crime

Homeless man arrested for theft after mistaking phone straps for food

11 Comments
By Rachel Tackett

Japan has an unspoken problem with homelessness in its cities. It’s not uncommon to see tent cities along the edges of recreational parks or to see leather-skinned men sleeping on newspapers around the train stations. These people are largely ignored by the public and will keep to themselves unless provoked by some means. The vast majority do not even beg.

Unfortunately, the problem of poverty is not the only issue that these people face. Mental illness is not uncommon among the homeless, and the combination of hungry people and unstable mental states can lead to some especially unfortunate circumstances.

On Dec 16 in Yamagata Prefecture, a 63-year-old man was arrested for stealing three cell phone straps and a tube of sweet bean paste from a souvenir shop in JR Yamagata Station. The man’s name is Toshio Takase, and he is both homeless and jobless.

According to the police report, the man had very little money in his possession at the time of his arrest and had not had anything to eat in a number of days. He apparently believed that the phone straps, plushies in the shape of edamame, were actually food. Store clerks took note of the theft immediately and contacted the authorities.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun

Read more stories from RocketNews24 -- Homeless man puts himself up for auction online -- Man photographed robbing ramen shop at knife point -- 65-year-old arrested for theft: “I never worked”

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11 Comments
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poor guy...let him go and get him some help...

11 ( +11 / -0 )

It's wrong to steal, but this is really sad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree with Hayashi.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh, this just makes me sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Geez, sad indeed. I feel sorry for the homeless people, and I wonder how they're doing in the cold weather. Maybe it is true, the more you steal the lighter the sentence.

SIGH * Merry Christmas everyone!
1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't think I would like to me walking around Yamagata in winter with nothing to eat for days. Terrible

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@sense not so common, why do you ask for research? Is it to back up statement with mere data? Surely, there's some sense that's not common.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan has an unspoken problem with homelessness in its cities.

unfortunate circumstances.

the problem of poverty is not the only issue that these people face.

These are not unfortunate "circumstances", they are conditions directly created by neoliberal policies and the problem is not with homelessness, it is with a political/economic system that enriches the few at the expense of the many and which offshores jobs to the most exploitative labour and environmental conditions. Also, poverty is a social problem that Japan faces, not just these people. The fact that in this rich nation a very hungry man is forced to risk arrest for a can of sweet bean paste speaks to the degraded fabric of this country, which used to be much fairer, and should worry all members of society. Now roughly 30% are working poor and educational debt is growing issue, yet the super-rich continue to buy luxury goods in huge quantities. We are how we treat each other and the planet, and nothing more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree give him aid vs prison and mental probs are one reason for them ending up in the gutter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Need more shelters.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why arrest the poor man? Feed him, for Chrissakes.

the combination of hungry people and unstable mental states can lead to some especially unfortunate circumstances

this is backed by academic research?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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