crime

Man arrested for robbing convenience store says he did it because he was hungry

38 Comments

Police in Tokyo have arrested a 56-year-old unemployed man on suspicion of robbing a convenience store in Kodaira City, Tokyo. Police said the man, Hiroyuki Uesawa, has admitted to the charge and quoted him as saying “I didn’t have any money and was hungry.”

According to police, Uesawa entered the Lawson convenience store at around 9:30 p.m. on Feb 19, threatened the woman owner of the store with a knife and demanded cash, Sankei Shimbun reported. She gave him 50,000 yen from the cash register and he left. There were no customers in the store at the time and the woman was not injured.

Police said Uesawa was identified through store surveillance camera footage and arrested on March 8 near a cheap housing facility in Yokohama, where he has been staying.

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38 Comments
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expatToday  03:16 pm JST

If he'd simply asked for some food that was past its sell-by date...

He would've been laughed at while the food was thrown in the bin.

25 ( +25 / -0 )

He's almost certainly one of the thousands of ageing single men ekeing a living on the fringes of Japanese society in a flophouse in Kotobukicho. If he is staying in 'a cheap housing facility in Yokohama', this is almost certainly where he has washed up. As the average age of the residents has risen, and the day labour they used to live on has dried up, they find themselves on the margins of society. Japanese society is not forgiving of people who drop through the cracks, and at his age, getting a job in this country for people who are tainted, like him, is not easy. If you give your address as Kotobukicho, that in itself will mark you. Short video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVvpqaoqS5E

24 ( +24 / -0 )

More of these thefts to follow as the homeless and desperate in Japan skyrocket!

23 ( +29 / -6 )

It's sad this happens in any modern society that easily has the means to provide for every one of its residents if it wanted to. Most simply don't want to. Nobody should ever feel pressed to steal just to feed themselves or their families, but many people in this same situation have no other choice.

Even worse when the store is actively throwing food away in massive amounts while people outside starve, they'd rather waste food than give it to anybody who could use it.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

AddfwynToday 04:27 pm JST

Even worse when the store is actively throwing food away in massive amounts while people outside starve, they'd rather waste food than give it to anybody who could use it.

This has struck me the most when I landed here more than 30 years ago. And still strucks me today. First they give a funny discount like 20-30%, sometimes even bit more. And then they just throw it away, despite it's perfectly safe to eat. I once talked to my wife's nephew who used to work in a convenience store and asked, why they don't discount it even more instead of throwing away completely (even if you sold it with a loss, it's still at least few pennies rather than nothing) or just don't put it like outside for free, in a box saying like "expired products, only at your own risk". And I've been told that there was no process to do such thing.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

@Robert Cikki - I've heard of the same thing from someone who worked at McDonald's that they make unserved but perfectly edible food cooked at the end of the day (this was during a time where 24-hour stores were probably a thing) inedible by dousing them in water and placing them in trash bags. I'd eat food that's a bit expired to be honest, It makes me sad that a store is throwing away food while people nearby are starving. Dear Mods, I hope you don't erase this comment.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

I've not got much sympathy for the guy, but it's getting to the point where some people are desperate enough to want to be in jail (or return to jail) in order to get 3 squares a day, a roof over ones head plus medication, treatment for any ailments or conditions, etc. It's sad, but true.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Stealing for food is not a crime when nobody gets hurt. I will pay his bill but JT would not care enough to tell me how to.

” Ask for expired food ? In Japan ? “ you must have just arrived.

compared to all the corruption going on here, the man is a saint

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I sadly fear the more incidents like this might increase in the future. @expat, do Japanese konbini sell their food past the sell-by date for a discounted price? I also wonder if there are soup kitchens and other forms of social support systems for the poor and homeless in that man's area.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

When I was having my 5000 yen lunch in Ginza you can't see any poverty. Everyone works, drive fancy cars, why this has to happen?

Jesus, my eyes are hurting because of the amount of rolling.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Late capitalism strikes again.

I hope he is not punished & I hope the employee is ok.

12 ( +22 / -10 )

It's not just desperate older men.

Younger people who obviously didn't get a solid education/incentive will turn to crime to get by, as evidenced by the incident where 3 young men were targeting older people in their homes.

As the income gap grows along with the future spectre of AI relieving people of their livelihoods (actually already taking place), these occurrences unfortunately will likely increase, especially concerning children who are unfortunate to be born to parents who don't have the financial resources to send them to better schools.

And as a poster above pointed out, we all know this is a symptom of a particular type of economic system.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Can understand ‘panhandling’ or, in desperation, ‘shoplifting’ but, he threatened her with a knife. It’s ‘armed robbery’.

I know what you mean, but probably he added the knife to make sure he would get some time for a period, take the pressure off, get fed and sheltered every day for a while. This is the modern Japanese prison system, more and more an elderly care home for those who have dropped through the cracks. And you know how desperate they must be if they aspire to doing time in Japan.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Then get a job. You're too good for minimum wage?

Many companies won't hire a person his age for any position. A cousin's husband worked over 40 years in IT. During the 2008 Great Recession his bank went bankrupt and was taken over by another bank. The new owners canned everyone in the IT department. He was in his late 50s at the time. He hasn't been able to find a job since. Walmart would not even hire him as a greeter. "Too qualified". Same thing at all the home improvement emporiums and fast food joints. He was willing to do literally any job but nobody would hire him. No other IT departments would hire him. Chirpy HR weenies don't want to interview old men for jobs. They all want young and handsome/pretty people not some chubby old dude who's been there and done that a thousand times but is, well, a chubby old guy who has thick glasses and isn't all that attractive any more. People who hire are too often facile that way. Eventually the stress of the situation along with losing his house caused him to have a near aneurysm on a blood vessel immediately adjacent an optic nerve, damaging the nerve permanently costing him his vision in that eye and necessitating an emergency surgery with no medical insurance. Glib comments like yours anger me because you really do not understand the challenges older people face in the workforce.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

do Japanese konbini sell their food past the sell-by date

Some have been fined for changing the dates on the labels.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Derek.... Identified by CCTV is the usual description for "traced by cell phone"..

But shussh.... It's a secret.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If he'd simply asked for some food that was past its sell-by date...

6 ( +13 / -7 )

@robert maes

Stealing for food is not a crime when nobody gets hurt.

You can't see the difference between stealing food and threatening someone with a knife? This poor women will likely be traumatized for a long time. That IS hurting someone.

If he was hungry and desperate, he should have just taken something off the shelf and walked out. No one would stop him.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Natural animal instinct. Hunt or be hunted. A starving animal will seek its preys. Obviously this man in his 50ths unemployed and you all know here in Japan the reality of finding another job... at his age is slim. don’t fool yourself thinking you have job security

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@shogun36

You are a woeful human being for your first comment.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This food wastage is so true, my son friend was a manager of a well known cake/sandwich/coffee out let her in the UK, one day my son was with him after shutting up the shop, my son said what are you doing with all of these cakes, and muffins? quote, they are all going in the skip out side with the sandwiches, my son was angry and asked why dont they give it to the homeless shelter, they are afraid that they might get sued by someone if they got ill, how a homeless person would go about sueing someone is byoned me, but i am sure there will be a no win no fee parasite type solicitor willing to take it on. personally i think its a criminal waste of good food, my son went to rescue some of the cakes telling his mate they will do for a snack at work, but the company policy says it all has to be scrapped if not, if someone take anything its classed as theft.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Lorem ipsum

You have to be joking. Stealing is stealing. So you would be completely fine with it if I entered your house, stole all your food as long as you didn't get hurt?

Stealing food (as long as you are not starving yourself) is certainly not the same as violent robbery. However, here the guy did not just comit petty theft of food, he threatened with a knife and took money. That is a different category.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If you trust “hello work” there's is only disappointment.

Not only for gaijin power.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Stealing for food is not a crime when nobody gets hurt. I will pay his bill but JT would not care enough to tell me how to.

You have to be joking. Stealing is stealing. So you would be completely fine with it if I entered your house, stole all your food as long as you didn't get hurt?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Addfwyn

*One sided thought!! Its called capitalism vs socialism! Have you ever thought about the risk of these stores being hit with lawsuits if a person gets food poisoning for giving away expired food. If you feel like others feel here and see the many homeless in Japan living in " this *modern society being a resident. Are you willing to do community service to help provide a means for every homeless resident you walk past or see? Or are you the one that just want to live to write and talk about it? The question is are you WILLING TO DO YOUR PART in helping? Don't write about the problem help cure the solution if you have the sympathy. If you don't know where you can go to volunteer let me know I will glady connect you to a soup kitchen that always needs helping hands

It's sad this happens in any modern society that easily has the means to provide for every one of its residents if it wanted to. Most simply don't want to. Nobody should ever feel pressed to steal just to feed themselves or their families, but many people in this same situation have no other choice.

Even worse when the store is actively throwing food away in massive amounts while people outside starve, they'd rather waste food than give it to anybody who could use it

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Then get a job. You're too good for minimum wage?

-23 disagrees naturally

Perhaps not "too good", just naturally entitled.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@kaimycahl

Yes, it is heavily capitalism vs socialism. I am a very outspoken socialist, leaning even more towards the left than that.

As far what I do, yes I do volunteer work and whatever I can to help. I have noticed that a lot of homeless in Japan have too much pride to accept handouts still, but will often take small side jobs if you can find anything that needs doing.

Ultimately though, those are band-aids on a systemic problem. As nice a gesture as volunteering and soup kitchen work is, that isn't going to solve the root causes that led to these solutions being necessary. It is like global warming, anything an individual does to curb their carbon footprint is, while nice, a drop in the bucket to what a government or company could do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How could he be identified by CCTV?

Sunglasses, a mask and a cap - you're invisible.

Looks to me like this poor guy wanted to get caught so he could get his three meals a day in a small room.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Hungry? Didn't lift any food but robbed. Ain't buying it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Again, many here are ‘loosing sight’ of the victim. A female franchise ‘owner’ (‘heavily-invested, indentured servant), who is barely scraping by (‘because of ‘late capitalism’,) working the night shift because of the ‘labor shortage’.

@robert maes. Can understand ‘panhandling’ or, in desperation, ‘shoplifting’ but, he threatened her with a knife. It’s ‘armed robbery’.

Don’t worry about this ‘perp’. He’ll be fine with a ‘regimented life’, (for a while). Then, he’ll be released later, with no pension, and repeat the cycle again.

Reposting, with respect @as_the_crow_flies 4:22pm. - Appreciated and informative.

Short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVvpqaoqS5E

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"Man arrested for robbing convenience store says he did it because he was hungry"

IMO: When they start committing felonies, because they want food, money, maslow heirachy , etc. Maybe its time re-think survival and self defense rules.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Store owner threatened with knife, robbed of ¥50,000; assailant arrested” - *Now***, *what’s your opinion? - Same truths, just presented *differently.

Let’s stop loosing sight of ‘the victim’ with each of these scanted and skewed headlines. It’s more likely, we will each become ‘a victim of some kind of crime at some point’ and unlikely to turn to ‘violent’ crime to ‘feed’ ourselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Desert Tortoise

I'm surprised McDonald's didn't hire him. As a teen, I remember working for McDonald's and then years later, working for Burger King, there was always an older man who was on staff. When I was younger, I thought the older man was working just to keep busy. I didn't really interact with him. But years later when I worked at BK, I chatted with the older man. He worked for an insurance company and life was good. Things happened, he lost his job, his savings wasn't enough to see him through, so he was grateful for his job at BK. It wasn't enough but, oh well.

In Japan, well, in the Tokyo area, the cleaning companies (janitorial, building, housekeeping) are willing to hire older men and women. I met and chatted with a few old men and women (well into their 70s and 80s) who aren't doing it to keep busy or for pocket money. They really need that income.

@kaimycahl

Agree. We have to be active and volunteer or donate what we can, whether it be time and/or money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is sad. Must be hard to find work due to age stigma. Why can't Japan put all those abandoned houses to better use? Perhaps government can negotiate with owners to give up these properties in lieu of astronomical inheritance tax or property tax and build more discreet homeless shelters where people like this man can stay until he gets his footing. If he can save up some money on rent, then maybe he can afford to buy more food? Expensive housing is an universal problem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I understand and sympathise the man was hungry and desperate to eat, it would have been better if he ask around for someone to help him get food, or just try steal the food, not threaten a hard working employee and steal money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Toasted Heretic

He is Toast! Amed Robbery with a deadly weapon.

In Japan even carrying a knife is a serious crime. He will get over 10 years, sad but true.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

One topic, two viewpoints. ‘Nature vs. Nuture’?

You’re citing ‘Nature’; hunger and desperation; ‘animal instincts’; as his ‘justification’(?) @Oxycodin 8:00pm for ‘aggravated battery and armed robbery’. Not even a choice but, an overwhelming desire, over ‘basic respect for another living being’ and ‘the laws of society’? Sorry, can’t buy that. He planned it, got the knife and demanded CASH.

If you’re really hungry and desperate, leave the knife on the sidewalk. Tell her you’re hungry, open the food, sit down, eat it there and let her call the police. While you wait, promise her to repay it one day, IF you ever can. Jail him and let him be rehabilitated(?) IF there is such a government program here.(Probably, not.*)

On the other side of this ‘Nature vs. Nurture’; @moonbloom 5:00pm is blaming ‘lack of educational opportunities and incentives’ (inadequate nurturing) to justify the well thought-out and executed, inhumane actions of the three late 20’s men jailed for the murder of the 80-year-old woman in Tokyo.

Sorry, that one doesn’t pass either! They stalked her for at least 2 weeks prior. There was no desperation. They were not animals, but savages. Jail ‘em and hang ‘em! (Or, does it have to be a certain number murdered first?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

quoted him as saying “I didn’t have any money and was hungry.”

Then get a job. You're too good for minimum wage?

-29 ( +14 / -43 )

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