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Park employee didn’t collect admission fees from 160,000 foreigners over 2 1/2 years because one scared him

81 Comments

A 71-year-old former employee at Shinjuku Gyoen park failed to collect admission fees to the park from at least 160,000 foreigners between April 2014 and December 2016, park officials said.

The man said he stopped asking foreign visitors for the 200-yen entrance fee at the ticket counter after one of them yelled at him, and he felt intimidated after that, Sankei Shimbun reported.

The environment ministry, which manages the park, has penalized the man one month's salary. After the news came to light last week, the employee submitted his resignation and offered to return half of his retirement money — approximately 300,000 yen.

According to park authorities, the man provided free entry tickets to the park to foreign visitors and then deleted the records from the ticket database. Another employee noticed that the number of printed tickets did not match the recorded number of visitors to the park in the database.

Officials said he was not good at English and was afraid of foreigners after he was “shouted at” by one tourist for not speaking a foreign language. After that incident, he said he was afraid to collect money from foreign visitors. He was quoted as saying he did not think of his actions as embezzlement.

Around 2 million people visited Shinjuku Gyoen, a popular cherry blossom and autumn foliage sightseeing spot, in 2016, many of whom were foreigners.

© Japan Today


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Poor guy. Got yelled at. Afraid of foreigners. Afraid to tell anyone he works with. And now he's offering to give back half his retirement money. Sheesh he's making my heart bleed.

30 ( +33 / -3 )

This is one of the reasons I've always avoided working with the public when I was in my teens, it's just not worth being yelled at for no apparent reason. People are people. There will be always a jerk to spoil your day.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

He got yelled at by some d-bag foreigner over ¥200? Kind of makes me feel embarrassed.

23 ( +28 / -5 )

offered to return half of his retirement money — approximately 300,000 yen

Is this what he gets per month or is that all of it? If that is all he gets to retire and live off of, that's not much. If that is a per month amount then that's fine.

Another employee noticed that the number of printed tickets did not match the recorded number of visitors to the park in the database.

What's this guys excuse? How long had he noticed this discrepancy and why did it take him so long to say something. I would imagine that at the end of the day, you count the numbers of tickets issued to the amounts of revenue collected and after about 1 day you should be able to see a trend of them not matching. Must have been not only a fear of foreigners, but an overall hostile work environment also.

As for the foreign visitor, shame on him for being obnoxious.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@Risky I've been embarrassed for years.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

"Officials said he was not good at English and was afraid of foreigners after he was “shouted at” by one tourist for not speaking a foreign language."

I guess for many people in this country, the first rule of ass-covering is to take advantage of ingrained xenophobic fears.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

VERY SIMPLE , YELL BACK. He or she is on yr home-ground.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

There are more holes in his story that a block of oh-so-scary Swiss cheese!

12 ( +16 / -4 )

I guess that is a huge amount of revenue lost because of his actions, but who shouts at someone for not speaking a foreign language, especially when they're in a foreign country?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

offered to return half of his retirement money — approximately 300,000 yen

Is this what he gets per month or is that all of it? If that is all he gets to retire and live off of, that's not much. If that is a per month amount then that's fine.

Most/a lot of English teachers make well less than 300,000yen/month, so there's no way an old man handing out tickets would make anything near that!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What a joke. Where's your spine, old man? Way to go! Just continue with the same old yarn. Maybe foreigners aren't scary; it's possible that you're just weak! Answer me this: is it in Japanese blood to disown any responsibility for their own actions, and to skew the story so it's always someone else's fault?

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

Assuming he hasn't actually been pocketing the money himself, I feel rather sorry for him.
It's rather poor that a taxpayer-run cash business has systems so leaky that a cash shortfall of 32 million yen can go missing before someone notices.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

what a jerkass foreigner for yelling at an old man....

3 ( +9 / -6 )

This guy has obviously been skimming for himself.

Kudos for not using the "I was drunk and don't remember a thing" line.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He's obviously pocketed that cash.

Moderator: No libelous statements are permitted.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wonder what nationality the tourist/dh was? Probably ____ or perhaps ----.

Very sad story indeed, feel for the guy. Although the employee should have handled the issue differently, I hope his boss will show some empathy and won't fine him nor accept his retirement money. The poor man must have felt anxious/threatened every time he saw a foreigner :(

As for the gaijin, what a doucher! Having a go at a 70yo local man for not speaking a foreign language is pretty poor form.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ouch that is over 3 million yen of missing income. Someone didnt do their homework properly. Surely someone at the financial department could've noticed some income was missing?

but who shouts at someone for not speaking a foreign language, especially when they're in a foreign country?

Douchebags come in all shapes and sizes.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Ouch that is over 3 million yen of missing income.

30 million even!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm curious how he managed to let 160,000 foreigners in for free without anyone noticing for two and a half years. So he's not good at English. Presumably then, when there's a long line of people he's just shouting "Free, free!" at every round eye who comes to his booth and giving them a free ticket. This must have caused some confusion as there is a prominent sign listing the cost of tickets in several languages (I think). Not to mention the employee in the next booth failing to notice this. Also, there must have been at least one occasion when an Asian American or English speaking Chinese, Japanese or Korean person was in the queue behind a foreigner who got in for free only to be told that they had to pay ¥200. And that line, "He was quoted as saying he did not think of his actions as embezzlement." That's a rather odd thing to put in. He's lost the government ¥32m and they penalised him one month's salary?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I know some Japanese are too weak and get scared to handle these kind of simple and conmon situations but I really feel sorry for this poor old guy. And I am really embarrassed and feel angry on that dumbass foreigner who yelled at him. I would have kicked him out.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Imma try shouting at the tax collectors...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My bad, but I wasn't yelling at the guy on purpose. I had forgotten to take out my earphones. So that's what happened...oops. I was wondering why I didn't have to pay that day.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

He got yelled at by some d-bag foreigner over ¥200? Kind of makes me feel embarrassed.

From the article it seems like he got yelled at for not speaking a foreign language.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm calling BS on the old man. He is just using the "foreigner" card to garner sympathy. He was probably just lazy and thought that his excuse might be plausible in the ear of his superiors.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Officials said he was not good at English and was afraid of foreigners after he was “shouted at” by one tourist for not speaking a foreign language.

How would he know this if he doesn't speak any foreign languages?

The guy is either dishonest, a fool, or both.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

This is a training issue it's not this guys fault at all.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Some foreigners can be real arseholes, and when they get frustrated at not being able to understand what's going on, or not being understood straightaway, or not getting what they want at once, they get all red-faced and sweaty and shouty. Horrid. I can well understand the old fellow's desire to avoid them.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

And I am really embarrassed and feel angry on that dumbass foreigner who yelled at him.

Why? How do you know it was someone from a native English speaking country? (assuming that is where you're from). Remember, the vast majority of foreigners coming to Japan are from other Asian countries. Native English speaking tourists are a very small but visible minority.

It could have been someone who is so proud of having learnt to speak English that they feel entitled to curse out everyone who hasn't. I've seen this situation play out many many times while travelling around the world, most recently by a Chinese man berating a McDonalds employee in Austria. I have yet to see any native English speaker curse anyone out for not being able to speak English.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

so he basically didn't do his job for two years! Kinda not useful in CSRs

3 ( +3 / -0 )

theougou

He got yelled at by some d-bag foreigner over ¥200? Kind of makes me feel embarrassed.

From the article it seems like he got yelled at for not speaking a foreign language

So it does. Good call. Still douchey behaviour though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just as an addendum to my previous remark: I've seen plenty of foreigners act like pompous entitled idiots to Japanese people before. I'm ashamed to say I've done it myself too. I don't want my above remark to be construed as being a "them vs. us" type of thing. I just find the story to be full of holes - it doesn't seem to make any sense.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How do they know it was 160,000 foreigners?

I feel sorry for this poor old bloke - there are some tourists (I'm assuming they are tourists) who are arrogant and boorish, behaving in a manner that makes the skin crawl. I've seen them at the hotel I stay at in Tokyo, shouting at the staff who just bow and apologise for nothing they appear to have done. I think this poor chap must have come up against one of them: loud, think they own the world... gits basically.

If a person abuses staff, verbally as well as physically, call security and have the gobsht removed from the premises. That's what should be happening as a matter of course. Staff security and well being is the management's responsibility.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This story is either totally TRUE(if so its patently ABSURD this went on for years costing around Y32,000,000) & the accounting staff ALSO need to be fired

Or he was embezzling the whole time & the accounting staff need to be fired!!!

Or the story is even more bizarre then any of us can imagine!!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

the man provided free entry tickets to the park to foreign visitors and then deleted the records from the ticket database.

I would say that there is a very high likelihood that this man was embezzling, and now playing the foreigner card to create a diversion.

Embezzlement is rampant in Japan, particularly in non-profits and small companies. The police do little to pursue these crimes, and the criminals if caught get off lightly, usually without arrest or a criminal record.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

but who shouts at someone for not speaking a foreign language, especially when they're in a foreign country?

I've seen a few A-hole American servicemen treat this country as a vanquished enemy and demand that people speak English. This poor guy, obviously a breakdown in communication from management.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I don't believe him.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Whether he was knowingly deceitful or just pathetically spineless, his negligence needs to be prosecuted; otherwise, every embezzling employee in the service sector will have the perfect excuse come 2020...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I dont believe him either, I never heard of someone here getting free entrance just cause they dont speak Japanese. Calling this BS - he probably pocketed cash and now blaming it on foreigners.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Did he not collect them or did he collect the fee and pocket it?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If he let as many as 160,000 foreigners into the park without paying, it probably wouldn't be difficult to locate a few to corroborate the story. That's over 5,000 foreigners a month.

Are there any JT readers who have been to Shinjuku Gyoen over the last 30 months, either paid or no entrance charge?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Never heard about anyone not paying...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I dont believe him either, I never heard of someone here getting free entrance just cause they dont speak Japanese.

I haven't either but I still think it's pretty easy to get away with not paying ( a tix, product etc) in Japan especially if you're a 'big, intimidating gaijin'. Pretty sure that many J staff would not stop me if I decided NOT to stop/pay even if they had noticed what's going on. The 'foreigner complex' imo still exists in Japan although it may not be as prevalent as it used to.

Not saying the 70yo man's story is 100% legit but I reckon it is a plausible, although absurd for most of us, explanation.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Nice story. If he is bluffing, then he has pocketed over 300,000 dollars. Reminds me of the time on England when a guy collected parking fees at a local zoo for ten years. One day he didn't turn up for work, so the zoo rang the local council and suggested that they send another parking officer over. The council replied that they thought the guy worked for the zoo. Turns out he made millions, and then did a runner.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

He should be praised for his generosity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some foreigners can be real arseholes, true, ive met my fair share of J arseholes as well, problem is many Japanese just tolerate it to the point of it being abuse!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This guy claims to have let 160,000 "foreigners" in for free in just two and a half years?

That many foreign people, just walking past his ticket gate alone, on just ~600 or so working days (assuming he's a full timer)?

Roughly 1.26 million people visit that park in total in a year (Wikipedia). Let's say 3.5 million visitors, total, in two and a half years, total. What percent would be visibly foreign? What percentage of those would even attempt to walk in without a ticket?

Of those, what percent are likely to be served by this particular ticket taker?

I just don't see how he gets to 160,000. I wouldn't be surprised if the total number to even visit the park in those 2 1/2 years weren't this high.

Maybe some rude guest intimidated this guy to the point where he was afraid to ask anyone for their ticket. But the numbers seem to allow for the possibility that we've got another case of the big, bad foreigner serving as scapegoat.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I am sorry but I find the reason given by this man totally absurd.

Nothing at hand shows that what he says is the truth, remember that lying in Japan is quite a national sport, but let's believe that what he says is true. What kind of silly person would try to justify such a behavior by saying that because one tourist yelled at him once, he somehow decided that the other 160,000 would do the same? Wouldn't a rational person with a functioning brain just let know his managers about the incident and ask advice on how to deal with agressive tourists?

Sorry it seems to me a pathetic attempt to again blame foreigners instead of admitting that he just screwed up big.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

He probably thinks that's it's completely normal to be 100% xenophobic and an excuse to not do your job. More likely...he's been skimming off the top for years on the ticket sales. Good lord, a gaijin once upon a time raised their voice to you??? You are just making yourself look senile.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Did he give out free tickets to foreigners?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@ vinarius@pm.catv.ne.jp: it's not so easy if you see how agressive some people can be. I would not be surprised if this was some jerk from china. Recently I saw more and more chinese tourists in Japan, and some of them don't care if there are other people in their way. You just get pushed away.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm pretty afraid of some foreigners here too......

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If true, I do find it funny when someone goes to one of the most expensive cities on the planet and gripes over 200yen.

I do know people working at Todaiji in Nara Park where the entrance fee is like 500yen or so and some foreign tourists just barge in even though there is a line for tickets to get in. Then when approached, they either complain or play the innocent tourist card.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Let me guess: no Japanese ever 'yelled' at him, right? Oh those big bad scary foreigners. I feel sorry for this poor innocent Japanese man. Not.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If he doesn't speak English...how does he know what they were shouting at him about? In any case, does he think we all act this way? If he had been shouted at by a Japanese person, would he have stopped collecting admission fees from them as well? Kinda discriminatory, no...?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If he had been shouted at by a Japanese person, would he have stopped collecting admission fees from them as well?

It just leads to the suspicion that he did collect the money but kept it for himself and when found out came up with a "I'm a feeble old man, I was scared....." story. Hence the fact he had no problem with offering up some money, because he would still be ahead in the game.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Look.... just because he says "a foreigner yelled at me", so I stopped collecting, does not mean that is the exact truth. The guy is a weasel and possibly the type to make up any excuse.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Anyone who has been in Japan know how this can be true. Japanese people generally don't like conflict. If he took the foreigner's money, he would risk interacting with them and risk not being able to communicate well. Thus by letting them in free no conflict. I have seen this many many times in Japan. From train station ticket gates, office work, buses, tourist places and public events people don't feel the risk of not being able to communicate is worth the trouble. It's the all inclusive MENDOKUSAI method. It's not likely to change anytime soon.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Blame the foreigner. Yup, everything's normal in the land of Nichimoto.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

As silly as this story is, they shouldn't make an old timer give up his retirement.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I don't believe him either. He pocketed the ticket sales, deleted the records thinking his plan was foolproof, and when they confronted him saying that sales from 160,000 tickets were missing, he came up with the "foreigner" story because it would be harder to back-track for evidence whether or not those 160,000 foreigners paid or not, because those "foreigners" are more than likely long gone. They should search his house or check his bank account.

I know, I know, just speculation, but if I were running a business where one of my employees lost $320,000, I would want to get to the bottom of the story regardless if he's 70 y.o. or not....

....actually, IMO this guy should be punished to the full extent of the law, regardless of his age, AND regardless of the supposed reason.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

he is a good man!!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is so Japanese goes everyone.

I have been told by a hairdresser (possibly more than one) as he was cutting my foreigner hair that he used to be afraid of foreigners. I didn't know why he was telling me :-/ Maybe it was because I wasn't big and scary! But as everyone knows, it's the kind of comment/ sentiment that gets tossed around casually here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It can't be BS. Lieing to pay money ? Japanese atre not that much stupid.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

This disgusting, What is the $50,000 for his retirement, Is this a joke, surely that must a be print error, If it not a print error I not blame the worker for double dipping.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is no way he could have actually let that many people in for free for that long with no one catching on. Blaming suspicious foreigners is a common tactic when one is caught embezzling though, saw it at a company I used to work for.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Park employee didn’t collect admission fees from 160,000 foreigners over 2 1/2 years because one scared him

Stories like this are a part of the reason I have no faith in humanity. A small part, but a part nonetheless. You get aggressive people anywhere in the world. If you work in any career that has customers in one form or another, you are guaranteed to meet an aggressive one. Usually a lot more than one. It comes with the job. Somehow I highly doubt it's just the "foreigners" who are aggressive. The locals can be too. Using that as an excuse seems more like a means of garnering ill feelings towards outsiders than an acceotable reason. There will always be a-holes. It's in our nature unfortunately. You just have to deal with it, and remember that not everyone is that bad. You can't blame one bad experience for not doing your job. Besides, as others have pointed out; his story is quite questionable. If he was really letting customers in for free, someone would have noticed long ago. So I wonder what the real story is then?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are there any JT readers who have been to Shinjuku Gyoen over the last 30 months, either paid or no entrance charge?

I visit Shinjuku Gyoen fairly often. You buy your ticket from a machine and insert it into the turnstile gate. No discrimination and no free entry for foreigners.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I agree with LynandRyu. Knowing that information this story seems very shady to me.

Seems like a propaganda story to make Japanese have a pre-determined attitude towards foreigners.

It is probably more like that he took the money, spent the money, and has made up a story to get himself out of any criminal charges.

Doubtful this story will ever be retracted if we find out otherwise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another Yak scam foiled.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SInce the vast majority of foreigners in Japan are Asian, how could he be scared? The image of the blowhard American or German intimidating this poor guy may be visually appealing, but it is not accurate.

I do agree that Chinese tourists have a less than pure record of behavior though. Many have never traveled before, and can be impatient and rude (much like they are at home).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

From NHK: 環境省は「今後このようなことが起こらないよう管理体制を強化したい」として、今回の問題を受けて、窓口などで外国人に対応する職員の研修などを新たに行うことを検討しています。 The Environment Ministry is considering training for those workers who deal with FOREIGNERS to prevent such problems in future.

Other readers see the problem in this statement, right? To me it's giving legitimacy to the "fear of foreigners" that the guy described. Sorry but there aint no training needed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It can't be BS. Lieing to pay money ? Japanese atre not that much stupid. ok maybe just a little then?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wimp.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I feel so sorry for him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

management should show mercy

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I felt scared of a fellow gaijin in Japan, and I am a gaijin too. Anyway, I condone the action of the foreigner who screamed at him, but also, I honestly think the story has some holes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OK this sounds like a cover-up:

  • first of all they have automated gates that only open if you have a ticket with a bar code
  • they would notice discrepancies of tickets vs number of times the doors opened since the purpose of selling a ticket and then using it to go through a gate is to keep track and statistics
  • 160.000 in 2 years and nobody noticed earlier? That's over 200 people a day if he never got any vacations and worked 7 days / week... who this guy had to go out of his way, use an employee access card to let through since all gates are automated
  • over 200 foreigners a day could not figure out that, just like Disney, there's a big place you buy tickets right next to the subway like ticket gates???

I think someone stole the money in the back end and the poor old guy took the fall for it... Why not blame it on rude foreigners :))

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A: he found a way to take the ticket money home, and now blames it on foreigners.

B: He just let 140.000 people in without asking for a ticket.

Okam's razor gives A a higher chance of happening than B....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

who shouts at someone for not speaking a foreign language, especially when they're in a foreign country?

  1. Those who shout in communicable language to poor old man, go off loud voice.
  2. There's net work to spread the know-how of admission free in Japan. Considering these conditions, the 1st probable race is 60% and the 2nd probable race is 30%.
0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whatever happened to the Japanese male after the war? Japanese had pair now majority of male start acting like little girl, stop saying kowai kowai. Time to understand meaning of 大和魂 and start act like one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So this man works in CSR, he serves customers, meets ONE difficult one, and decides to give free entrance to ALL subsequent customer that LOOKS or APPEARS to be similar to this difficult one. But wait to do this he has to consistently MODIFY records to cover his own ass. He is afraid of potentially dealing with customer, which his job entails, but is NOT afraid of ILLEGALLY modifying records and be suspected of embezzlement by the government and going to prison for it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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