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Lost and found property

Japan With Kids - Forums: Consumer Reports: Lost and found property
By Linda Gondo on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 7:10 pm:

Some people might be interested in this lost and found law. I think it is somewhat different to other countries?

Unbelievably a few weeks ago, my husband found 350,000yen in a wallet outside our house which we handed into the police station. After filling out reams of paperwork,and the police counting and recounting the money, much to our surprise they told us if the money was not claimed within six months that we as the finders of the money(us)would be entitled to it. I had always thought the money would somehow go into government coffers, but no. If the wallet is claimed, then the owner is required to give (5-20%)of the total value.

Anyway, the wallet was eventually claimed, the poor owner being someone who owned a restaurant and was on his way to pay some debts.

I was very surprised that we were entitled to anything at all. (We ended up receiving 30,000yen "thank you money")

By Yuko Kubota on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 7:42 pm:

"I was very surprised that we were entitled to anything at all."

That's why we take the money to the police without stealing it. :p

Actually, once I found a 5000 yen bill in my son's belongings which he claimed he found on a street but was too scared to do anything with. He insisted on taking it to our local koban in which we did, and the policeman gave him a choice of either giving it to the prefecture, or to follow the procedures that Linda's husband did. Whether this was because he was a juvenile or not, I don't know.

Anyway, my son surrendered it to the prefecture, meaning no thank you money even if the original owner is found. The policeman sealed it in a special envelope with us witnessing. Good boy, I thought.

I really hate to say that after more than 6 months later, my son confessed it was money he took from his father's wallet!

By gly on Monday, April 25, 2005 - 5:08 pm:

if the poor man is paying his debts,i wouldnt take his money as a gratitude.i would feel guilty!

By Linda Gondo on Monday, April 25, 2005 - 9:01 pm:


Let me give you some facts. We would never have accepted the thank you money if we had thought that the owner would be in any way financially compromised. By "poor" I meant, worried, anxious, not poor financially! This man was very weatlhy by anyone's standards. Just to give you an idea, in his wallet was a Cartier card as well as gold and platinum credit cards. He also lives in an expensive neighbourhood.

It took the greater part of a morning to go to the police station, park the car, fill in the reports, let the police count the money, and return home.

I see nothing wrong with being rewraded for time and effort. By the way,we are not opportunisitc money grabbers and give regularly to charity, in fact far more than this per year.

By Nancy on Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 9:22 am:

Just to give a more worldly perspective to this discussion, in Switzerland the "finder's fee" is compulsory. As Linda pointed out, it takes time and effort to take the lost item to the police, complete the paperwork etc. I don't look at it is a reward but rather a thank you and perhaps an incentive to promote honestly and goodwill.

By Kit on Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 10:35 am:

How about another
perspective? Twenty years
ago in Japan, lost valuables
were handed in automatically,
with no expectation or
guarantee of any kind of
reward. First of all, to hold
onto someone else's stuff was
to bring serious bad karma
into one's home, and second
of all there was a remarkable
culture of honesty, much like
that Linda expressed when
she was surprised by getting
something for her actions. I
understand how an "incentive"
might be necessary these
days, but what a priceless
quality to lose in the wake of
"worldliness." Being of Swiss
descent, I was ashamed to
read Nancy's post. I hope
Japan keeps its distance from
certain other worldy places,
where the notion of "finders,
keepers" seems to thrive
(eek!) I feel this keenly
because the other day I
dropped my wallet on the
street; a young man ran up the
hill after me, and handed it
back. He literally dashed off
again before I could even
thank him verbally (and, yes,
everything was still in the
wallet). It was a blast from the
past, but a good one!

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