Housewife brews up plan to escape from robber: tea and conversation


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2008/9 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I shall wait for other readers comments as i am unable to decide if it is a fiction or non-fiction story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Police said the woman told investigators that she couldn’t believe how she could act so calmly and bravely.

It's truly amazing what people can be capable of when their children's well-being is at stake.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not sure what I can say about this, either she was lucky as they say and this guy was hard up for some yenny's. the little girl and the tea had nothing to do with it, just give it up most of the time they leave right after, the tea thing would have pissed me off if i was the guy. again he was in his 60's, so fragile already only strong with the knife. What is it with knives here?!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How often does this happen in Japan? We're only hearing about this mugging because of the unusal angle of the story.

Friends in Britain say such housing estate muggings underscore their country's descent into hell. But I suspect they occur in Japan frequently as well, but are not reported by the police, as in the UK. I know that rapes regularly go unreported to the media "to protect the individual's privacy." The police admit as much.

All the ground floor units in my building have metal bars over the windows and the neighborhood detached houses have SECOM security systems and are set behind concrete walls, some topped by barb wire. Is this what to expect in a "safety country"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is definitely an "only in Japan" story, isn't it? For one thing, I can't imagine any elderly burglar in the West being willing to sit down for tea (or coffee, or otherwise) during a robbery. And of course, it's quite common in Japan to keep huge amounts of money at home. I certainly wouldn't have had enough money in my wallet or in my home to pay the guy off like the woman did in this story. Makes you wonder if the story is supposed to be an anecdote, or something that the government wants us to take example from? "Be more Japanese" perhaps?

Theguynextdoor, My guess is that knives have become popular because the public doesn't have easy access to guns.

JeffLee, where do you live in Japan? I have only rarely seen security systems beyond key and bolt locks on doors. In my neighborhood in Tokyo, our neighbor across the street leaves the front door (directly facing the street) open for hours on end in the afternoons. Not that I recommend this, of course...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She did the 100% right thing. Kudos to her. This is something I teach in Self-defense classes and also to my MA students.

"Create an environment where there is no confrontation". Don't try to be a hero and tough person.

And, yes, there is always a risk, no matter what you do.

Myself have used a similar technique many times to get out of a bar-fight. I offer the guy a pint and say lets talk it over, most of the guys will calm down, sit down and have a chat.

You just have to remain calm and be non-aggressive. And listen to the guy than act when the time is right.

I posted links here before to 2 sites that cover those topics. Will repost one(don't have the other on-hand).

LOT to read on that site but a good starting point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What is it with knives here?!

Knives are used so often because those who use them this way can't get their hands on a gun. Can you imagine if they did have guns here like they do in the US or S.Africa? I hope it never happens.

The tea thing seemed to have worked. Good for her and her child. I don't think I could have stayed so calm. I probably would've ended up giving the guy a beer, only to intensify the situation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tea or Beer either will work.

I have lived in S.Africa, some houses even had bars and security gates inside the house.

Futile as it may prevent an attacker from getting to you, yet at the same time they also block YOUR escape route.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zen Builder, Very good point. I've seen the offer of a free beer stop many a bar brawl myself.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why do so many posters here find this hard to believe? He was a 60 year old robber who wanted some money, that's all - not murder anybody. Once she left some on the table, he left. She basically got mugged over a cup of tea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if she had given him the 10,000 yen right away, would he have left? Probably. Would have saved her the tea and the other 30,000 yen. However, we'll never know and it's good neither she nor her child were injured. Congratulations on her quick thinking and calmness.

And yes, imagine the murder rate in this safety island if guns were as accessible as they are in another unnamed country. It would be astronomical, is my guess.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


No one can tell. But loosing 40.000(If that is what happened article is unclear), IMO, is a small loss compared to loosing/endangering a family member.

Ok, personal feelings. I HATE(with total passion) people that will sue/attach a value to a family member. If you settle for x-amount for the loss of a family member you attached a price tag to them, IMHO.

Personally, if a member of my family got killed/injured I CANNOT see myself suing the person as attaching a price will cheapen my family and myself. Covering medical expenses, etc I can accept.

For me there is NO amount in the world that can compensate me for the loss of my wife or son.

Just my view.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As much as I am all for de-escalation of any trouble. Here the guy knows where she lives and that she is alone during the day / have a baby daughter. De-escalation for me means a way to avoid or break the fight/confrontation and escape. When foes are in the home, and you have access to boiling water. Limited use of deadly force might be a better long term option. Staying calm was good. But now she can also stay scared.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Met many guys like you across the last few decades. Let me tell once the punches start flying you are way too late to de-escalate anything. Your training failed you already.

Agreed, that she had other options but are those LEGAL?

Yeah, what I am saying and many others your responses might end up with you in jail and the attacker going free. Read the link I posted. She did the right thing and got out of there at the right time.

Again agreed that she acted late but still she did the right thing.

She did the right thing, yes, it was risky and yes she had other options. If you are in such a situation it ALWAYS is a gamble, no matter what course of action you decide on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One of the few stories recently with a happy ending. Great to read that somebody used their brains to avoid a sticky situation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese news said when the woman entered the building, the man followed her and asked for takes few seconds before the door shut so the guy used that time window to evade security. Now older people in Japan when they steal they are usually only after the money...younger generation uses deadly force (of course some foreigners too). The generations born after Showa period are usually the problem kids who became the problem parents and now having problem kids (32 years and below). The guy want money so the girl gave her money. Is life worth 40,000Y for some people to insinuate that she fight the attacker and be a supermom? I am glad she used her brain. People who have nothing to lose are dangerous, and people who are desperate are more dangerous. The old guy maybe seems agitated and so she calmed him (is she a psychologist?) by giving a cup of tea. Nice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

keshii: This is definitely an "only in Japan" story, isn't it? For one thing, I can't imagine any elderly burglar in the West being willing to sit down for tea (or coffee, or otherwise) during a robbery.

Not exactly. There was a story last summer about a group of people enjoying a backyard barbeque last summer who gave a would-be robber a glass of wine, talked to him and ended up having him leave with a group hug - in Washington, D.C. And I have to wonder where you live in Tokyo because most all of my neighbors -in Tokyo- keep their doors and windows locked, many have bars on their windows and many pull down and lock up the hurricane shutters at night and when they are out. So perhaps "being more Japanese" is not the answer so much as simply being sensible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am with ambrosia.

This is not something confined to japan but will work everywhere. Many criminals don't do it for personal gain but more to feed their families, etc. In short they reached the end of the line and can see no other way than mugging/robbing someone.

They might be supporting a family or a habit, yet deep down they know they are doing wrong(and often feel disgust for their actions).

If you can get to those deep down feelings they can be reformed, etc. In short they are people that are at a dead-end and can't see beyond it. Can happen to me and you too.

Just my view.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

¥40,000 is a small price to pay for your personal safety (and that of your child!)

with all these wackos running around, it's nice to see that she and her baby ended up ok.

and hopefully they catch the dude with the knife. we all have financial problems, but not all of us rob people or kill family over it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I went over to my then-girlfriend's house a few years back and this old guy was sitting outside the front door. I said, "konnichi wa" then went inside. Found out he was asking for money and wouldn't go away - that is until I went back outside and he was nowhere to be seen. He was unarmed, but if he had been armed, would I have been within my rights to slug him?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks for the perspective check. Just yesterday, one of my friends in America had a burglary. I hadn't heard of the Washington, D.C. BBQ stories or anything like this one, before. That and some of the JT commenters' bar stories really changed my ideas on what would be appropriate courses of action in such a violent situation. So thanks for sharing.

Just by the way, I live out in the suburbs of Mitaka. Of course, inside or closer to the Yamanote loop line, I can see how security and lifestyles might be different.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


No, it would not have been, you would have been up for assault.

Here is the legal talk. If you get into a confrontation, if you call the guy names, etc YOU are taking the game to the next level. Don't matter who hits the 1st punch, a fight starts way before than. In legal terms it is a fight agreed upon by both parties NOT self-defense, etc. Hence why 97% of fights in pubs, etc are not declared as self-defense and the crims know it and play you for it.

If you walk past him and he jumps you than you got a self-defense claim. Back where I come from there is the 3-second rule, if you get hit and counter within 3 seconds it is considered an automatic reflex. Take longer and you are assaulting him.

Same way with if you can walk/run away from the situation it is over. Drop him and put a boot in it is an assault.

Basically if you can extract yourself it is OVER, anything after works against YOU.

This is where self-defense vs fighting comes in.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I am north of you. Musashino-shi I also use Mitaka station(bout 11 minutes walk).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zen builder... not sure you are reading me well (not my writings, me personality). I have never been involved in a fight. I always de-escalated EVERYTHING or managed to avoid reaching the point were de-escalation was needed.

But the guy was in her house, he got money and tea. Now nothing prevent him from going again. (you know, nothing... like... NOTHING...). The situation was already... escalated... she just got extremely lucky. And luck is not a skill to rely on.

Is it legal to use restrained force against someone pointing a weapon toward you in your home in Japan ?

I don't know...

In any sane country the law allow you to use an equally proportionate means to defend yourself against an attacker.

Then again... sanity and Japan kommt nicht zusammen... But i'd be curious to see what the japanese law says about it as I have always considered any assailant(*) breaching safety perimeter to be... fair game before their handling to police forces...

(*) assailant, read someone with clear and -wrong- intents toward person (like someone having a knife). Not an intruder or burglar/thief cought trying to run in or out (like someone having a lockpick).

Looking forward to read more from you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Laws vary between countries. IME, most countries consider both parties as equally involved in a fight.

Yes, I agree the guy was in her house and she de-escalated the situation to the best of her ability. Want to count on what would have happened if she fought the guy, most likely she and her child would be harmed. I can't neither can anyone else.

She did what she felt right and it worked out.

IMO & IME, thinking just because a guy got a knife he is out to hurt/kill you is dead-wrong.

This is NOT Texas where a guy can call 911, talk about people breaking into the house next door and get off for shooting them in the back because he felt threatened.

And don't try german on me, I got you beat on that one. ;)

What I am saying is what is a legal response varies widely from what the average guy/gal things he can do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

she did well. could easily have been killed along with the child. we see it all the time here

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Counter argument.

You walk down a dark alley, guy approaches you brandishing a knife(ignore his buddies in the shadows and behind you).

He wants your money are you justified to gun him down (provided you can)? Correct answer is NO. Just hand him your wallet and get he hell out when you can.

Forget the "Death Wish"/"Dirty harry"/Jet Li/etc movies real life don't work that way. The crims know the law better than you and got better lawyers on standby.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

good, calm work of this woman, but he deserved the boiling pot of water straight in the face...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ohhhhhhhhhhhh vry good

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! good to hear they got out safely. I just hope this bimbo doesn`t return and do more harm. He knows where she lives so depending on his frame of mind, he might have other ideas. Police should be patrolling the area just in case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He wants your money are you justified to gun him down (provided you can)? Correct answer is NO. Just hand him your wallet and get he hell out when you can.

Morally justified, maybe or maybe not. Legally justified. definitely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Legally justified WHERE?

Ever heard the rule of excessive force? If a guy "attacks" you with a knife or bare-hands and you shoot him that is excessive force in most countries as your response(gun) was beyond the thread-level. Same way with superior weapons.

Might be legal in the states(even than some rules will apply).

Remember dead people can't speak so it is only your word vs NOTHING.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zen builder apparently missed the recent case in Texas where a guy blew away 2 burglars robbing his neigbor's house with a shotgun. Grand Jury refuesed to indict him.

By the way, for those who say "it couldn't happen anywhere else" there was a similar story in the US a few years back that eneded with the burglar tearfully requesting a "group hug" from his captives before leaving without taking anything. No tea involved there, but rather a heartfealt conversation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I didn't miss the "Horn" case was heavily debated on the Self Defense forum I frequent and 90%(americans) agreed he should do time.

Everybody agreed his story was fishy and shooting 2 guys "IN THE BACK" with a shotgun don't sound like self defense, etc.

Yes, we know about the plain-clothes cop that sat in his car witnessing it all but doing NOTHING and heard the 911 recordings. Remember US news are NOT confined to the US only, the rest of the world read/hear them too.

We also know about the guy micro-waving his own baby in a hotel-room, etc.

So what is your point?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She certainly is modest isnt she :l

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, at the end of it all, the robber wins. He got what he wanted plus a free cup of tea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is not a success story in any way as the robber diappeared with money plus with nice tea and chat added to robbery.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even though the robber got away with the money, at least no one was hurt.

Zen builder apparently missed the recent case in Texas where a guy blew away 2 burglars robbing his neigbor's house with a shotgun.

I don't think someone should be able to use force to defend their neighbor's house, but i think one should be allowed to use force to defend your own home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My appologies, Zen Builder! I negelected to read the previous posts where you clearly mentioned the case. Sorry. I also, perhaps miss-interperated your post. I was simply trying to point out that there were place which have a very different standard, thats all.

But, now that I'm here...

I'd like to provide a counterpoint comment about "propotional force"; I would say that a person is unquestionably morally justified in shooting (and killing) an assailant armed with a knife. A knife will kill you just as dead as a gun will... a man can kill with nothing more than his bare hands and feet. If you do not move to defend yourself, your superior firepower means nothing. Its nice to believe that one could be able to approptiately select the amount of force necessary to prevent an attack, but in a real world situation not everyone is going to be able to determine and propperly apply the "correct" amount of force. (obviously, and effort should be made - a warning shot, a shot to the limbs - but every situation is different, and not even trained professionals will be able do so every time). If a man approaches you with a knife and demands money, how do you know that is all he wants? Most likely he is simply trying to rob you, and, no, I don't feel the money is worth taking a life, however you have no idea what could happen. That man could then decide to rape or murder you. I do not believe the state, or anyone else, has the right, morally or otherwise, to force you to take that chance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's no way a person can possibly give one answer to cover all situations where someone has a knife. A 20-year old doped up guy with a wild look in his eye and a knife in his hand would be different from a 60-year old depressed looking older man with the same knife. Maybe one guy's knife has blood on it, the other guy's doesn't. You can't tell me that all people with knives are the same threat in all situations so there's one perfect answer to handle it all the time.

If she got away, then good for her. She made the right choice. But there's a difference between policy and hindsight. Maybe the exact same choice with a man who is in a different mindset at the time leads to her and her child being killed. If that were the case we'd all probably be sitting here saying how stupid she was to let someone into her house. Why not just yell FIRE! instead? Etc...

And if someone pulls a knife on you I think you have every right to use lethal force since he has a lethal weapon in his hand. But again it has to do with the specific situation. If someone pulls a knife and demands your wallet you should give it to him. If someone pulls a knife and leads to you believe he's going to cut you or kill you then obviously you should respond with force. And if someone puts you in a position where they are attacking with lethal force, I'm not sure how the weapon you choose to counter with your own lethal force matters. Shoot him if you have a gun, stab him if you have a knife, etc. Once it's a fight for your life there's no way you could have your wits about you enough to choose to use more of less force.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

True the one error upon the woman was allowing the man into her suite. Still the amazing thing is though she lost some money she save the life of her child & herself, by slipping away. That is the outstanding bit in my mind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smythe, she did not let him in. The doors which are automated will be kept open for a certain time frame once you enter the code or swipe your card on the security slot. The old man took that chance to enter the building and so the story goes. Some people will act like they live in the building, make a phone call (fake one) and wait for some people to enter the door and take that chance to slip inside. Quite easy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree you can only judge the situation when you are in it and give an appropriate response.

What I was talking about is what you can do legally. Do many people think I get attacked and I can go medieval on their asses, etc and I am justified in doing so. Also remember dead people can't give statements pro or con.

In reality it don't work that way. That's why 97% of the so-called self-defense claims are thrown out in court upon closer examination of the facts. And many "Victims" are charged with assault, etc to their surprise.

This, is what the MAJORITY of Self Defense classes DON'T cover, oh they will hype you up and teach you ILLEGAL responses, etc. Never mind sell you a bunch of useless goods like "force-enhancers", etc.

That was my point.

Like I said she judged the situation and the persons intend and acted correctly.

Also agree with Mikihouse, too many people bask in the "security" of their homes and assume that anyone in the building must be entitled to be there and thus safe.

You would be surprised on how easy it is for someone to find out if the apartment is occupied, it can be done from the outside entrance door without knocking, touching it, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I read the title I was expecting that she gave him some steaming ocha the eyes.

Haha brave / smart lady. We need people like this is the Whitehouse

0 ( +0 / -0 )

this is the reason why private citizens should be allowed to own firearms in this country to defend themselves, their loved ones, and their home over people that would hurt them for a mere Y10,000. I know that this is the typicall american shoot-em up way of looking at things, but oh well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


What can a gun do that a tazer can't?

And, yes, I am aware of the international rule about owning a tazer. If you want one you need to get tazered first yourself.

Been there, done it and it was NOT fun. Heck we needed paramedics to remove the hooks on some guys.

Yet, a tazer will only work if both probes/needles hit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm not saying you have to come out guns blazing...

Here's a realistic situation:

1)A man approached with a knife, demands money. 2)I draw my gun, and tell the guy to stay back. 3) The guy runs away, OR the guy advances on me and I shoot him.

Do you find this senario unreasonable?

Zen Builder, "going medieval" on someone is a fairly ill-defined term, however, as every situation is different the amount of force "necessary" has to be detemined by the defender's perception of the threat, held to a "resonable person's" standard. Quite subjective, I know, but in such cases I think a lot of leeway must be given to the defender. In otherwords, if you decde to become the agressor in an assault situation, then the law should be biased against you, in order to protect the victim.

I realize this standard is not the accepted standard in countries such as the UK, but I think it should be. I find recent EU assertions that "self-defence" is not a "human right" to be downright frightening and have been horrified by many recent cases in England.

PS. I do not own, not have ever fired a firearm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm with SuperLib and Triumvere. Lethal force of knife versus lethal force of gun is morally justified and legal in many circumstances. Ovbiously, shooting a knife wielder in the back will usually get you convicted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Amazing what calm nerves, and a peaceful response can do in a situation such as this. The Bible, in Proverbs, even speaks of this. This woman wasn't stupid nor lucky, but very brave, and intelligent to boot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tea and Sympathy! She's fortunate that it didn't get past that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

... at least no one was hurt.

Not physically at least.

shooting a knife wielder in the back will usually get you convicted.

What if the knife wielder is still in your house looking for you? Do you have to wait until he faces you before you shoot? I'd prefer to shoot asap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is difference between shoot to kill and shoot to stop an attacker. NO?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"There is difference between shoot to kill and shoot to stop an attacker. NO?"

Perhaps. I haven't fired a gun, so I can't tell you how easy it is. My guess would be that a professional would be able to do so, but not in every circumstance. (take "disabling" someone with a shotgun, for instance)

As for your average citizen, (even one with a lot of range time) I don't know. Under pressure, your first goal is to hit the guy. Where you hit is a secondary concern.

I don't think there is any need to try to kill the attacker, but then I don't know that people are trying to kill (as opposed to stop) in the average defense situation. Selectively disabling someone is probably more difficult than it sounds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree you will need training.

Same way that you will need training to properly asses the situation and react correctly when the adrenalin/shock sets in. Once you panic your reactions and judgement has become impaired already.

With a shotgun you can load non-lethal rounds.

I have done quiet a bit of research into that and wouldn't trust your average guy to act correctly. Yes, they will all claim "Better to be judged by 12 than be carried by 6" yet don't know what that statement actually refers too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites