crime

Evacuee finds shop robbed during brief return home

44 Comments

A liquor store owner in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, who had to evacuate after the nuclear crisis, returned home briefly Sunday to find his shop looted.

"All my goods, all the money from the register, all the money from the vending machines, my safe...they've all been stolen. I didn't think we had many criminals living in this area. It's infuriating," he said.

The man was one of 322 residents of towns such as Okuma and Namie, which are within five kilometers of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The group were allowed to return to their homes and businesses on Saturday and Sunday for the first time since the evacuation.

© Compiled from news reports

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44 Comments
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all the stories in the foreign press about how wonderful the japanese are behaving during this crisis. human beings are human beings and SOME just love to profit from someone else`s disaster. just look for someone drunk and glowing in the dark.

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Did he have any insurance?

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Ant I thought Japanese people dont loot. I told so many of my friends here in Japan that there were a lot of Japanese people looting and they all told me that Japanese people dont do that. Well, this goes to show you that I was correct and they were wrong. Like always, my judgments are usually correct. As for these people that had their store broken into, I really feel bad for them and I sure hope that there will be a lot of improvements in their lives with a lot of good blessings coming to them in every way possible.

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It was a liquor store - under such a situation, making off with the inventory is understandable. Making off with the cash, not so.

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"making off" with anything is stealing/looting - something that we are told doesn`t happen here is japan. ha

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sillygirl>>> I agree with you 1 million percent. We are told that the Japanese people here in Japan are very honest and things like this will never happen. Well, this goes to show everyone that what we are told here in japan is just a bunch of lies and now all of these lies are being unfolded for everyone to see. Hhahahahhaahhha

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They never ever said never, but the amount of theft is super low compared to the US. .. and Haiti etc.

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i did say SOME, but we are told by the things they tell the foreign press -never.

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Yeah..I know a few businesses in Ibaraki were broken into and had cash and stuff stolen within couple of days after the earthquake ( including a friend`s izakaya ) but apparently local media were " advised " not to report it at the time...typical TIJ..

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Human nature. Japanese are no different.

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I am sure there will be more articles of this kind. It took nearly a month for them to officially declare it a no-go zone and seal the area. I am sure there were plenty of undesirables getting in and out of the evacuated area during that time.

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Of course Japanese don't loot: the crime was doubtless committed by foreigners.

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In past earthquakes/disasters, gangs of looters have come in from outside the area.

That they weren't local is likely.

That the Police didn't stop them is annoying.

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Not to be a stickler for terminology but it was not "robbed" if there was no one there during the theft. It was "burglarized." A robbery is only committed if bodily injury (or the threat of it) is used in the course of the theft... Which obviously did not happen if no one was in the store at the time of the crime.

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Alladin and others, a few gang members/young teens/criminals that went around those areas on a shopping spree do not represent the 100 + million j people . U are wrong alladin this time. As for the few rich and in power, yes, some do lie, scam and whatever to b on top and to stay on top.

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My heart goes out to the shopowner for the financial damage he suffered, but if I had been among those who lost their home, I'd been one of the first to carry out a few bottles myself. It's nothing personal, and concidering the circumstances, that the alcohol might even have saved a few lives.

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Agree with lovejapan21. If there was a looting crisis going on in disaster-stricken areas, then the headlines (around the world) would read so. Instead, we have a few stories of a few cases of looting which hardly makes it a story... not to say it isn't an obvious problem.

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"Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down..."

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Totally agree with lovejapan21 and Tahoochi. Some people just can't appreciate a good thing when they're in it.

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alladin at 09:07 AM JST - 6th June

I told so many of my friends here in Japan that there were a lot of Japanese people looting and they all told me that Japanese people dont do that. Well, this goes to show you that I was correct and they were wrong. Like always, my judgments are usually correct.

alladin at 09:59 AM JST - 6th June

We are told that the Japanese people here in Japan are very honest and things like this will never happen. Well, this goes to show everyone that what we are told here in japan is just a bunch of lies and now all of these lies are being unfolded for everyone to see. Hhahahahhaahhha

alladin: You know, you're absolutely right. And all this time, I thought that all Japanese people were perfect angels... not one of them could do any wrong! What a break-through discovery you've made here! You'd better tell everyone you know about this!

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No-one ever said looting didn't happen here.

It did as was reported widely via many news sources, but the looting was still below the levels that were seen overseas. And most people respected that.

Personally if someone takes food/drink in order to survive I don't fully see it as looting, but when you walk out of a store carrying wads of cash from the safe and/or a 60inch Flat-screen TV/DVD-player/etc now that is looting.

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Zenny11: "No-one ever said looting didn't happen here."

Actually, a LOT of people did. I heard no less than ten times last week about how 'stoic' the Japanese are in the face of disaster and how NO (and the people literally said 'no') crime has occurred in the affected areas, and how proud they are of their reputation in the foreign media, etc. etc.

"It did as was reported widely via many news sources, but the looting was still below the levels that were seen overseas."

Where are the stats? This man returned home to find his shop looted. How about the shops that people haven't returned to? Fact is there's no way to verify, so you cannot say for a fact either way.

Anyway, it's sad this man returned home to find he's been burgled, as it is sad that people have been stealing donation boxes, people stabbing volunteer nurses, etc. Disaster can bring out the best in some, and the worst in others. T'would be nice if the foreign media (and selective hearing of those here) reports were true, but sadly, they are not.

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SmithinJapan.

It was even reported on JT(right here) and other news sites like Japan Times and NHK, etc.

Fully agree sad that it happened but understandable given the uncertainty, etc.

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I saw police patrolling deserted areas. I was told that this is to avert thefts etc. It was in Ibaraki.

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Zenny11: "Fully agree sad that it happened but understandable given the uncertainty, etc."

Well, 'understandable', yes and no. Not sure that robbing a liquor shop is necessary, but given how bad the people are in need of money, sure. Still unforgivable, of course.

loveinjapan21: "Alladin and others, a few gang members/young teens/criminals that went around those areas on a shopping spree do not represent the 100 + million j people "

Very true. But then, some people not panicking because they have nowhere to go doesn't mean all Japanese are stoic, either. I'm tired of hearing how foreigners 'ran away' (hasn't the term 'flyjin' come into play lately?) but how patient and great the Japanese are (I know PLENTY of Japanese who left the affected areas for safer places if they had somewhere to go... and why wouldn't they?), how there's no crime, and what not. People who say, "If there was looting or crime we'd hear about it", I ask 'how?'. This guy certainly didn't know until he went into an area where NO ONE IS SUPPOSED TO BE. How do we know it's not a LOT more widespread since no one can go into their homes/shops to check?

Anyway, it's amusing that when the international media talks about how great the Japanese are for how they've reacted to the disasters, or that the Japanese are victims, etc., the people here eat it up, but if the same media criticizes the government or TEPCO or what have you for the nuclear issue or handling of things after the disaster people suddenly tune out or say the media is exaggerating things.

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combinibento posted: Not to be a stickler for terminology but it was not "robbed" if there was no one there during the theft. It was "burglarized."

No need to apologize. In fact, that God for you! You are correct in every sense. Trying to call this looting is a stretch, because looting carries the connotations of spur of the moment and speady grabbing of money and goods no more than a broken pane of glass away by unruly mobs. Looters don't quietly crack safes in the middle of the night. This guy was methodically burglarized quite likely by a professional thief.

If Japanese people loot, I have not seen it happen recently. This case hardly brings flashbacks of people getting shot at the gas station like after Katrina.

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Yes, japan have criminals too but 5Km radius? I think those looters will think twice. Hehehehe!

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might be Japanese or maybe foreigners...we don't know. What we know is that there are many unemployed people who were sent to the area thru agencies to clean up the area and given their circumstances....

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Of course there's looting going on! But you won't see it reported in any great detail - can't have the world knowing the truth about many Japanese minds!

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Might explain a lot of what Klein writes though!

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well its True that Japanese crime has been alot more exposed with such outlets as internet, & Sites like Japantoday, Nothing to laugh at though! when its hard times & or NO police or anyone around people will & do take advantage of these situations.

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Yakuza at their best

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Technically act of burglary can involve "breaking in" through an unlocked door - but if the building is unsealed due to a natural disaster or tragedy and stolen from, looting just sounds more natural.

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If there was a looting crisis going on in disaster-stricken areas, then the headlines (around the world) would read so. Instead, we have a few stories of a few cases of looting which hardly makes it a story... not to say it isn't an obvious problem.

What number makes it a crisis? Many in the foreign press it seems take their leads from the Japanese press too and guess what....it all doesn't hit the news.

If one incident gets reported it's rather easy to imagine that at least 10 times that number were not, and maybe 20 times that were not even reported to the police either.

Can't trust the foreign press either, Fukushima ring a bell?

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i can understand about the cash & safe box.. but he still upset about foods/ drinks stolen from inside 5km radius of the reactors? what a man..

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I get that one robbed shop does not a crisis make, but on the wier issue of honesty I am also sick of hearing about how honest the Japanese are when in my experience I have many times been on the receiving end of outright dishonesty.

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I get that one robbed shop does not a crisis make, but on the wier issue of honesty I am also sick of hearing about how honest the Japanese are when in my experience I have many times been on the receiving end of outright dishonesty.

It's because there are too many Otaku (foreign) and anime/manga geeks that want to believe that their image of Japan and Japanese people is perfect, they are Nathan Algren wannabe's who fall in love with a myth and need to have the scales blasted from their eye's a few times before they grow up.

Unfortunately many will still proclaim that cases like these are just a blip on the radar and nothing will ever happen to them.

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Ummmm, let's see, no one allowed to enter the area. Police out on patrol. Ummmm. Ahhhhh. Could it be... the coppers? No, not in Japan. Never. Then again, with no cyclists make for idle hands.

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Yubaru at 05:49 AM JST - 7th June

What number makes it a crisis? Many in the foreign press it seems take their leads from the Japanese press too and guess what....it all doesn't hit the news.

I'll be honest, I don't know what number makes it a crisis... but consider these points:

1) Where are the massive crowds of uncontrollable people, where are the riot police, national guard, etc. to try to subdue this massive number of people who are out of control? Where are these people who are desperate enough that they steal whatever they want from wherever they want, in broad daylight, and even in front of tv and news cameras. (I know that in this particular case, the "looting" occurred in an evacuated area, so we don't know what the circumstances were, but my point is that we just don't see or hear anything close to that scale of mayhem)

2) Where are the injuries from all the looting? Is the media hiding that as well?

3) There are several more stories that appear to be bigger than "looting" such as nuclear reactors, the recovery of the disaster-stricken areas, and many others. (this one's kind of subjective I guess, because yes, it is possible as some have mentioned that the media is holding back on burglary reports... but I still believe that if "looting" were that bad, then it would be an issue that not even the media could hide)

I was in Miyagi 2 weeks after the tsunami. I saw a man walking from car to car (all cars were completely trashed) with a couple of gas cans, and I also saw a guy walking away from a trashed car with a golf bag on his shoulder. The latter, could have been legitimately recovering his own golf bag, but the guy with gas cans was definitely "looting" (is that defined as looting?). But no one else "joined in" on the looting, nor did anyone try to stop him (this was still only 2 weeks after the tsunami and the guy looked homeless due to his appearance). Other than that, there were barely any people in the streets, stores were closed (not "looted") some of the people were either still assessing the damage, or trying to do some cleaning, but that was about it.

From what I saw with my own 2 eyes, there is no looting crisis.

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OMG! Some Japanese also steal? What a surprise! Maybe it was the guys working part time for Tepco?? They were they only ones allowed into this 5 km radius right?

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The worst thing about all of this is that the people that are looting are actually from the same area that the earthquake and the tsunami took place. I would not be surprised that the looters are the people that the shop owners actually know. It is so sad that these kinds of things are happening while there are so many people suffering.

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re not picked up in foreign news.

Well it is almost not at all reported in j news, and foreign reporters will have a harder time getting in to the evacuated areas to check for themselves.

I am in Kansai. I have heard of wide-spread looting after the Kobe one. Jpns do not like to report it for natnl image and pride and also to not encounrage it. (THere were property lines re-drawn, esp in buraku and Korean neighborhoods, taking away ppl's land/ some of, apparently. How's that for looting).

Yes could be Yaks, could be other locals, could be cops (but somehow less likely). It is not an urban area, and no-one lives in it, it's evacuated, so no injuries and fights. It may not be a wave of destruction, but even if it's only one guy-- would you burgle one house, and leave all the other sitting ducks alone? I imagine it is widespread. It is only reported in places like J today and the tabloids, but it is reported. They had politicians facing the Fukushima evacuees on tv other day, one of the things the pols got shouted at about was theft in their hometown. The guy said st like "you say there's no theft, but my house has been broken into. What will you do about it??" and had tears in his eyes.

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two days ago when i went to sinjuku tokyu hands there even was an announcement that one should watch out as there seem to have been some cases of pickpocketing lately... but that's not really news, there have always been people like that everywhere. in a book about japan, maybe 10 years ago, i read about the author who's wallet was stolen in gym when he was a university student, so it even hjas been published outside of japan that criminal people do exist here, well, besides the yakuza and stuff.

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Ameyoko, Akiba, etc has been well known for pick-pockets for decades.

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