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‘Volunteer’ worker arrested for stealing fruit from damaged home in Ishikawa Prefecture

35 Comments

Police in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, have arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of stealing fruit from a home partially damaged by the Jan 1 earthquake.

Police said Fumiaki Matsuoka, a self-proclaimed university student from Kariya City, Aichi Prefecture, has been charged with burglary and theft for breaking into the house and stealing box containing six high-quality mikan (mandarins) worth 3,000 yen from the kitchen, at around 8:40 a.m. on Friday, Kyodo News reported.

The house belongs to a man in his 70s who had been evacuated after the quake. However, Matsuoka was detained by a neighbor who was suspicious at seeing a stranger come out of the house.

Police said Matsuoka had only 500 yen in cash on him. He was quoted as saying he came to the area as a volunteer worker.

According to Ishikawa prefectural police, since the earthquake, there have been more than a dozen reports of burglaries in Wajima and Suzu towns.

© Japan Today

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35 Comments
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Send that clown to jail..

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

By the way, stealing some mandarins in national headlines..

Proving again, again and again that Japan is one of the safest countries to live in the world..

Like it or not..

2 ( +22 / -20 )

Remember what happened after hurricane Katrina in Florida? "Looters will be shot!"

25 ( +28 / -3 )

Very sad that disasters sometimes bring out the scum in society- the thieves, looters and scammers. Meanwhile, real volunteers are working thanklessly.

26 ( +26 / -0 )

Lost in translation:

TV Kanazawa, Sankei Shimbun, and NHK News Web all report the theft of 6 mikan (6個) valued at 3000 yen, while the Mainichi Shimbun reports the theft of a ミカン箱 of the same value. None of the Japanese outlets surveyed mentions 6 boxes of mikan. High quality or not, 6 boxes would be valued at considerably more than 3000 yen.

Moderator: Yes, you are correct. It was one box containing six high-quality mikan. Thanks for pointing that out.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Can we be sure he wasn’t just looking for victims and got hungry seeing mikans that would surely go to waste? Starting to see why volunteering is not common here with suspicion of outsiders.

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

Seriously hard to believe someone goes all the way there to steal perishable fruits but I will take all of the mobs’ thumbs down.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

""According to Ishikawa prefectural police, since the earthquake, there have been more than a dozen reports of burglaries in Wajima and Suzu towns.""

Sad and sick, nationality has nothing to do with anything, people are people and as usual some SCUM among us will take any chance to gain from others mishaps.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I just heard a western media correspondant here on LBC radio say how calm and organised Japan is in the face of disaster and that looting never happens here. Another myth busted.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Mmmm ...Mikan...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I just heard a western media correspondant here on LBC radio say how calm and organised Japan is in the face of disaster and that looting never happens here. Another myth busted.

If you deal in absolutes, then you are correct, Mr. Sith, sir.

Generally speaking, however, Japan is calm, organized and does not have a major looting problem. Compare with disasters in the US, for example.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

owzerToday 10:36 am JST

I just heard a western media correspondant here on LBC radio say how calm and organised Japan is in the face of disaster and that looting never happens here. Another myth busted.

If you deal in absolutes, then you are correct, Mr. Sith, sir.

Generally speaking, however, Japan is calm, organized and does not have a major looting problem. Compare with disasters in the US, for example.

Because you just ignore what goes on in the Crime section everyday?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Stealing fruit from a damaged home?!

It’s going to spoil soon anyway, isn’t it?

Besides, he’s a volunteer. I would just tell him it was bad manners and let it go at that.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Probably an opportunist and looter and not a volunteer. He was hungry and poor. He could have gone to an evacuation center.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Stealing jewelry or silverware is one thing, but a banana or an apple?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

He probably entered the property to steal valuables but was caught before he could.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Maybe he was hungry?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What is a 'self-proclaimed university student'....I have never heard that before, is it a Japanese thing?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

1glenn

Maybe he was hungry?

Food is available at evacuation places.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I got no words by reading again about stolen fruits in Japan, so, I asked BARD about this, and got the following answer:

The 21-year-old man in this case likely faces a combination of legal penalties due to the nature of his actions:

Burglary: Breaking into the partially damaged house constitutes burglary, as the house, even during repairs, is still considered an inhabited dwelling. This carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to 500,000 yen.

Theft: Stealing the oranges is separate from the burglary and falls under the crime of theft. Since the value stolen is 3,000 yen, it wouldn't be categorized as "grand theft" under Japanese law, but still carries a potential sentence of up to 3 years imprisonment or a fine of up to 500,000 yen.

Damage: Entering the damaged house could also be seen as causing further damage to the property, adding a potential charge of property damage. This carries a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment or a fine of up to 500,000 yen.

Additionally:

Targeting a vulnerable victim: Targeting an elderly and potentially traumatized person could lead to prosecutors seeking harsher penalties.

Taking advantage of a disaster: Stealing from a house affected by a natural disaster might also influence sentencing.

Prior criminal record: Any past convictions could increase the severity of the sentence.

The specific charges and exact punishment will depend on the investigation and court proceedings. However, given the combination of crimes and the circumstances, he is likely looking at a significant prison sentence and potential fines.

Important note: This is not legal advice. If you have specific questions about the legal situation in Japan, please consult with a qualified legal professional.

https://g.co/bard/share/260a1087bd8a

2 ( +3 / -1 )

fwiw, the Mayor of Ishikawa prefecture has put out a message officialling telling random volunteers not to come to the prefecture. It did not scold the people there already, but it said people coming were not welcome.

There are various disaster relief NGOs in Japan. They will have mobilized on day one and will be there already.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

fwiw, the Mayor of Ishikawa prefecture has put out a message officialling telling random volunteers not to come to the prefecture. It did not scold the people there already, but it said people coming were not welcome.

Mayor? Governor?

Either way, it is stupid. They should direct volunteers who meet a certain criteria to come to a specific point where they will be assigned a task appropriate to their abilities and means. Those who don't meet the criteria should be asked to stay home.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I don't think Fumiaki Matsuoka is a professional thief. Probably just a slightly crooked kid who acted on a bad impulse, as many of us have when we were young. Hopefully, the public shaming and arrest will scare him straight. Meanwhile, we still have many missing people and the situation is grave. Let's all try to support Ishikawa in the coming years as it rebuilds. It's one of my favorite places in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Seems a bit petty the whole thing. How about showing some kindness and helping the guy instead?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The whole thing is so petty. I’d rather they went after corporate corruption than opportunist petty criminals.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

 Japan is calm, organized and does not have a major looting problem. 

The Japanese authorities would probably disagree. I recall stories of stepped up police patrols after Fukushima in response to frequent looting in evacuated areas. The same thing happened after the earthquake on Miyakejima, although that also involved destruction of combini ATMs.

Evacuation signs in the Tohoku evac centers warned occupants to be on guard for a "rising number of thefts," And so on, and so on.

Remember what happened after hurricane Katrina in Florida? 

Yes, I remember all the speculation that violence and mayhem was happening inside the sports dome, where many black people had been evacuated. Follow up investigations by the police and CNN found no such problems. The crowd remained calm waiting for food, water, and other essential supplies.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This guy may have a screw loose, but it’s hard to imagine that he traveled all the way there to eventually “loot” a box of mikan.

Remember what happened after hurricane Katrina in Florida? "Looters will be shot!"

No, I don’t. I do remember the whole tragic thing, but I don’t remember that. At all.

This comment might hold a little water except that Katrina mainly struck New Orleans (in Louisiana, not Florida), and people were housed in the Superdome during and after the hurricane.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The problem for you is that there was widespread looting and crime after Katrina. In fact there is far more looting and crime on a normal day in many of these places than there has ever been in Japan at any point during its history regardless of disaster situation.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"21-year-old man on suspicion of stealing fruit from a home partially damaged by the Jan 1 earthquake".

probably the tip of the slugeberg

0 ( +0 / -0 )

containing six high-quality mikan (mandarins) worth 3,000 yen

I have never heard of one mikan costing 500 yen; what are these things?

And apart from that, 6 mikan are not much of a theft, could it not be he was just hungry?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Paul Spira

Countries other than the US have disasters too and they do not have a problem with looting.

Maybe you also see the world as US vs Japan? There are plenty of counties which are as violent and crime-ridden as the US. The world is bigger than this simple dualism.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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