Photo: PAKUTASO
crime

Man forgets wallet with ¥2.8 million in it on Yamanote line; cleaner who found it nabbed

39 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Every time I’m getting off a train in Japan, before I step out onto the platform I pat my pockets and make sure I still have my keys, my phone, and my wallet. There are two reasons why I do this. First, leaving something on a train isn’t like leaving something in a restaurant. You can’t just go back and pick it up, because by the time you notice it’s missing, the train will be gone. But second, and just as important, is that in Japan cash is king, and so I’ve usually got enough money on me that it’d hurt to lose it.

Because of that, I always go through the pocket-patting routine, and I’m just a regular dude. So I can’t imagine how one passenger on the Japan Railway Yamanote line in Tokyo managed to forget his wallet, which had 2.8 million yen in cash in it when he hopped off the train at his destination.

The incident took place in early July, but fortunately for the owner, his wallet was found by a JR employee when the train came off the line and into a depot in the Kami Ikebukuro neighborhood to be cleaned. Unfortunately for the owner, though, rather than turning in the wallet, Hajime Ogura, the 64-year-old cleaning staff member who found it, decided to pocket the money for himself.

But while the wallet had amazingly avoided detection while the train was in service, JR security cameras caught Ogura in the act, and he’s since been arrested for theft of lost property. Ogura has admitted to the charges, saying he planned to use the money for living expenses and to pay off debt.

As for why the wallet’s owner, a man in his 30s, was carrying around so much cash, he says he needed it to pay part-time workers at his company, who were being given their compensation directly in cash. Considering that the largest denomination bill in Japan is 10,000 yen, that means he was lugging around at least 280 bills, so it’s pretty impressive that he was able to fit them all into his wallet, but maybe in the future a large-size envelope, lockbox, or something else that demands a bit more of his mental attention would be the wiser choice.

Source: FNN Prime via Niconico News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Drunken salaryman’s solution to barely missing the last train: Ride on the outside of it

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© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

39 Comments
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Every time I’m getting off a train in Japan, before I step out onto the platform I pat my pockets and make sure I still have my keys, my phone, and my wallet. 

That's the adult version of "Head, shoulders, knees and toes." - Glasses, keys, wallet and phone.

How many people would turn in such a large amount of cash?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Every time I’m getting off a train in Japan, before I step out onto the platform I pat my pockets and make sure I still have my keys, my phone, and my wallet.

I always check back at the seat on trains and taxis when I stand up. It's saved me from losing something a number of times.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

May need to check those "part time workers" papers?

Did he ask police for help?

Wouldn't the workers need to have tax and health insurance withheld?

7 ( +11 / -4 )

He would have been able to collect 10% as a reward if he had turned it in! That should have been enough to play pachinko for a few days!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Wouldn't the workers need to have tax and health insurance withheld?

It might have been.

The law here is that workers MUST be paid in cash. If there is an agreement between workers and management, other methods like bank transfer are also allowed, and that's what the overwhelming number of companies do. But the default in the labor law is cash.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

So much for all those fanciful stories about people leaving their wallets and other valuables accidentally behind in Japan and random strangers returning it.

Don't believe the hype.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

JR security cameras caught Ogura in the act

Is there nowhere we are not being filmed now?

May need to check those "part time workers" papers?

May need to check yourself for over-exuberant statism? I don't remember signing a service contract with NHK or any government either.

>

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Considering that most people I see on the trains now are watching movies, Youtube or intently playing candy crush, I am sure such instances of forgetfulness will continue.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

2.8 million yen in a wallet? That wallet would put George Castanza's wallet to shame. Probably needs TWO rubber band!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoPf98i8A0g&list=RDyoPf98i8A0g&start_radio=1&t=0

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So much for all those fanciful stories about people leaving their wallets and other valuables accidentally behind in Japan and random strangers returning it.

Don't believe the hype.

I don't know if this dispels this widely told belief.  I was in a bar near Tamachi station and found what I took to be a woman's purse jammed packed with yen (I'd guess well into the 6 figure yen range) and more cards then you could shake a stick at.  I handed it over to the woman at the bar.  Next time I was in there (I was a regular) they told me she had later returned looking for her purse was so very happy that it had been found. 

Not happy enough to tip the finder unfortunately.  Not that I was looking for a reward.  Just like to think that someone would do the same for me.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

But, you have to ask yourself, what kind of fool would carry that much money and then forget about it and leave it in a train? That’s some serious irresponsibility bordering on stupidity.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

So much for all those fanciful stories about people leaving their wallets and other valuables accidentally behind in Japan and random strangers returning it.

Don't believe the hype.

I was holidaying in Osaka 2 years ago and stupidly left my handbag on a JR West train. Luckly someone handed it to the Lost Property counter. When I got my bag back, I found my passport, the rental wifi router, my old digital camera and other items were inside. However, the ¥2,000 cash I put away for the airport train was gone. There are always good and bad people outhere.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

> So much for all those fanciful stories about people leaving their wallets and other valuables accidentally behind in Japan and random strangers returning it.

Don't believe the hype.

@ Old man. This is a very, very uncommon story in Japan. 99 time out of 100, Japanese would hand in a wallet or money they found in a train, or the street. This businessman was just real unlucky. The JR staff is going to prison, what he did is unforgivable.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

@oldman–13

I take it that you do not live in Japan. If you did you would know that in nearly all cases the wallet will be returned with all the cash inside.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So much for all those fanciful stories about people leaving their wallets and other valuables accidentally behind in Japan and random strangers returning it.

Yep. One incident cancels out the thousands and thousands of incidents where the Japanese turned in the wallet, those dirty, disgusting thieves.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

That must be the biggest wallet in Japan to fit that much money in it. Now I've seem people drop thing in the train - cell phones and wallets and the other people notice them but just ignore them. I myself once forgot something in the rack over my seat but reported in and within 10 minutes it was returned to me but the train staff. I can understand the guy wanted to keep the wallet - Finders Keepers Losers Weepers.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I left my wallet on the train one time actually, realized it when I didn't have my suica to get out. Talked to the station staff - I was able to go pick it up at the next station over right away.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I left my wallet on the counter at a tiny station shop in an underground arcade for about 6 hrs. Went back and they had it. Everything was still inside. At the time, it had mostly USD and about ¥20K. Good people are everywhere. We never know.

If you did payroll that way every few weeks, it would be easy to forget about the cash. Commonly done things become routine.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I have found stuff and handed it into the police but be prepared because the honesty will take you a couple of hours of form filling so leave it alone if you don't have the time. As for me I put everything into my bag nothing in my pockets so more easy not to lose something.

The law in Japan isn't finders Keepers Losers Weepers it actually a crime.

When a wallet is handed in to the police the finder is entitles to a 10% fee.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So much for all those fanciful stories about people leaving their wallets and other valuables accidentally behind in Japan and random strangers returning it.

Don't believe the hype.

those "fanciful stories" are actually true. but you forgot the "generally speaking" part. and also, the thing here is that we,re talking about 2.8 million yen. are you saying that, because we,re talking about Japan, that a Japanese must return that amount of money? that means you might actually believe in those stories because in other countries not even for 20 dollars or 20 euros and forget about all the cards in the wallet, that too. i would like to know (living in an age where most people struggle to make ends meet) how many people would return 2.8 million yen in cash? let,s make it 2 million, no, 1 million. i,m no scientist but i think that number is pretty low.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@rcch

If we are talking about Japan I would say that the number would be pretty high. Particularly with so much money involved people would be more likely to hand it in,

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This is a very, very uncommon story in Japan. 99 time out of 100, Japanese would hand in a wallet or money they found in a train, or the street. 

99%.

Looks like, this one unfavorable case made you not to state 100%

Times have changed, my friends in about four occasions have forgotten their wallets and found them later with all the case gone.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I think the majority or most Japanese are honest enough to hand in a lost wallet/bag/purse. But the fear of being caught out also plays a part in those decisions. People don't want criminals charges against them.

Even if someone dumps a plastic bag full of money on your doorstep you still have to report it. If after six months no one claims it then its yours. If someone claims it then you get 10%.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Plot twist: the owner of the wallet runs a cleaning business for JR and this Ogura guy was one of his employees who was due to be paid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have found stuff and handed it into the police but be prepared because the honesty will take you a couple of hours of form filling so leave it alone if you don't have the time. As for me I put everything into my bag nothing in my pockets so more easy not to lose something

It can be less than an hour but in some occasion it can be hours. Even to be good person in Japan will cost extra time, good intention alone it's not enough.

In other cases it's much easier if you found something in station or shopping mall, you can give it back to any available staff. All they need is information where you find it and when, so they can match it to the people who lost that item.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's quite possible to take something to the koban and simply tell the cops that you want to hand it in but you've got no time to hang about. I've done it twice in the last couple of years (a mobile and what looked like a wedding ring) and had no hassle....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That is one heck of a wallet! 3 million in 10000 notes is almost the size of a brick. I want to see this mans pocket.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I found a very expensive looking handbag in a residential street in Shibuya once and handed it in to the police at the station. When they opened it they found a lot of money and some jewellery.

About 3 days later I got an envelope in the mail containing what I think may have been all the cash as it was an irregular amount about 225,000 yen and a thank you letter. The woman also sent me her phone number and invited me for dinner!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wallet or purse?!?! I hate carrying cash so I never have more than 1-2 man on me most times but when my daughter was born we paid the hospital 700,000 yen in cash and that looked enormous to me. 3 million wouldn't fit in any "wallet" I've ever seen...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Somebody that dumb deserves their money taken

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This wives tale is no different than the "there's no litter in Japan", "everyone is so kind, well mannered", blah blah blah. It all comes down to who you have the pleasure or displeasure of interacting with. A quick look around the articles on JT clearly shows there are plenty of bad people here.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It's quite possible to take something to the koban and simply tell the cops that you want to hand it in but you've got no time to hang about. I've done it twice in the last couple of years (a mobile and what looked like a wedding ring) and had no hassle....

It really depends, some place they really love paperwork. In other cases you need to give it right away otherwise they'll accuse for things that you don't think of.

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/vice-principal-picks-up-forgotten-atm-cash-police-pick-up-vice-principal

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Two interesting points here. Yes, carrying that amount of cash is not unusual here in Japan. When we bought our house, the bank that loaned us the money gave it to me in cash: I was very nervous, to say the least, until I got to the seller.

Another difference is that news in the United States regularly celebrates those who turn in lost money instead of stealing it. The assumption there seems to be that normal people are criminals and the exceptional are not.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Paying employees off the books to avoid taxes and social and healthcare contributions.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Must have been a bloody big wallet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Christopher Bauer - it used to be the case also in the US/UIK, where people would carry around Bearer Bonds with face value of several 10's of millions of pounds... (Bearer Bonds were untraceable, and were effectively like cash), the largest theft of which in the UK arose in 1990 when 292 million pounds worth were stolen during a mugging. 2.8 Million yen is small by comparison - and that's still around 20K GBP which businesses do transport around the place in cash. Though I agree with you, walking around with your cash for property purchase in Japan is unnerving... you're not going to easily forget you're carrying around nichi oku yen, or so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've returned items (wallet and jewelry) that I found on the streets of Tokyo but will never do so again. The police treated me horribly, as if I had stolen the items rather than doing the right thing. As others have stated, it also took ages.

I've had my wallet returned to me, with everything in it, twice in the my home country, once with the person driving an hour out of their way to do so. I've also had things, expensive things, stolen in Japan. Every country has good and bad, honest and dishonest people and you're either a fool or living some kind of absolutely charmed life if you think otherwise.

Often times, the social acceptability regarding dishonesty is more a matter of circumstances than something as simple as saying Japanese are more honest because they're more likely to return your lost wallet. To put it simply, situations where it's acceptable to be dishonest vary from culture to culture.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've returned items (wallet and jewelry) that I found on the streets of Tokyo but will never do so again. The police treated me horribly, as if I had stolen the items rather than doing the right thing. As others have stated, it also took ages.

Too bad to hear this, sometimes they treat you as if your story is the only way to do confirmation so they need to check in every angle they could, which can cost hours of your time.

That could be really silly especially when these days security camera are everywhere, they can do confirmation about your story using those footage if they want.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This wives tale is no different than the "there's no litter in Japan", "everyone is so kind, well mannered", blah blah blah. It all comes down to who you have the pleasure or displeasure of interacting with. A quick look around the articles on JT clearly shows there are plenty of bad people here.

Thank you! This time it's unusual because the guy got caught and it was repeated here from an article by SoraNews. There was NOTHING about it in the mainstream press and there is no way to check the validity or accuracy of the information being published.

You can bet that the people who DIDN'T get their things back weren't talking to too many reporters! And the fallacy being passed around that 99% is just folks falling into the trap of believing that the Japanese people have higher morals than anyone else in the world!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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