning. There are also cases of overworked salarymen coming home and killing their whole family.

The newspapers this morning in their headlines all had reported robberies, and interestingly enough each newspaper had reported a different incident.

Asahi “Couple Charged w/ Stealing 2.6 million yen ($26k) from Pachinko” Toshiko, a part time employee at a Nagoya Pachinko prize redemption center, was charged with helping her unemployed husband steal 2.6 million yen from the premises. However after looking at the security camera when the incident supposedly took place, there was no sign of robbery. The police had to search the tape all day to find that earlier in the day Toshiko’s husband had left the pachinko redemption center carrying a small bag.

When Toshiko and her husband were asked for a statement, her husband stated “I only took the money as a loan. I was going to pay it back.” Toshiko had no comment.

Yomiuri “Chamber of Commerce’s Golden Plate Stolen” The Yomiuri reported an incident in Mie Prefecture where the local Chamber of Commerce was robbed. It was reported on the 27th by a Chamber employee, Yoshida-san. He first noticed that two jewelry boxes had been stolen, and then on further investigation he found the safe was also missing. In total, 13 rings, 2.2 million yen, and a gold plate were all taken.

The last time Yoshida-san had checked the safe was on the 24th of June, so the robbery could’ve been anytime between then, reported the Yomiuri.

Nikkei “Teacher Arrested for Taking Suspicious Photos” The robbery that happened in Yokohama at an Elementary School was a robbery of privacy. An elementary school teacher and his umemployed wife were charged with taking pictures of the girl’s bathroom. The authorities claimed that they had been taking pictures on and off for five years, for their “own enjoyment.”

A video camera was found in the girl’s bathroom that was traced back to the elementary school teacher, the Nikkei reported.

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