crime

Man arrested in Kyoto after failing to return rental car over a year past deadline

27 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Kyoto Prefectural Police have arrested 44-year-old Masafumi Hagiwara for embezzlement. The charge? He’d kept a rental car for over a year past the return deadline.

Police say Hagiwara, who was arrested on Sept 5, hired the car from a rental company in Fushimi Ward on June 25 last year. On July 2, when the car was due to be returned, Hagiwara called the company to extend the rental, saying “I’m in Tokyo so I’d like to request an extension”.

However, Hagiwara still failed to return the car, keeping it and using it as if it were his own vehicle until the cops caught up with him on 4 August this year.

It’s estimated that by the time Hagiwara was found by police, the late fee on the vehicle would be somewhere in the range of 7.66 million yen — more than the cost of a brand new vehicle.

People online were quick to react to the story with comments like:

“What was he thinking? He signed a contract so there was no way he wouldn’t get caught.”

“What’s most surprising is the fact that nobody tracked him down for over a year.”

“He could’ve bought two new cars, or five lightweight kei vehicles instead!”

“So this is embezzlement and not stealing?”

“It’s like he caused the company lost profits.”

“A friend of mine works at a rental car company and they say this happens sometimes – some people even hire cars to commit crimes.” 

While commenters tried to make sense of the man’s actions and pondered over his motives, others mentioned how inconvenient it can be when you have to return vehicles to the same branch.

Source: Livedoor News via Hachima Kikou

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© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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I've never rented a car in my life and I'm still under the impression that unlike books borrowed from the library, people will actually come to your home or in the least call you to return the car once you've reached the end of your rental period.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

No Problem, that's what rental insurance is for. so what's the big deal here?

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Car rental in Japan is terrible - its outrageously expensive, and not convenient at all as you normally have to return the car to the exact same branch, meaning one way trips are not possible. I recall wanting to rent a car in Tokyo, and drop off in to an Osaka branch. The company wanted an additional 30k because I was not returning the car to the same branch in Tokyo.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

No Problem, that's what rental insurance is for. so what's the big deal here?

They can only collect insurance if there is physical evidence of the car being disabled or destroyed, like a murder, nearly impossible to get a conviction without a dead body!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Car rental in Japan is terrible - its outrageously expensive, and not convenient at all as you normally have to return the car to the exact same branch, meaning one way trips are not possible. I recall wanting to rent a car in Tokyo, and drop off in to an Osaka branch. The company wanted an additional 30k because I was not returning the car to the same branch in Tokyo.

Err, Japanese car rental companies do not charge extra for renting at the airport, they do not charge extra for additional drivers, and unlimited mileage is genuinely unlimited. These charges are extremely common in other countries.

For a one-way rental, how much do you think it costs to return a car from Osaka to Tokyo? It will take a member of staff a whole day, cost fuel, tolls, and probably a bus fare, and put an 250+km on the clock. The big companies like Toyota and Nissan generally rent out fairly new cars, so it does matter.

My last car cost me 800,000 yen and I drove it for 80,000 km over six years. When I worked it out, it cost me around 40 yen per km driven. That was for a very cheap 10 year old van. People who buy new cars end up paying 80, 100 or even more. They would be better off sharing or renting a car.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Why did it take the rental agency nearly a year to figure out he hadn't returned the car? Why did the police 'catch up' to him so long after the car was supposed to be returned?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Incompetence for all parties involved....

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Car rental in Japan is terrible - its outrageously expensive

I don't know what country you are comparing it to, but compared to North America and Europe, car rentals in Japan are both cheap and straightforward, with few tricks or hidden fees. And as far as I know, most rental companies around the world have a hefty surcharge for dropping off far from the pick-up location.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

“A friend of mine works at a rental car company and they say this happens sometimes – some people even hire cars to commit crimes.”

Most plausible explanation assuming the perp has some rational faculty intact.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For a one-way rental, how much do you think it costs to return a car from Osaka to Tokyo?

I don't know, and I don't care what it costs them, thats their issue - don't advertise yourself as being convenient with branches all over the country if the customer has to return the car to the exact same branch. That is not convenient. Not every car rental requirement is for a return trip, or return trip by car.

If you were able to return the car to different branches, then perhaps the cars would be returned by the another customer going back to where you came from. This is extremely common in many other countries.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

nonu6976Today  07:43 am JST

Car rental in Japan is terrible - its outrageously expensive, and not convenient at all as you normally have to return the car to the exact same branch, meaning one way trips are not possible. I recall wanting to rent a car in Tokyo, and drop off in to an Osaka branch. The company wanted an additional 30k because I was not returning the car to the same branch in Tokyo.

That is a tough one. I guess it depends on the rental company. I've rented cars and trucks in Okinawa, Tokyo, Kanagawa, and several other places over the past few decades and it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. The prices were better than I expected and never had a hassle.Guess the guy in the story got lazy but you would think he should have known what the outcome would be: At least a year's salary and/or time in the slammer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He signed a contract so there was no way he wouldn’t get caught.

Really? That is what was supposed to stop him? A signed contract?

What’s most surprising is the fact that nobody tracked him down for over a year

Yes it is. Normally rental cars are equipped with a tracking device.

Car rental in Japan is terrible - its outrageously expensive

This is not a competition.

compared to North America and Europe, car rentals in Japan are both cheap and straightforward

I've never met a non straightforward process in any country. They check your information, you check the car, sign, and drive off.

As for price. I can rent a Yukon Denali from Hertz or Avis ¥5,800 per day. I can't rent a comparable car in Japan for anywhere near that price. Lower level cars such as Harrier are still more expensive.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I have never rented a car in Japan, but often do when I travel back to Australia.

I only use well known companies after getting burnt once by a sloppy dealer.

My last rental in Aust was a mini-passenger van ( 8 people) and drove 1000+ kms from city to city.

Of course there was no additional fee. No one had to fly a 1000kms, pick it up and drive it back to it's place of origin. That's nonsense.

The vehicle would have been legally rented by users in the 2nd city and one day it would have been rented by someone wanting to drive to the first city.

I thought this was normal.

And of course if you use little local rental companies then different conditions will apply.

I can't believe this is not the case in Japan.

Any others have such an experience?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The directions of the traffic jams on holiday periods, and sometimes just weekends, suggest Japan is full of people moving the same way at the same time. You need lots of people constantly coming and going for free one-way rentals to work.

If there is a rip-off in Japan, it is all the taxes related to car ownership, something which also affects car sharing and rental firms. A car sitting in a parking space hurts no-one. They should tax fuel (=pollution) instead.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pay the cost, free to go. Money works in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My last car cost me 800,000 yen and I drove it for 80,000 km over six years. When I worked it out, it cost me around 40 yen per km driven.

Interesting calculation. Mine's definitely a lot higher.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Assuming he used a credit card then why didn’t the company charge him on that?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Very amusing. At some point I guess he just figured possession is ownership.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I rented a car so I could attend a Phil Collins concert because my own was in a shop. It was a hunk of junk. You had to physically lock all four doors and the gas valve cover was caved in so I couldn't even fill up the tank. And it was filthy inside with junk on the floor. There was a radio but no CD or tape player and the radio dial played the same old songs and the DJs sucked.

This was the only car I rented and I was glad to get this pile of crap on wheels offa my hands!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why didn't they just go to the address on the form he filled out to rent the car, surveil the scene to make sure he's actually there, find the car and take it from him? Or take it to the police 2 days after he didn't return the car and report it as a stolen car? Either of these 2 ideas would've surely produced results SHARPISH!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's not embezzlement unless you own or work for the company from which the theft occurs; likewise, embezzlement refers to funds - you don't embezzle physical goods. It's theft, or breach of contract.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Charge his credit card, the end. What's the big deal?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thats going to be some 延長料金 enchou riyoukin bill.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't know what country you are comparing it to, but compared to North America and Europe, car rentals in Japan are both cheap and straightforward, with few tricks or hidden fees.

Cheap, lets look at Toyota rental

Rental for 10hrs

Vitz, Yaris 6,600yen

Rav4 13,200yen

Voxy, Naoh 16,500

Alphard, vellfire,estima 16.500

Harrier 23,000yen

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Niconico's rates are about half of those Toyota rates for all classes you mentioned, with their lowest rate 2,420yen for 12 hours. That cheap enough yet?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

^^^ Really?, this is the best that I can see;

"K Class - Mini

Duration Varies · 4870JPY / Day"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@expatSep. 11 01:47 pm JST

It's not embezzlement unless you own or work for the company from which the theft occurs; likewise, embezzlement refers to funds - you don't embezzle physical goods. It's theft, or breach of contract.

It's not Theft. Theft refers to a situation where Possession of an item is illegally transferred with intent of appropriation. In embezzlement, the possession of the item (car, in this case) is already in the criminal's hands.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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