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kuchikomi

To rip off people, all you need is a good idea

32 Comments

Easy money – is there really such a thing? There is. But the pursuit of it, says Spa! (Sept 1) is not for the morally squeamish. If moral squeamishness is not your problem, if you don’t care whose vulnerabilities you exploit, whose rights you trample on or what pain you cause, then the field is wide open.

There’s nothing new in that, except maybe the rising numbers: an estimated 56 billion yen ripped off from the unwary in 2014, according to police figures cited by the magazine – up from roughly 27 billion in 2004.

Something else that may be new is the degree to which this underground economy has gone freelance. You don’t need to be a gangster anymore. All you need is a good idea. Lots of people have them, apparently.

Symbol par excellence of the modern scam is the notorious “ore-ore” fraud, in which fast-talking telephone hucksters pose as family members in trouble and persuade bewildered seniors, dialed more or less at random, to help – “Quick! Please! It’s urgent!” – by sending money.

That’s old hat by now, though still going strong. But there’s so much else! A certain “Mr Yamamoto” (Spa! uses no real names) noticed how attached women in particular have grown of late to their dogs, and how much they grieve when the pets die. Many people of course have noticed that; it’s very noticeable – but how many would have had Yamamoto’s subsequent brainwave: that of offering himself as an intermediary between mourners and a company in Switzerland that allegedly turns pet ashes into synthetic diamonds?

“Actually,” he smiles, “I don’t ship the ashes to Switzerland at all. I just have a synthetic diamond made here for a few million yen” – and everyone’s happy: the customer for the supposed dog-become-diamond, Yamamoto for his presumably substantial share of the profits. One only hopes his customers don’t read Spa! – imagine their chagrin if they do.

“Hinkon business” is a spreading neologism. “Hinkon” means poverty, and preying on the poor can be good business. The poor don’t have much money, but they do have urgent needs, and they receive some benefits – as, for example, “Mr Suzuki.” A member in good standing of the “lost generation,” Suzuki toiled nights at grinding part-time jobs leading nowhere, and drugs became his escape from an increasingly intolerable reality. Addicted and ill, he lost his grip, lost his job, and found himself on the street, helpless. A private facility took him in, gave him a bed in its dorm, and filed his welfare applications for him.

So far so kind and helpful, but the welfare payments were actually paid not to Suzuki but to the head of the facility, who doled out 1000 yen a day to Suzuki and kept the rest. “To tell you the truth,” Suzuki tells Spa!, “I don’t even know how much I’m entitled to.”

He wants to leave the facility but doesn’t dare – “they tell me they’ll have my benefits cut off.” And so, against his will, he stays on, a poverty-stricken but valuable cash cow for his supposed benefactors.

Another neologism increasingly encountered is “JK business,” and it’s on the same moral plane. “JK” stands for “joshi kosei” – high school girl; the “business” in question commercially exploits, it almost goes without saying, the sexual attractiveness of girls to men old enough, as likely as not, to be their fathers. JK business entrepreneurs, Spa! says, often recruit the girls under false pretenses, telling them they’re wanted as part-time telephone operators, data inputers and so on. Supposedly the customers just come to look. If the girl is willing to go further, the thinking is, that’s her business.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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So far so kind and helpful, but the welfare payments were actually paid not to Suzuki but to the head of the facility, who doled out 1000 yen a day to Suzuki and kept the rest. “To tell you the truth,” Suzuki tells Spa!, “I don’t even know how much I’m entitled to.”

And to whomever reported this here they have a moral and ethical obligation to report this illegal activity to the proper authorities. If they don't they are just as bad as the people who are ripping off the poor and needy.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

"Interest" is the best example, as the banksters have shown.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

To rip off people, all you need is a good idea

that involves gigatonnes of concrete?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

You book online, print your own ticket and then get charged a booking fee.

You arrive at the venue, buy your ticket in cash and are charged a booking fee.

Worst of all it appears I am entitled to about $6 million from an estate in Africa that belonged to some obscure king but some rip-off merchant made me pay him a $200,00 dollar "release fee". For that amount I expected the $6 million to be transferred pretty quickly but here I am two weeks later still waiting for it to arrive.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

How about becoming a politician? Convince others that they need your leadership and then take money for doing so-it must be the ultimate scam.....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What frustrates me more than anything here in Japan is the nickel-and-diming that customers endure in almost every facet of business, with the worst being telcos. They give you the 'options' list with the boxes already ticked, which is just tatemae for you not having any option to decline. They make sure you chose direct debit so you conveniently 'forget' about the microtransactions that are being leeched from you every month. Cancelling these 'options' is always a MASSIVE pain. Any business with a subscription model here does this. This is by far the biggest rip-off of all - where is the consumer protection authority?! Where's the outrage?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Simply put con artists are excellent intuitive psychologists and just like a magician understand enough about how the mind works to exploit its vulnerabilities. In the end the best advice would be it if seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Juxtaposing the pet ash diamond business with other basically criminal acts here seems odd to me. There's a glint of flair in the idea of eternalizing one's love for pets.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The govt. has a flair for making money off the people with the consumption tax being mandatory of basic food staples, medicines etc. Is it really legal...morally legal?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

gabrial888Sep. 15, 2015 - 09:18AM JST

Juxtaposing the pet ash diamond business with other basically criminal acts here seems odd to me. There's a glint of flair in the idea of eternalizing one's love for pets.

There is. However there is more than a glint of fraud in selling and not performing that service, which is apparently what's happening in this case.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Moral. Do not trust anyone who wants your money.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ADK99 The article says,

but how many would have had Yamamoto’s subsequent brainwave: that of offering himself as an intermediary between mourners and a company in Switzerland that allegedly turns pet ashes into synthetic diamonds? “Actually,” he smiles, “I don’t ship the ashes to Switzerland at all. I just have a synthetic diamond made here for a few million yen”

Fraud in this case is for not sending ashes to Switzerland? Pet owners had their pet ash diamond made anyway right? Is sending ashes to Switzerland so important to owners? Is Switzerland connection an entire fabrication or is Yamamoto a franchisee of a Swiss-based business?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Gabrial: He is indeed committing fraud:

Basically he is saying that he will take the pet's ashes, move it to Switzerland and have it made into a diamond, right? And in reality he just buys a generic synthetic diamond here in Japan.

From the quote:

the customer for the supposed dog-become-diamond** It is implied that the diamond is, in fact, not made from the dog's ashes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

To rip off people, all you need is a disgusting idea.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kaynide, thanks for educating me. Perhaps you are right. But I'm not entirely convinced. In the article, "I just have a synthetic diamond made here for a few million yen.” This doesn't sound like he just buys readymade stuff. "Have one made" doesn't preclude the possibility of pet ashes actually incorporated in one way or another? The quote, "the supposed dog-become-diamond..." Yeah, "supposed" can imply untruthfulness but it might also indicate the writer's subjective skepticism. I googled dog ashes / diamond, and found so many sites both in Japan and abroad offering this type of service. This business seems like quite well established. Not such a novelty. Is the writer sought out a fraudulent operator for the purpose of this article? Then, yes, he is a fraud. Well, too much thinking for nothing. Thank you guys for input, anyway.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think I will have to talk to my wife again about her idea for getting me made into a diamond when I'm gone.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Here in Japan rip offs are the mobile carriers, internet providers, NHK subscription, and of course the numerous taxes, (Consumption tax, national income withholding tax, national retirement, national health care tax, prefecture tax, city tax, and the ever popular ward tax).

3 ( +5 / -2 )

here we go, apology of the crime , rip off and good idea. Apparently what you need to have rip off is to be allowed and encourage to do it with a zero consumer protection.

To rip off people, all you need is a good idea

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To rip off people, all you need is a good idea

And to not get ripped off all you need is common sense.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

And yet, the Japanese go on and on about foreign crime..

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I had to change the guarantor of my apartment the other day. No big deal....in any other country outside Japan. I had to fill in all the forms myself, plus take time off work to get the stupid "jyuminhyo". To top it all, I was charged 48,000yen by my real estate company for an "administration fee". It is nothing short of legalized theft.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

YubaruSEP. 15, 2015 - 07:11AM JST

And to whomever reported this here they have a moral and ethical obligation to report this illegal activity to the proper authorities. If they don't they are just as bad as the people who are ripping off the poor and needy.

Is it? While I was in Japan awhile back, they said the minimum required for a person to live with some dignity (Constitutionally guaranteed right) is something like 120,000 yen per month, so let's say his total is about that.

This facility gives him residence, a benefit in itself easily worth 40000 or 50000 yen per month. It seems to also cover basics like electricity and water. If they provide meals as well, leaving him with ~30,000 yen of "disposable" income a month is more or less fair.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

How about flogging the same CD inside a multitude of 'limited edition' covers with the incentive of acquiring a ticket to shake the awkwardly nervous hand of an underage girl ?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Another great article from Japan Today. Keep up the good work!

And 23 comments so far from JT's well informed readers on all aspects of the article... except... the part about "JK business" ;-)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is it? While I was in Japan awhile back, they said the minimum required for a person to live with some dignity (Constitutionally guaranteed right) is something like 120,000 yen per month, so let's say his total is about that. This facility gives him residence, a benefit in itself easily worth 40000 or 50000 yen per month. It seems to also cover basics like electricity and water. If they provide meals as well, leaving him with ~30,000 yen of "disposable" income a month is more or less fair.

Boy, you sure make quite a few assumptions based on no information.

A private facility took him in, gave him a bed in its dorm, and filed his welfare applications for him. So far so kind and helpful, but the welfare payments were actually paid not to Suzuki but to the head of the facility, who doled out 1000 yen a day to Suzuki and kept the rest. “To tell you the truth,” Suzuki tells Spa!, “I don’t even know how much I’m entitled to.” He wants to leave the facility but doesn’t dare – “they tell me they’ll have my benefits cut off.” And so, against his will, he stays on, a poverty-stricken but valuable cash cow for his supposed benefactors.

No where in the article does it mention anything other than he is being threatened with having his benefits cut off (which is extortion) also it says nothing about food, electricity, nor water, which would be negligible since he is in a dorm.

He is forced to allow the facility to control his welfare payments and only gets 1,000 per day and a place to sleep.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm trying to suggest something other than the worst case using the information given. You are right that his dorm is making a profit out of this, because there are economies when you buy in bulk. However, if he doesn't live in that dorm, he'll have to pay the rent for a place to sleep and the electricity and the water and the food from within his welfare packet. What kind of living will he realistically be having in such a case? Will he have 30,000 yen of disposable income?

And if that place really had no electricity and water, or the guy's forced to pay for it out of that 30,000 yen he does get, I think given the tenor of this article we'd have heard about it already.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Kazuaki it's still illegal to extort money, and all the time you obfuscate the subject by making assumptions and assertions that you dont know about.

He is being screwed, it's illegal.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And 23 comments so far from JT's well informed readers on all aspects of the article... except... the part about "JK business" ;-)

Why does the article even mention this?- "joshi kosei". There are always shady plots & ploys (some both willingly and unwillingly) involving girls this young. In Japan, this goes without saying.

the “business” in question commercially exploits, it almost goes without saying, the sexual attractiveness of girls to men old enough, as likely as not, to be their fathers.

Again, this is so typical in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why would politicians spend more on getting elected than the office pays in salary?

There is big money to be made in selling out the peoples' interests to big business.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Price fixing is a great idea, and in Japan this practice rips off millions every year. Of course it is illegal, but as with cultural practices, it is overlooked.

And another great idea for ripping people off is to create a new and very expensive military which is unneeded and unnecessary. Trillions of yen can be ripped off from the people to fund military projects which will be carried out by Japan Inc.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

For those who have something against mobile contracts. A word of advice...do not sign up new contracts or renew handsets at all those flashy electronic stores or resellers. Going directly to to the carrier shop will save you having to sign up for things you don't want. Docomo followed bu AU have the best service. Softbank and notably Ymobile not so much. Basically all resellers get commissions and a contract signed up with all extras is worth more in commissions.

By going to carriers directly one can sigh-up for a basic handset and all you can call plan only, no email, no internet etc. Which is something one cannot do at Biccamera or Yamada etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NHK should be the first rip-off entity mentioned. Talking about morals. How can an establishment harass the poor so they can make a profit? If a TV comes with an apartment and you do not use it, why are you harassed into paying? You are conserving trying to make ends meet, and they on the other hand are sending out their collectors to take away the little you have so they can increase their profit margin. A body subsidized by the government using tax payers money on top of that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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