Japan's cash-based society increasingly vulnerable to crooks


On two consecutive days, April 20 and 21, major robberies occurred in Fukuoka and Tokyo. Both involved individuals transporting large sums of cash from banks.

Yukan Fuji (April 23) reports that in Fukuoka on April 20, a man who withdrew 380 million yen in cash from a bank, was attacked while carrying the funds to his rented car parked nearby. He told police he was planning to use the money to purchase gold bars.

A day later in Tokyo, a 44-year-old self-employed man from Suginami Ward was robbed of 40 million yen on a Ginza street. According to the Tsukiji police station, the victim had been carrying 72 million yen in a tote bag when a man bumped into him on the street, grabbed at the bag and made off with 40 million yen, leaving behind the remainder.

In both incidents, it was the large amount of stolen funds that made the news.

In the past, transactions of such large amounts would normally have been conducted at banks. But recently it's become fairly commonplace for people to engage in sizeable transactions using cash.

Yukan Fuji also notes that it's become increasingly common for people to stash large amounts of money in their home. The research arm of the Daiichi Insurance Company has estimated that as of the end of February 2017, the total amount of such funds -- called tansu yokin or savings in the chest of drawers -- was in the neighborhood of 43 trillion yen.

Business journalist Hiroko Hagiwara told Yukan Fuji that one of the reasons why more people are keeping money in their homes is due to the negative interest policy in force.

"Even if they deposit money in banks, people think it's not worth the trouble, that the interest won't accumulate," Hagiwara was quoted as saying. "And since the introduction of the 'My Number' system, more people have come to a realization that the government now has the means to easily obtain any the details of your financial records. I suppose this is also affecting people's behavior. If the government knows the details, people worry their assets can be taxed, and this in turn is leading more people to squirrel money away in their drawers, closets and so on."

It goes without saying, but just with carrying large sums of money on the street, such practices leave people more vulnerable to robbery or fraud. So if you're planning to transport money, or stash away funds outside of conventional institutions, advises the article, tight security measures are strongly advised.

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It is an age old problem. The story of King Midas only "touches" on some of the problems of being wealthy. In most countries, people have been cowed or cajoled by promises of convenience or fear of theft into not using cash and relying more and more on credit. Don't fall for it. Most Japanese haven't.

There are going to be exceptions and... well... crimes, for heaven's sake... but they have always existed. By and large, people in Japan are choosing not to expose their wealth to cybercrime, and that is a good thing.

Another upside is that thieves can be caught RED HANDED when people use cash. When a burglar's actual physical presence is necessary to commit a crime, and when a criminal must actually hold and transfer evidence of a crime physically, they are sitting ducks for surveillance, finger printing, and all manner of conventional police strategies.

I love living in a society where cash can still be used without people assuming you are homeless or criminal or mentally deranged. I look at decrepit societies worldwide where social order has crumbled from credit snafus and identity theft, and I have to think that Japan is doing it right.

People who pay cash pay their bills. QED. Everyone else is juggling at best.

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Back in the states in February, I asked my brother to pick up some donuts I'd ordered from a family run donut shop. He had to go back home and get some cash as they don't take credit cards. The guy had zero cash on him, says he doesn't use cash anymore. The United Corprate States of America.

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Never waste a good crisis as an opportunity to gain more control for the government.

I love Japan for the cash society it is. It's way better. But the goverment here is no different to all other Western governments in that it wants inflation and spending and will stoop to any level to capture the population's wealth and perpetuate the ponzi scheme debt bubble. They've more or less been successful in the West with credit cards and the cashless society. Japan has been relatively slow to change in that regard perhaps mainly because of the low interest rates that have been existent for so long. I mean why would you give your money to a bank for free right ? So to get the population to reveal their wealth they have to brainwash them into doing it and demonize cash because we all know only criminals and terrorists would use cash.....what shite ! It's truly amazing how most sheeple believe this crud as their brains have been successfully numbed.

I agree with the above posters. Stick with cash Japan !!!

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As a visitor, needing to carry cash and coins is a huge annoyance. Instead of carrying just a couple light-weight cards, I have to carry a mess of bills and coins, which I tend have to count each time I make a payment. It's absurd I can't fit all I need in a single, small wallet.

Prepaid IC cards are excellent, but they aren't accepted everywhere.

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