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Question regarding lost and found law in Japan

weng

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Hey all, just need some advice.

Yesterday, I found a wallet in the convenience store, and being the somewhat good citizen I am, I picked it up and brought it to the counter, told the store clerk it was dropped. We looked around, but no one was around. So I asked for the nearest police station.

My Japanese isn't that good, so he directed me somewhere which I assumed was the direction I was to go. Turned out it wasn't, and I couldn't find the police station.

Day was getting late, and I was quite in a bit of a rush, and to be completely honest, I didn't have the time or energy to play good Samaritan anymore. Then I got a call from my GF telling me that she was sick.

So I just left the wallet on a bench in the park conspicuously so that someone else could find it and bring it back to the owner properly before rushing off to take care of her.

I felt guilty about it, and went home and searched up the laws on lost and found in Japan, and it tells me that I'm legally obligated to return a wallet if I find it? Have I committed a crime?
 

Mike Cash

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Why did you just ASSUME the next person would return it? They lost it in a conbini, where they would return to look for it, but you threw it away in the park......Nice.

Let's hope the clerk tells it was found and you took it out to give to the police but never did....and they have you on surveillance tapes.

What you did was no different than stealing the wallet. You'd better hope it got turned in.

Does your Japanese include 無責任 or 大きなお世話 ?

Yes, you committed a crime.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1432090526.578687.jpg
 
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weng

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Why did you just ASSUME the next person would return it? They lost it in a conbini, where they would return to look for it, but you threw it away in the park......Nice.

Let's hope the clerk tells it was found and you took it out to give to the police but never did....and they have you on surveillance tapes.

What you did was no different than stealing the wallet. You'd better hope it got turned in.

Does your Japanese include 無責任 or 大きなお世話 ?

Yes, you committed a crime.

View attachment 21036
I checked later today, and the wallet was gone from where I left it, which I can only assume that someone returned it.

When you say that it's a crime, is it a very serious crime?

Would it have been better to just pass it to anyone even if they weren't a police officer?

I honestly feel really bad about it :/

And no, I don't speak japanese well enough to know those kanji, or to read the image you posted.
 

Mike Cash

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Up to a year in prison and/or up to ¥100,000 fine. Is that serious enough for you?

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1432091564.456662.jpg
 

weng

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Up to a year in prison and/or up to ¥100,000 fine. Is that serious enough for you?

View attachment 21037
You know, I'm not sure what you think of me, but I really did it with the best of intentions. I may have made a mistake, but I really feel hurt by the antagonism.

I'm new to the country, and have no idea of these laws.

Isn't that only applicable if I keep the item? I didn't keep it, I tried to return it. But because of my poor knowledge of the country, I didn't manage to. So I didn't want the responsibility and left it.
 

Mike Cash

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Dude, you assumed responsibility for the safekeeping of that wallet the second you picked it up. You could have reasonably left it with the clerk or asked the clerk to CALL a cop to come get it, but you decided to leave the store with it and throw it away in a park. You could have taken it BACK to the store, but you were tired of playing and instead you threw it away in the park.

And you STILL want a pat on the back for your worthless good intentions, which boggles the mind. Put yourself in the owner's shoes. Would you appreciate it if someone picked up your wallet forgotten in a place with a very high chance of it being returned and then took it out and threw it away in a park? Put yourself in the cops' shoes if they find you (which I hope they do).....there's a witness to you having the wallet and leaving with it, and you can't prove you didn't steal the cash and ditch the wallet.

If you lack the Japanese ability and/or the maturity and sense of responsibility to handle adult matters on your own, then don't interject yourself into other people's grown-up affairs. Some gaijin tourist wants to PLAY Dudley Do-Right until he gets bored with it and somebody who could have probably had his wallet back is instead a VICTIM. Does your feeling bad change his financial loss or hassle?

Does that clear up what I think of you?

By the way, ignorance of the law is no excuse in Japan either. I can show you the statute that says so, if you like.
 
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weng

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Dude, you assumed responsibility for the safekeeping of that wallet the second you picked it up. You could have reasonably left it with the clerk or asked the clerk to CALL a cop to come get it, but you decided to leave the store with it and throw it away in a park. You could have taken it BACK to the store, but you were tired of playing and instead you threw it away in the park.

And you STILL want a pat on the back for your worthless good intentions, which boggles the mind. Put yourself in the owner's shoes. Would you appreciate it if someone picked up your wallet forgotten in a place with a very high chance of it being returned and then took it out and threw it away in a park? Put yourself in the cops' shoes if they find you (which I hope they do).....there's a witness to you having the wallet and leaving with it, and you can't prove you didn't steal the cash and ditch the wallet.

If you lack the Japanese ability and/or the maturity and sense of responsibility to handle adult matters on your own, then don't interject yourself into other people's grown-up affairs. Some gaijin tourist wants to PLAY Dudley Do-Right until he gets bored with it and somebody who could have probably had his wallet back is instead a VICTIM. Does your feeling bad change his financial loss or hassle?

Does that clear up what I think of you?

By the way, ignorance of the law is no excuse in Japan either. I can show you the statute that says so, if you like.
Look mate. I get it. I screwed up. You don't think I know that? I feel horrible.

I wasn't tired of playing with it. My girlfriend was sick and I rushed off to take care of her.

I don't want a pat on the back, and if I ever get to meet the owner, I'll buy him a meal or something to make it up to him. Heck, even if he wants to claim he had like hundreds of dollars in it, I would pay him just because I feel so bad about it.

Thanks for your information and for your time in searching up all those things for me. It really was a great help. I'm going to head down to the police station when I get the chance and tell them about what happened.

Hopefully everything works out.
 

Mike Cash

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You absolutely should go to the police and make it clear you plan to apologize and fully reimburse the owner for the contents of the wallet. That's a good idea.

Make sure you find them before they find you, though, if you really intend to do it. Your protestations will fall on deaf ears otherwise.
 
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weng

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You absolutely should go to the police and make it clear you plan to apologize and fully reimburse the owner for the contents of the wallet. That's a good idea.

Make sure you find them before they find you, though, if you really intend to do it. Your protestations will fall on deaf ears otherwise.
Alright I spoke to someone from my university, who assured me that since it was a 落とし物 in the first place, it wasn't my responsibility. I was unconvinced, especially looking at the law, so we went down to the local koban to talk to the officer.

The officer also told me that it wasn't my responsibility, and that I had nothing to worry about.

All's well that ends well I guess.

I know that I'm not going to do any more good deeds unless I can see them through to the end.

Thanks for the help.
 

Mike Cash

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The first screenshot I posted showed links to news articles about people ARRESTED for not turning in wallets. What a flatfoot in a koban told you when there has been no report filed is no indication of what an investigating detective would tell you if the owner talks to the clerk and files a complaint with the police. But you've largely immunized yourself from any real hassle by showing up and talking to them first. Good on you.

Did your university also tell you that you threw away the wallet you also threw away your own money? You're legally entitled to a portion of the money found (typically 10%) unless you specifically waive the right when you turn it in. The police give you a copy of the form which the owner has to get from you (when he pays the reward) in order to reclaim his stuff from the cops. If not claimed in six months, you get everything. If you're wondering how I know, I've found and turned in wallets four times. I always waived the reward. Would you care to guess how many of them showed even the decency of calling to say "thanks"?
 

weng

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The first screenshot I posted showed links to news articles about people ARRESTED for not turning in wallets. What a flatfoot in a koban told you when there has been no report filed is no indication of what an investigating detective would tell you if the owner talks to the clerk and files a complaint with the police. But you've largely immunized yourself from any real hassle by showing up and talking to them first. Good on you.

Did your university also tell you that you threw away the wallet you also threw away your own money? You're legally entitled to a portion of the money found (typically 10%) unless you specifically waive the right when you turn it in. The police give you a copy of the form which the owner has to get from you (when he pays the reward) in order to reclaim his stuff from the cops. If not claimed in six months, you get everything. If you're wondering how I know, I've found and turned in wallets four times. I always waived the reward. Would you care to guess how many of them showed even the decency of calling to say "thanks"?
The general gist of the matter I got from the people I've spoke to thus far is
1) It's not your responsibility, since it was a lost item in the first place.
2) You've tried your best, and you're a foreigner, so don't worry so much about it.
3) It's not a big deal, and you've already come forward and been very open about it, so you have nothing to fear.
4) I doubt the police are going to investigate such a small matter, especially if the wallet contains less than 30,000 yen.
5) The guy who lost his wallet can't prove he even had money in it in the first place.

Still, I feel better about coming forward. And if the owner shows up claiming that his money is missing, I'll be happy to reimburse him.

I didn't know about that! Thanks for letting me know.

I would think that all of them did?
 

Mike Cash

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One. A Chinese exchange student.
 

Glenski

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I wasn't tired of playing with it.

I didn't have the time or energy to play good Samaritan anymore.

How can you say the red line when you clearly stated the blue? Doesn't matter that your GF was sick. Unless it was a life or death emergency, you probably had time to go back to the conbini or at least the next day return and visit a police box.
 

Mike Cash

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I think I probably beat him up enough....
 
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