crime

Saitama man arrested for making 9,313 false reservations on luxury trains

23 Comments
By SoraNews24

A strangely increasingly common phenomenon in Japan has been the act of a single person making a ridiculous number of reservations and then not paying for the bookings, causing them to go unsold and wasted. It’s not always clear if this is maliciously done, but it is a problem, and now it’s affecting a major train company.

Romancecar is the name of the limited express trains operated by Odakyu Electric Railway that service lines between Tokyo and the cities of Hakone and Gotemba, both of which offer beautiful views of Mt Fuji. The Romancecar is also more swanky than most trains with meal service and special viewing windows to help enjoy the ride.

As a result it costs about twice as much as traveling the same way by standard trains. However, one 48-year-old resident of Shiki City, Saitama Prefecture, was not pleased with the service he received on a Romancecar and sought out a revenge most annoying.

According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, between March and November of last year the suspect made a total of 9,313 reservations on Romancecars, but with no intention of paying for them or riding. Of those fraudulent reservations, about 90 percent of them were said to have be for observation deck seats which have more beautiful views and are generally more desired.

When police arrested the suspect, he admitted to the charges, saying that he was frustrated with his job and didn’t like the attitude of the conductors and crew of a Romancecar. His hobby was riding trains, but one time he became angry when other passengers were drinking and acting rowdy on the observation deck, but no staff came to tell them to stop.

As for how he managed to make so many unpaid reservations, Odakyu Electric Railway allows passengers to reserve a seat without paying for it up front. In the event no payment is made, the reservation is still held until 15 minutes before the train departs. Considering that Romancecars are more about the journey than the destination and only have reserved seating, the chances of someone appearing suddenly to claim a last-minute open reservation are very slim.

Sadly, the ability to not have to pay until the time of riding is a convenience that may be in jeopardy due to this crime of fraudulent obstruction of business, and for that online comments did not appreciate the suspect’s selfish offense.

“After the criminal charges are settled Odakyu can sue, but they probably won’t be able to get that much money back. Still they should do it to prevent similar crimes.”

“9,300 times?! How did they not notice it earlier.”

“We probably don’t need reservations to be held that late anyway.”

“What a piece of garbage. I hope they sue him.”

“The number of times he did it is very disturbing.”

“What did he want to accomplish with all this?”

“Sadly I think we are entering an era where all reservations will have to be prepaid.”

“How much damage did he really do though? If the train isn’t fully-booked then he never really deprived them of a sale.”

That last comment brings up an interesting question. One important factor is that he seemed to have deliberately targeted popular seats. Also, because of knowledge acquired through his hobby of riding trains and the fact that the reservations were spread out over a nine-month period, it’s very plausible that he could have deliberately targeted peak times as well.

It will be up to the company and lawyers to hash out the true damages incurred by the railway. Either way, he’s going to be paying for his misdeeds in one way or another for quite some time.

Sources: Asahi Shimbun, The Sankei News, Twitter

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Shinkansen will require reservations for large suitcases, charge penalty fees for those without

-- Osaka man reserved and cancelled 1,873 seats at two baseball games to get more space for self

-- 1,600 empty seats at major Japanese gymnastics competition reserved by single unpaying person

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

23 Comments
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If Odakyu has such a stupid reservation system then quite honestly they deserve everything that happened.

Book ticket...pay for ticket. Not rocket science is it?

16 ( +21 / -5 )

It's amazing what lengths some people go to over small petty issues.

Too bad they can't bill him for all those reservations.

But I agree, they have a silly booking system.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

His hobby was riding trains, but one time he became angry when other passengers were drinking and acting rowdy on the observation deck, but no staff came to tell them to stop.

All is explained. He was angry at people having friends.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Sentence to six months of train toilet cleaning.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

If no money was assigned to the order,you can order a million dollar worth of stuff,it will not go through without the fund applied

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

So this guy a "densha otaku" was angry that some other guests ruined his experience, so he decided to punish the rail company, who by the way has a really outdated reservation system. He deserves a large fine and community service. Maybe something to do with dealing and helping other people.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I disagree with those calling it a 'silly booking system'. It's not silly, it's generous. Criticising it for not being more mistrusting is cynical

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

It's not silly It's generous

Thats a silly comment

Living in Japan ive noticed what they think as polite is oftentimes most inconvenient and undoubtedly silly and a waste of people's time and money !

The plethora of examples of this so called polite or generous silliness are too many to describe.

Perhaps the silliness fact is the fact it keeps happening and they think it's phenomenon.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Saitama-ken should have an special tab here.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

To hold a reservation up to 15 minutes without payment before the train departs is too late, there should be an earlier deadline, maybe 2 or 3 days before departure in case of special trains. Their reservation system for special trains should be changed to prevent misuse in future. Not sure how, but maybe accept reservations only by registered members using a creditcard or against 20 % cash deposit. In case of 'No Show' the deposit will not be paid back or the creditcard will be charged....

2 ( +4 / -2 )

His hobby was riding trains, but one time he became angry when other passengers were drinking and acting rowdy on the observation deck, but no staff came to tell them to stop.

Why didn't he go tell the rowdy passengers to knock it off himself?

Odakyu Electric Railway allows passengers to reserve a seat without paying for it up front. In the event no payment is made, the reservation is still held until 15 minutes before the train departs.

This is just silly. Normally, bookings are held for 24-48 hours up to maybe a week before the departure date. The company brought it on themselves with this lax reservation system.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

No surprise that he was solo in the romance car.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, between March and November of last year the suspect made a total of 9,313 reservations on Romancecars, but with no intention of paying for them or riding. Of those fraudulent reservations, about 90 percent of them were said to have be for observation deck seats which have more beautiful views and are generally more desired.

There's gotta be a way to do this without getting caught.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ah yes, the honor system, created when people had honor. Have to update that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Book ticket...pay for ticket. Not rocket science is it?

Evidently for the people running the reservation system here, it is!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

9,313 times? Come on, Odakyu inc. should have figured it out by 4,736.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

To those blaming the company and their booking policy you wouldn’t blame the victim of assault or rape but the perpetrator, but here you are blaming the victim not the criminal.

Sadly they probably will need to change, require a credit card on booking, if cancelled a reasonable time before then no charge, possibly with a sliding scale of charges thereafter depending on the probability of reselling the seat, or full charge if cancelled late. Probably better than going fully the other way and requiring payment up front on booking.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Why didn't he go tell the rowdy passengers to knock it off himself?"

Simply because there were no 'rowdy passengers.' It was all a figment of his deranged imagination. The 48-year-old suspect imagined that others were enjoying themselves (when he was miserable); therefore they should be miserable, too.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

First handcuff him, the put him on top of the train for a better un obstructed view, then take him to jail and lock him up for 9313 days.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

LOL

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Simple.

Limit to four unpaid tickets. Any more would require immediate payment at reservation time. That should leave the honest people able to continue their trips as before, but cause people adding more risk to the company to pre-pay removes that greater risk.

We've all been bothered by other passengers behavior in lots of shared travel modes. Sometimes, we are the people bothering others too. Not everyone is in the same mood at the same time.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Living in Japan ive noticed what they think as polite is oftentimes most inconvenient and undoubtedly silly and a waste of people's time and money !

Agreed. Case in point, this "generous" system has prevented many innocent people from booking a reservation, making it more of an inconvenience. The guy that made 9313 reservations over many months was caught, but how many densha otaku did a similar mischief over a shorter period of time?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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