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crime

Woman facing arrest for theft jumps to her death from apartment while police wait

33 Comments

An unemployed 44-year-old woman facing arrest on suspicion of theft apparently jumped to her death from her third-floor apartment in Yokohama on Monday, while police waited for her outside her apartment.

The woman was found collapsed on the ground outside the building in Asahi Ward at around 8:15 a.m., Kyodo News reported.

According to police, officers went to the woman’s apartment and pressed the buzzer. After identifying themselves, they heard the woman ask them to wait because she said she was getting dressed. When she failed to open the door after 15 minutes, police found her lying on the grounds of the building. She was taken to hospital where she died four hours later.

Police believe the woman jumped from her balcony and fell seven meters to the ground.

Police said a warrant for her arrest was issued on November 10 after she allegedly shoplifted food products from a nearby store.

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33 Comments
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One here, another there, and everywhere, day in day out, rinse repeat, only the names change, the basic story doesn’t.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

Police said a warrant for her arrest was issued on November 10 after she allegedly shoplifted food products from a nearby store.

Tales of New Capitalism; Exhibit #3721.

2 ( +20 / -18 )

Sounds like she was stealing food. Tragic ending.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

Honest question: does Japan have food banks or similar? What might be the reason that she had to resort to stealing food? I find it sad that she ended her life for such a smallish thing (I don't condone what she did, I just think stealing food does not deserve to die for).

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Maybe it's not at all about the food itself, but more about hating to be employed and work for it. She would of course now have received plenty of free food in prison, but at cost of being forced into daily strictly structured life and low-paid employment, just like not so very much different from outside of prisons. That's an outlook considered the norm in society but not everyone is capable or willing to stand that hamster wheel marathon.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

There is an organization called Second Harvest in Japan that collects food usually nonperishables and distributes at certain locations for the hungry.

https://2hj.org/english/

It is truly sad when people have to steal because they're hungry.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

@almakukac

Don’t jump to your own conclusion. Maybe the woman was a kleptomaniac and stole the food just for the thrill of it.

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

Second Harvest is excellent but many do not know of it. There are some others.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

RIP to this individual. Her life would have been made miserable for that little bit of food she took by the police and would have been locked up, I am sure.

I heard there is a food bank, however, I wonder how they would fill their shelves because there are no donation boxes set up in the supermarkets here. I have clearly seen homeless elderly people in the supermarkets and or shopping stores sitting on benches and myself personally have handed out 500 yen here and there. Just this summer I saw an elderly woman sleeping on a bench, her pushcart was so old, and clearly, she was a homeless person and so I did a U-turn, and I ran downstairs to the supermarket bought some drinks an obento box and left it in her cart. People many times ignore the poor, the elderly and homeless, unfortunately.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It’s too sad she died for stealing food. I think people shouldn’t be chased for arrest if they steal food just for eating. It would be better if someone from a social support organisation reach out to her for help. Social services should reach them.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Very sad. Over food? Unemployed too? To feel that helpless. Japan should really do more to help the unemployed and hungry. At 44 years old. This should not stand. Mental illness and or depression I am sure played a factor in this. But this is nuts. Japan open please open your version of welfare to all not just single moms. Terrible.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@miles

Thank you for the link to Second Harvest! I have been looking for a long time for a good place to donate and volunteer in Tokyo! I just wish this woman wouldn’t have had to end her life for me to even know about it.

…Aan even bigger reason for me to volunteer and donate!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I remember when I lost my job and went to Hello Work for assistance. I told them I just started my own fledgling company but had no income yet at that time. They told me they couldn't help me at all since I was "employed".

They told me to go to the city office to see what they could do. I went and they were only concerned about me being able to pay my city taxes, health ins., prop. tax etc. so they halved my monthly payments. (But I'd still have to pay the full amounts later after increasing my income.)

Fast forward two years later and my income finally matched my previous one and then the city office really put the pressure on me to pay back my arrears, which is understandable, but they really kept pressuring me to pay more everytime even though I was going down to zero each month.

When I didn't pay back the remaining back payments fast enough and by a June deadline, they docked my bank account and started to automatically take out some of the money from it even though I was getting close to being caught up and paid them back in full.

When it comes to being unemployed, like this woman was, the city, pref and the whole damn govt is ruthless and heartless.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

@Speed

Thanks for this report.

As you know, Hello Work only help if we are looking for a job, and financially when we are entitled to get their benefits, but still if we can prove we are looking for a job (No free money).

Unfortunately, it considers any start up company, freelance job as employment, whatever the income, and therefore no unemployment benefit. And it cuts any benefit when we find a job, whatever the start date, even if it's months later, unless we are still proving we search for a (another) job. Strange.

I think there are financial help (not sure if it has to be reimbursed) for start up companies, not much anyway, but it depends on a other agency.

As for your taxes, if your wage went down to zero, I guess the amount went down the following year.

As I do not know what was the situation of this unemployed women, I won't comment

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hello Work support stops after a few months depending upon how long your last employment was, not your overall employment history. The unemployment figures released by Japan stop counting you, once your Hello Work support ends, there is no support (that I know of) thereafter.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The cost of an apartment in Asahi Ward is dirt cheap. You can get a 1k/k apartment for less than 25,000 yen. Minimum wage in Osaka is 1,064. Even if you work for 20 hours a week, you can still make 3x more than your rent.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

It is truly sad when people have to steal because they're hungry.

Agree. RIP

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

4Tno

The cost of an apartment in Asahi Ward is dirt cheap. You can get a 1k/k apartment for less than 25,000 yen. Minimum wage in Osaka is 1,064. Even if you work for 20 hours a week, you can still make 3x more than your rent.

The woman lived in Yokohama.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The woman lived in Yokohama.

Thanks for the clarification. My point remains the same. The cost of living in cities like Yokohama is extremely affordable even with a minimum wage job compared to big cities in the state where rent is almost as much or higher than a low paying wage. You can get by in Yokohama with a ¥30k or less for a 1k/k apartment working at a pt time gig and still have plenty for food. This problem is not solely about finances as many comments mentioned. I wouldn't be surprised if this woman was going through some serious mental problems.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

MeiyouwentiNov. 14  05:59 pm JST

@almakukac

Don’t jump to your own conclusion. Maybe the woman was a kleptomaniac and stole the food just for the thrill of it.

The prevalence of kleptomania is 0.3 - 0.6% of the general population. It's extremely rare. It's highly more likely that she was just hungry and didn't have enough money. Maybe you shouldn't jump to conclusions.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Design MonkeyNov. 14  07:21 pm JST*

@miles

Thank you for the link to Second Harvest! I have been looking for a long time for a good place to donate and volunteer in Tokyo! I just wish this woman wouldn’t have had to end her life for me to even know about it.

…Aan even bigger reason for me to volunteer and donate!

Glad that I could help. I worked for a Tokyo NPO and met the Japan founder; Charles McJilton several times. He's a good guy with his heart in the right place. We'd often meet and whine about the challenges of fundraising in Japan. People assume that everyone in Japan is well-off but the reality is that there are hungry people, especially children.

This article posted by JT also talks about other related NPO's though I don't know them very well.

https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/organizations-tackle-problem-of-childhood-hunger-in-japan

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sad

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You can get by in Yokohama with a ¥30k or less for a 1k/k apartment working at a pt time gig and still have plenty for food. This problem is not solely about finances as many comments mentioned. I wouldn't be surprised if this woman was going through some serious mental problems.

Depends on where you live in Yokohama. Central Yokohama a 30K apt. would be impossible to find a decent living space. More like a minimum of 4.5. Minimum.

You have no idea if she has mental problems. Very condescending and judgmental in my opinion for you to say so.

Say she works 20 hours a week at 1050 yen per hour. With travel costs, tax and insurance taken out, the take home from 1000 yen ends up being less than 950 yen. A weeks take home amounts to about 18000 yen.

Comes out to around 72000 yen. Rent at a more realistic 4.5. Is there a care fee? Add another 5000 yen for kanri. Does she have a keitai? Probably 10000. Internet? Maybe. 6000. Electricity? 6000, easy. Gas? 4000, easy. Water? 3000. That's over 72000 right there...

I'm not sure how you live, but from my POV, the wage vs. living expense for part time work is poverty and less level of existence in Japan. It doesn't make me wonder at all why she stole food, she likely needed it because of finances, much more likely than whatever mental problem you believe she might have had.
6 ( +6 / -0 )

Stealing food to eat.

Not luxury products.

This is how the Japanese are becoming-poor

There is a cost of living crisis in Japan which isn’t being spoken about.

Meanwhile, shops are throwing away food.

In most cases, shop staff are not allowed to take leftover food home.

There should not be a need to steal food as a last resort to stop hunger.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The shame of having to steal food. The shame of being caught and arrested. Probably too much for her to bear.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Some people are quick to judge without all of her circumstances.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Police said a warrant for her arrest was issued on November 10 after she allegedly shoplifted food products from a nearby store.

This has got to be a warn people type of governmental media push the Japanese seem to do using NHK or printed media under a somewhat state run system.

I just don't get how a shop lifting charge could lead to this unless it was perhaps too obvious and/or a personal vendetta of a nearby shop that knew who she was. Otherwise, the idea of a massive store like an Aeon or the like figuring who she was and getting a warrant is petty for a multi million perhaps billion dollar store going out of its way to do this.

No, I think she was probably set as an example and this article is the type of don't mess with Japan inc. to scare the herd.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

MeiyouwentiNov. 14  05:59 pm JST

Don’t jump to your own conclusion. Maybe the woman was a kleptomaniac and stole the food just for the thrill of it...............................My dog, what a horrible comment............Oh but wait, maybe she jumped to her death just for the thrill of it..../s

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Depends on where you live in Yokohama. Central Yokohama a 30K apt. would be impossible to find a decent living space. More like a minimum of 4.5. Minimum.

Common sense will tell you to find a cheaper place if you can't afford to live there. The real question is why did she have to resort to stealing? Was she a klepto? Was she really broke? Did she have a job or was she a dependent of the state? If you can hold any minimum wage job, you can survive in Japan, but you have to sacrifice some luxuries in return for a roof and food in ur stomach. Just look at all the Vietnamese people who share small apartments and still manage to send money back to their relatives. Where there's a will, there's a way. Hence, why I believe she had some mental issues.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ruth Benedict’ s ‘shame culture’ claims yet another victim. With 外圧 just about the only way to engineer change here, the U.N needs to step up pronto and dispatch one of its special rapporteurs. Task him, better still ‘her’, with inquiring into whether Japan’s welfare system is fit for purpose. Examples like this one should feature prominently in the final report, along with comparisons with other nations.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I would pay for the food that someone stole to feed themselves. What's the point of arresting them and spending tax payers money on this crime?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What's the point of arresting them and spending tax payers money on this crime?

To make it clear to the plebs that short of the grave, there’s no escape. It’s non-negotiable; the treadmill for the fifteen million credits and, for many like her, lottery odds of ever truly escaping the grind. Or, the alternative of checking out any time you like.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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