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64-year-old man arrested for stealing a roll of toilet paper from hospital toilet

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

A 64-year-old man had been arrested and fined after stealing a roll of toilet paper in Shimane Prefecture.

The incident occurred in September at a hospital in Okinoshima, located in Oki District, Shimane Prefecture. Okinoshima lies on an island off the west coast of Japan, and has an estimated population of around 14,849.

According to reports, the man was found guilty of stealing a roll of toilet paper from a male restroom at the hospital and fined 200,000 yen. The toilet paper was valued at 30 yen.

Why the man chose to take the toilet paper from the stall remains unknown, but reports say the heavy fine for such a small-value item was due to the fact that this wasn’t the man’s first offense.

The story is currently making headlines in Japan, with net users around the country commenting on the severity of the punishment and recent cases of crimes committed by the elderly.

“He could’ve bought 6,000 rolls of toilet paper for that amount of money!”

“I’m surprised that we live in a world where people think it’s okay to steal toilet paper from a public toilet.”

“In Fukuoka a 53-year-old man was arrested for entering a home and taking a 50-yen box of tissues.”

“Poverty among the elderly is a problem that’s getting worse every day.”

“There are many cases recently of elderly people stealing, and experts say it’s due to current economic uncertainties.”

While it’s unclear whether the man’s financial state was the reason behind the theft, it’s safe to say that no matter what your age, Japanese authorities won’t act lightly when it comes to taking things that aren’t yours, even if it’s 30 yen from a shrine offertory box or a single grape from a fruit stall.

Source: Livedoor News 

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Nagoya City Council debates: Is toilet paper really needed in public restrooms?

-- Toilet paper featuring Miffy the bunny promises to be far cuter before you use it than after

-- Crafts for grown-ups! Make your own portable smartphone speakers with toilet paper tubes

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Absurdity a la Japonaise! But he's lucky. In days of yore a poor man would have been crucified for this. BTW, a number of years back a prominent and powerful J-pol was fined a similar amount for tax evasion involving many millions of yen as well as possessing millions in bearer bonds and gold bars squirreled away in his house. The two-tier justice system still rules!

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I am actually surprised it doesn't happen more often since the new toilet paper in public restrooms are kind of out in the open. Where I come from, a lot of public places have toilet paper is locked in with only the janitor having the keys. Petty theft is quite common here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )


-8 ( +1 / -9 )

The poor chap is most likely mentally unsound being a repeat offender

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It is unkind. Theft by the elderly of such items of (comparatlively) little value - although of course it adds up for the establishment buying them, if it happens regularly for years on end - points to stress, anxiety, fear, and mental disturbance. Having him arrested is just mean. and bullying. They have decided to humiliate him, not help him. I expect more from the authorities and those working in/for public health.

I had a nose bleed yesterday while working at a community center, and the tissues I had were sodden very quickly, so I took a roll from the lavs for the duration of my work so that I wouldn't drip all over their floor and table.

Reader, I took that toilet roll away with me, because my nose was still bleeding and I could get no tissues until I got to the station.

It's a fair cop. I'll come quietly guv'nor. holds out wrists

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Seriously??? A roll of toilet paper? A fine of 200,000JPY?? Why did the staff even report this? I'm sure he had his reasons. Just can't believe that Japanese can not show any compassion and sympathy for an old man that may be in need. It's just a roll of toilet paper!!!!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Now I know the reason many hospitals don’t have soap in the bathroom.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

“I’m surprised that we live in a world where people think it’s okay to steal toilet paper from a public toilet.”

I’m surprised that we live in a world where authorities can give such ridiculous penalties for petty crimes and make them national news.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

SoraNews24 conveniently wrote only half the story. The article mentions this was not the first time he stole toilet paper but didn't say how many times or if he previously got any warnings from the hospital staff.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sentencing is all over the place in Japan, seems to comedown on what position you hold and who you know, very tin pot way for a justice system to work.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Whats most likely to happen next year when the 10% GST increases way more crimes..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese always make an example for the people. Japan is slowly sinking into the comedy country of the world. Where Kawaii and Baka are now what foreigners have come to expect. Kind of fun to stick your finger in a peach and watch the shopkeeper go ballistic, then pay for it.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

How did he even get caught? What, he just walked out of the bathroom holding up the roll of toilet paper for all to see? And seriously, fined 200,000 yen? Good grief.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

My main question is how did they catch him? Did he just brazenly stroll out of the toilet with the roll in his hand for all to see? Or did they go to unusually extreme lengths to monitor thei toilet paper supply to the extent that their security staff can assess in real time when someone has taken an entire roll?

I ask because under normal circumstances this would probably be the easiest crime in the world to get away with.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I understand that theft is theft. However, it’s most likely he stole the toilet because he couldn’t afford to buy it himself. Giving him a ¥200,000 fine is only going to put more financial pressure on him and he is likely to steal more goods as a result. Japan does not have a system of public service for petty crimes. I think these sort of petty crimes are perfect for public service. He should be cutting grass at the local temple instead of wondering where the heck he’s gonna find (or steal) ¥200,000.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My guess, and don't shoot the messenger, is that patients were constantly complaining about the lack of paper in there. The busy staff who had to keep running for refills at awkward times, came to suspect a particular (out-) patient, but in Japan you need to be caught in the act for a conviction to stick. Thus they involved the police and waited for him to help himself once more. True that it was only one roll, but as in the case of the grape and other arrests reported here, it is the one crucial camel's back plus straw act where the trap closes.

Actually I wish that people took stealing more seriously back in my country. "Finders keepers, losers weepers" is a common saying, but it sort of justifies thievery. Japan is or used to be much safer from this aspect, where no means no. To take something that is not yours is simply unthinkable to most upright citizens.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Oh and before involving the police they probably confronted him on many occasions but he denied taking anything and shouted stuff like, "Don't touch me!"

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is so sad.

What a parody of justice.

This is really an over-reach on the part of the hospital, cops and court.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Some poor old men are fined 200,000 yen for taking a roll of toilet paper valued at 30 yen, and some rich young thieves are fined 30 yen for stealing something valued at 200,000 yen...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This seems to be a sad story. I think I saw a story on NHK about the elderly that are lonely. No family, etc. They stole so that they could be sent to jail for a period of time just to be around people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hope they didn't catch him with his pants down

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For sure, all crimes must be punished, zero tolerance for wrong doings. But, punishment must be proportional, judgment must be fair. If the penalty is too heavy justice is not made, it becames an injustice, revenge, will create anger, resentment against the system.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Just curious..single-ply or double..?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

-- Anatole France

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If he were a CEO stealing million from shareholders it would be a suspended sentence. Japan is tough on the little guy but easy on the fat cats.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Basic soap, tooth paste and toilet paper should be free of charge!

For the well-being of everyone and all others that can afford.

I am ready for crow-founding.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Perhaps he could appeal on the grounds that kleptomania is a disability.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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