COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
crime

Man jailed for a year over 10 yen theft at temple

79 Comments

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

© 2012 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

79 Comments
Login to comment

Agree with the judge. Its the principle.

-30 ( +9 / -39 )

I guess now we know the value of that Japanese diplomat's (in the US) wife's dignity (and teeth)......

Not much parity in sentencing in ANY country these days.....

9 ( +12 / -3 )

10 yen?? From a crappy Japanese corrupt temple?? And just think of all the billions and billions of yen they have stolen from the average Tanaka San, when their family dies, they pay through the nose here to make sure their relative makes it to Nirvana!! What a load of BS!

16 ( +24 / -8 )

Well- perhaps doin gservice ,cleaning the Temple would have been more appropriate . . .maybe he would learn why those places of worship re sacred.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

wait wait wait... 16,17,18 year old somethings get this for MURDER in this country. This guy took 10 yen! People willingly through that much money away in 1s and 5s often. Even riding your bike with an umbrella is not only worse than this, but more dangerous to the rider and others, yet I am still to see a bike rider jailed for a year for doing so. This is utter nonsense. I hope this is rectified.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Strange reading this just after reading a Japanese Diplomate was given a year for stabbing and beating his wife. Something is really wrong with this world.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

This is stupid, do you know how much tax payers money it will cost to keep him in jail? The judge is a loony, he should have made him clean up the temple for 30 days or something.

27 ( +30 / -3 )

This should be under a new column, Absurd Japan???

9 ( +12 / -3 )

You have no idea how absurd a Japanese court can be; this is a small example.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It's like here. You steal a $1 and you get years.

This has nothing to do with "principal". It's all about corruption.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese "justice" is stupid.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Well, as long as justice is carried by human beings such inconsistencies will remain.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I agree cleaning the temple would have been a much more fitting punishment.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Agree again that having the old man clean around the temple would be far more fitting. Hey, if he's hard so hard up even give him shelter for the work as well.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Let's hope that news of this stupidity makes it all around the world showing the Japanese "justice" system for what it really is.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"Another major criminal" caught and thrown in jail. What a total waste of public funds from beginning to the end.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Where is the karma?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

One year. That's what the Japanese diplomat in San Francisco got for repeatedly beating his wife.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The judges in this case need re-educating on crime and punishment and should be fined for wasting public funds.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I wonder how long that guy who swindled billions of Yen from pension funds will get? What about politicians caught with their hands in the till: how long do they spend in jail? The crook Muneo Suzuki only spent a year in jail for thieving far larger sums.

If you're going to be a thief in Japan, make sure you steal a huge amount, then you'll probably get off with a suspended sentence.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In this case the punishment does not fit the crime. If it were 10,000 yen then okay. For 10 yen? Absurd.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You have to wonder why the police even bothered to arrest him and not let him off with a warning...probably gave them a cosy winter afternoon in the office filling out the paperwork.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It was only . . . ten . . . yen . . .

The Japanese judiciary raises and redefines "asinine" to unheard-of levels.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Best line ever!!!! "It's the principle" what fairy tale world do you live in? The principle? The principle is that this man one year jail csentnece will cost each and every single person in Japan 10 yen in taxes!!!!!!!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

People in Japan should not steal -so I think the punishment is justified. Hopefully this individual will think twice before thinking about stealing in the future.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Punishing God?

What kind of God?

Kami sama wasuremasen ka?

Warui Kami sama.

.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Best line ever!!!! "It's the principle" what fairy tale world do you live in? The principle? The principle is that this man one year jail csentnece will cost each and every single person in Japan 10 yen in taxes!!!!!!!

LOL... This is beyond the level of being practical, I think...

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I don't understand the judge's logic... Selfish? 10 yen will barely buy a phone call.

If this is a homeless man, maybe his intent was just to bag a warm place for winter...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

is this a dumb & dumber sequel?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This gives you a sense of how justice is meted out in this country. An apology from the 'criminal' and a few hours of community service would have been the sentence in a different part of the world. In some pockets medieval habits survive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To be jailed for 1 yen!!! Is this a joke or what!!!' This is a total waste of tax payers money and an over powering police that seems to not have any common sense at all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Where is the karma?

this punishment may be for his Past Karma, for Present Karma he will get suspended sentence in next life :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This only makes sense if the thief was a gaijin.****

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I realize the man shouldn't have taken that 10 yen from the temple, but 20 months in jail a bit excessive. Community service would have been a better option. But i guess, they wanted to make an example of someone, so that nobody else would dare do it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I still believe the Judge was right and that you should not steal no matter what the circumstance. =This is a "tough love" sentence by the Judge. And I understand his view perfectly. -I would also be "harsh" on this subject and for good reason.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Osaka taxpayers should sue the judge for wasting their money, and make him do community service.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If it's under three years and his first criminal offense then it will be a suspended sentence that is how the law works here and the person will have learnt his lesson.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There has to be more to this story.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A judge on Thursday said the sentence was “too heavy.” A court spokeswoman said the jail term had been reduced to one year.

This sentence is still too heavy. The punishment does not fit the crime here, and is a sign the entire system is screwed up.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Few judges have any concept of real life and public opinion in Japan. Graduates of so-called 'elite' universities, passers of obscure examination questions and memorizers of more obscure texts, then cloistered and isolated throughout their working lives, it is no wonder that they pass judgements like this and others. Combine it with the actions of both the police and the Prosecution Service, the result is "Japanese Justice".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm sure the temple would also have dropped the charges if they could. But it was almost certainly out of their hands. Clearly a broken system, and not at the level of "too heavy" of a sentence, at the level of there being a sentence at all.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Let me guess this idiot judge was raised by one of these bottakuri temples and took it personally??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

RIDICULOUS!! Let him go!! Let him go!! THIS is the type a crime that deserves a slap on the wrist NOT hard time!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Did they tackle him when he left the grounds and frisk him?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wow ... alot of down arrows for me.

Let me just clarify - I think theft is WRONG. whether its 10¥ or 10 million. Albeit the scale is much different, the principle of the crime is wrong.

Thats also not to say I DONT think that most crimes in this country carry far too light a punishment. I just meant that its good that a judge is finally taking crimes seriously...

Lets face it though - its coming up to new year, Imagine someone went into temples and shrines around Japan and emptied ALL the collection boxes - usually people give 10¥ donation at new year too right? I wonder if everyone would think it was too heavy handed then? I say nip criminals in the bud.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

The problem is, it won't nip poverty in the bud, and while we don't know this guy is in poverty, getting this kind of sentence WILL increase crime for those who 'need a place to stay' free of charge, so to speak. The other problem is it shows how messed up the system here is in terms of meting out punishment -- this guy gets a year but in another place, with another judge (if it even made it that far), he'd get nothing beyond a slap on the wrist, and another judge might give him ten years. It's one of the reasons why I was for the lay judge system being introduced -- while that would have resulted in even MORE time and money wasted over a mere ten yen, you would have a group of 'regular' people deciding on the punishment instead of one judge, who might be extremely biased.

The first judge should have heard this, scoffed at the waste of time, and given the guy a certain number of community service hours -- preferably at the temple in question (or another if the monks there are upset about what happened and would deal with it badly). That the second judge couldn't do that either is even more ridiculous. I agree that Osaka should sue for the waste of tax money this cost.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What can he do with 10yen? Yes he stole but as you can see most westerners are not cut and dry on crime. What if he is emotionally sick or just hungry. That deserves jail? making him work in many cases helps rehabilitate the minds of some. Helping them feel they are contributing in some way. You think Buddha would think the punishment fit the crime? He may even build a relationship with the temple and change his life. Jail just adds bitterness and fear to someone already down. And even if he was a "by choice" homeless person, do you think that someone in a great emotional state would choose that life? Come on, think about it. Breaking a rule of law equals a punishment but a punishment doesn't always mean locked in a box. Sounded like the judge had a vendetta.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is how ridiculous the japanese judiciary sustem is. If the guy was a rtpest offender having pocketed lots of cash or valued items I could agree. But 10 yen? Obviously he was just fooling around as you cant buy anything with 10 yen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let me just clarify - I think theft is WRONG. whether its 10¥ or 10 million. Albeit the scale is much different, the principle of the crime is wrong.

Well let's face it, who hasn't stolen 10 yen worth of stuff in their lives? Probably no one.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Another criminal sees justice! No more will the people of Japan have to live in fear of sexagenarians purloining their small change. Have no fear; the forces of justice are here to protect the little round bits of copper that you'd forgotten you even had and didn't have any plans to use.

I'm sure Japanese people can sleep easy at night as long as the justice system is pursuing not just petty but trifling theft with such ardent zeal.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am new to the popularity thing and I see I am second to the bottom:

If you ask the average 66yr old in Japan about this story and the judges decision -People of that age would believe the judge's decision is justified especially if the accused did not explain themselves and say they were sorry for their crime. This is just how Japan and people in Japan work and younger people need to understand that model. Older people in Japan would maybe even be more harsh since they see bizarre crimes of the elderly increasing.

People view this person as an adult and not a child anymore. =He needs to take responsibility for his actions -and he refused to do that. =The Judge was left with little choice but to be harsh.

If this was Singapore it would have been worse.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Maybe we are being duped by The Onion here. But seriously, it just shows you how the court system works. They want to throw this ji-chan in the clink for 10 Yen? Wow! The judge needs to go to jail for being so stupid.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That Judge Is Lame!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/west/west_affairs/news/121220/waf12122011320017-n1.htm (Japanese) -very short article. Nothing new except he is "unemployed"

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2012/12/21/japanese-man-recieved-1-year-prison-sentence-for-stealing-12-cents/ (English -and best explanation I have seen)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Victor Hugo where are you? Imagine what punishment this poor soul would have gotten if he had stolen a loaf of bread.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is Koya right? The place that charges over 100 million yen to be buried there?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a fine 'case' of social control at its best in Japan. Next time I see some smal change lying on the ground I'll just ignore it.....

Yes,it's working!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

About time religious rights are protected as other rights

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A fellow in America recently lost his job at a bank for stealing 10 cents 50 years ago...it ain't the amount of money.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

stupid judge

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Japan justice is not about fairness or rehabilitation. Here is a very clear example of justice as a deterrent to others, ignoring anything else - the fact that the man was homeless, probable demoralization brought on by draconian punishment, the cost to the public. Even though it is within the spirit of the Japanese law, the judge was obeying the letter way too heavy-handedly. Could it be that Japan needs more prison labor?

Criminal justice indeed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As somebody mentioned earlier Victor Hugo covered this already in Les Miserables 150 years ago... This is just plain absurd, why even call the police in the first place for 10 yen? For temple people: if you catch somebody doing something like that, give him an earful and a threat on his karma, end of story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ridiculous.

Of course, cleaning the temple toilets, or other community service would be better. Or just keeping him locked up for a couple days w/ the threat of more, if you want to instill fear, and then letting him go w/o wasting our taxes on a trial (never mind to pay for his yr in jail!) would be effective enough.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Agreed, this is ridiculous. Who steals 10 yen anyway? If he really needed it, the temple should have given him a meal instead of calling the police. I wonder what would have happened if he had stolen a 100 yen umbrella on a rainy day. Was the sentence heavy because it was stolen from a temple? Is stealing 10 yen from a temple more serious than stealing 10,000 from a person?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Interesting responses to this post. Two items are important to think about, the principal of being a thief stealing any amount of money and the letter of the law to prosecute thieves that commit criminal acts. Is there a stipulation in the Japanese law for community service to be handed out as punishment or does it state that only Under Japanese law, theft is punishable by up to 10 years’ jail or a fine of up to 500,000 yen? Are there separate standards for Japanese citizens and foreigners stealing 10 yen from temples that would warrant comments on just releasing him this person with a slap on the hand?

On the other side of the coin, are most of the folks just complaining about the Japanese judicial system? The focus of comments should be on why the temple called the police about 10 yen and how it could have been taken care of at the temple with an agreement of community service or similar punishment to Tsuruhara. Once the police are called in to a crime scene, they are obligated to fulfill their duty as public officials. If the temple folks dropped the charges of theft against Tsuruhara, then wouldn't the charges and jail sentence be dropped?

But anyways, next time Tsuruhara goes to a temple, he may be giving money instead of taking from his experience as a petty thief.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So I guess it would not make any difference if he took 10 yen or 10 million yen? Theft is theft? What about scratching a car and trashing it? Would you get the same sentence for both? I don't think so....I would hope he appeals..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here at least we have summary and indictable (serious) offences..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My point is that it was a (very) minor theft which really should not have resulted in a term of imprisonment..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ahh... Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Steal 10 yen, get a year in jail. Kill your own child, and a sympathetic judge will "feel your pain" and give you a suspended sentence.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@AustPaul, looks like my comment was deemed inappropriately off-topic mentioning the comparison between theft and vandalism. But there is no difference between 10yen and 10 million yen, just the way the accuser finds it fit to punish the guilty.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Merry Christmas Mr. Tsuruhara!

Maybe a year in jail will make Mr. Tsuruhara a wiser and more pleasant fellow. It's not as if Mr. Tsuruhara is being beaten, that would be inhumane.

Mr. Tsuruhara will learn valuable lessons and perhaps some beneficial skill in prison that he can use in his 68th year and for many many more years ahead.

Instead of boo hooing the justice system it's time someone pointed out how fortunate Mr. Tsuruhara is. A warm prison bed and fine food at no cost with exercise and handsome attire for a year and all for 10¥. (Last year our vacation cost some bit more and it lasted only a week.)

Let the boo hoo brigade wish Mr. Tsuruhara well and send some support for him. In his 70th year this will all be forgotten and the future looks bright for his reform. Retirement planning in a new and refreshing way with a chance for a better tomorrow for everyone.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

One year in prison, how much does that cost the taxpayers?

I'm not too sure but I bet it's more than 10 yen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Martyman....I would think convicting someone of stealing 10 yen would not be in the public interest and going a bit too far..I know theft is theft but the amounts would still be taken into consideration at sentencing..

Merry Xmas!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ten yen.....really lol too bad theres no admendment for cruel or unusal punishment

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AustPaul, Exactly! The temple should drop its case against Tsuruhara-san to save the Japanese taxpayers the financial burden of housing a 10 yen criminal for a year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“It’s 10 yen, but it is still cash,”

Correction, it's 10 yen, but it is monks cash. Monks do not play around when it comes to money.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

agree

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Should be community service.

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