The country where it is almost impossible to lose things
- BBC News World
Every year, millions of personal belongings are lost in Japan.
But unlike other countries, if you lose your phone or wallet in that country, you will most likely get it back.
All lost property is stored at the Lost Property Center in Lidabashi, Tokyo.
In 2019, a record 4.15 million missing items were delivered and found at this site.
Currently, the center stores Over 600,000 pieces missing.
As Yukiko Igarashi, head of the Lost Property Center in Tokyo, explains, about 7,700 missing items were delivered daily.
“Tokyo has 20% of the total missing items in Japan,” he says.
“And the item with the highest recovery rate is cell phone.
“About 90% of lost cell phones are returned to their owners,” he says.
Igarashi says the second most frequently recovered items are wallets. Almost 70% of these are returned to their owners.
“Another common loss is official documents, such as driver’s licenses, health insurance cards, or store credit or debit cards,” he says.
Most lost items are often returned the same day they were lost.
But some are not so lucky and rarely return to their owners.
“The lowest return rate for umbrellas, less than 1%,” says Igarashi. “You can easily replace a cheap plastic umbrella, so people are not often looking for it.”
Ease of reporting
But what is the secret of the success of Japan’s lost and existing system?
“on the principle, All missing items are delivered to “Kuban”.or the police station,” says the head of the Lost and Found Center.
In Sukiyabashi Kuban, Officer Wada says, “The duties of a Kuban police officer include patrolling the area, accepting lost property, and filing lost property reports.”
“Also pay attention to people who are lost or intoxicated, listen to citizens about issues that can cause problems, and deal with traffic accidents or criminals,” he adds.
The Kuban officers show a different image from that of police officers elsewhere.
The societal approach and the ubiquity of Cuban makes it easy to report a missing item.
“On average, we receive seven missing items per day at Sukiyabashi Koban,” Wada says.
But what happens if no one claims the missing items?
“If the owner does not appear for a certain period [en la Koban]The article will be moved to the center [de Objetos Perdidos]Yukiko Igarashi explains it.
And if no one picks up the item downtown, The person who returned it can claim it Three months later.
If they prefer not to keep the item, the property will be transferred to the city, which can auction it off.
“The most memorable thing I ever received was an envelope containing $8,800 in cash,” says agent Wada.
He says, “I was surprised!”
Head of the Lost Property Center Yukiko Igarashi explains that it is not unusual to see large sums of money like that obtained by a police officer.
“For me the most unforgettable thing It was artificial teeth and crutches. Ever wondered how a landlord can go home without them?
“There are a lot of rare items to get lost!”
The efficient system facilitates the return of lost items. But this process would not be possible without the people of Japan.
“For more than 1,000 years, Japan has had a lost property law,” Igarashi explains.
“I personally believe that moral education in Japan played an important role in shaping our attitude towards lost property,” he says.
Even today, children are taught to return lost objects.
“You often see children hand over lost items in the Cuban with their parents, even if it is only a 100 yen ($0.88) coin,” Igarashi says.
Professor Masahiro Tamura of Kyoto Sangyo University believes that the first time most people interact with the police in their lives may be when they go to hand over their lost possessions to Koban.
“This creates a close relationship between clients and ordinary citizens,” he says.
Japanese concept of “hitono-mewhich means ‘the eye of the community’It is an important part of the process.
Professor Tamura says, “Our inner morals often help us to modify our behaviour, but also the ‘eye of society’.”
Culture prevents people from doing the wrong things, even without the presence of the police.
“Japanese care a lot about the way others perceive their behavior, so their attitude toward lost property is tied to their image in society,” says Tamura.
Ethical discipline is maintained even when natural disasters occur.
“Often when disasters happen in Japan, crime doesn’t increase,” says Tamura. “The only exception was during the Fukushima disaster, when we had crime cases.”
“So I think The power of people’s eyes on us is much greater from the authority of the public authority.”
The pandemic has reduced the number of things missing in Japan. But nevertheless, the center received 2.8 million items.
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