Posted on April 13, 2011

Japanese Citizens Turning in Cash Found in Tsunami Zone

Kyung Lah, CNN, April 10, 2011

A tsunami that followed a massive earthquake last month may have destroyed some of Japan’s structures, but police say the honest practice of turning in lost items, especially cash, remains intact.

Residents have turned in lost cash across the tsunami zone at a much higher rate than usual, the Miyagi Prefectural Police Department tells CNN.


Between March 12, the day following the earthquake and tsunami, and March 31, those nine police stations [on the Pacific coastline] collected 10 times the amount of lost cash collected at the other 15 stations combined.

Japanese children, from a young age, are taught to turn in any lost items, including cash, to police stations. The cultural practice of returning lost items and never keeping what belongs to a stranger has meant police departments like Tokyo’s Metropolitan have an entire warehouse filled with lost shoes, umbrellas and wallets.


The lost cash hasn’t been easy to handle, the Miyagi Prefectural Police Department says. Money found along with some identification is being returned, but officers have been able to return only 10% of the cash.

Cash that wasn’t in a wallet is left unclaimed at the police station. After three months, the person who turned in the cash is able to collect that lost money. But police say people are already waiving their rights to claim the cash when they turn it in.


Also found: Hundreds of safes that can’t be opened. If the prefectural government allocates funding for opening the safes, police will start doing so.

Prefectural police believe that these safes could contain not only currency, but bank books, stocks and land deeds, which could give a huge boost to the amount of lost money.

30 responses to “Japanese Citizens Turning in Cash Found in Tsunami Zone”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Its almost unbelievable in this day and age that you would find any people in the world actually being this honest. We have had our own experience with the New Orleans Katrina disaster and the aftermath. Its absolutely beyond imagination of that happening anywhere in the USA. That’s the problem with our so called freedoms and our country will not get better I’m afraid to say.

    Wish I could move to Japan, but they have very strict immigration laws which their courts support. Too bad we learn from them.

  2. Michael C. Scott says:

    The only “looting” I have heard of in the tsunami zone were bottles of beer and juice. These were taken after being found floating in pools in areas with no running, potable water.

    Compare this behavior with the black policewoman who was filmed by reporters looting cheap Chinese athletic shoes from the inside of an intact Wal Mart after Hurricane Katrina.

  3. john says:

    Interesting how racial homogeneity affects the moral behavior of an entire nation, in this case Japan.

    Honor, and the derivative word honesty, mean a great deal in racially homogenous Japan.

    While perhaps not impossible in racially or culturally diverse societies, the record would indicate that these social mores and habits are much more difficult to achieve in such circumstances.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is good. But if the United States had only Japanese

    and white residing there and no other racial or ethnic group

    would this article be posted on AR?

    People tend to make good comment about others not only

    when the are small in numbers but to make other groups

    look bad. America had an history of treating some white

    ethnic group as if they were of another race.

    But it was the presence of blacks and other non-whites

    which resulted in , not only the lost of those stereotypes

    but of whites seeing each other as one.

    It certainly would be good if there were a nation where

    half the population was white and the other half Japanese

    to see how each would view the other. Would it be positive?

    Would one considers the other to have higher IQ than the

    other, a view held by many AR posters? Would

    one be consider to be very honest ?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’d really like to say that I am surprised about this but I can’t. I wasn’t completely ‘racially aware’ at the time, but after being stationed in Japan for two years in the early nineties I really grew to respect thier culture and way of life.

    It’s amazing what a homogeneous society can do, and this disaster is a textbook example of it.

    The funny thing is that when I went to hit the ‘I Agree’ button under the Commenting Guidelines of this article I noticed the Africa in Our Midst link off to the right… This article was how I found AmRen back in 2005!

  6. Anonymous says:

    The racial/ethnic solidarity of the Japanese that was so threatening when it was put to use in attempting to dominate East Asia can also manifest itself in pleasant communitarianism. Not having experienced it myself, I figure they view the forgone opportunities to gain as not wasted, because to the extent they do not benefit individually, someone else in their group eventually will. Probably the same type of solidarity that prompted Boston Brahmins to establish institutions like Harvard and the Boston Public Library, back when they could still plausibly assume that their sacrifice would eventually benefit their own. And, to cause some trouble, the same type of solidarity that allows kibbutzes to keep running. It’s funny to hear Jews claim that kibbutzes are examples of socialism, when they are really examples of the same type of solidarity as national socialism.

  7. Ross says:

    Such incredible honesty would seldom happen in a disaster, like Hurricane Katrina, taking place in America. And it would certainly never happen if an earthquake struck South Africa.

    There are instances of lost money being turned in by honest people in America. But these incidents of honest Americans doing the right thing, to turn in lost cash are so rare, that it is usually only reported in tabloids like THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER!

    If lost money turned into the police in any American city, where the owner could not be found and the person finding it could legally collect it, I don’t think any of us reading this post would decline to even legally collect the money.

    The Japanese are a people, not only of great intelligence, but are also a people traditionally of high honor.

    When the earthquake struck Japan, even the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia, did what it could to help their fellow Japanese.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Many years ago when I lived in New York City a local news station did an experiment. They left a wallet with money and ID on a street in the Bronx and observed what would happen. Well, it so happened that at that time that section of the Bronx had a lot of Irish and Irish-Americans. The news people repeated their little experiment 10 times. It turned out that 7 of the people who picked up the wallet called the “owner” to return the wallet with cash intact. Three people grabbed the wallet and took off. Of the 7 people who turned the wallet in, 6 were Irish.

    When they did the newcast that night and they reported their findings one of the reporters said, “Well, what can we conclude? Are the Irish more honest?”

    I’m not telling this story to praise the Irish, although I’m of Irish descent. My point is that when we lived in a more homogeneous society and before Christianity fell apart, people were generally a lot more honest.

  9. berin says:

    Some years ago, a marching band from ‘historically black’ TSU in Houston took a trip to Japan. The Ocean of Soul it was named. When they encountered the Japanese practice of displaying expensive goods on counters outside the main shop, they were unable to control their natural tendency to steal. When the merchants took note and called the cops, the shamed tour leader was forced to halt the bus and demand return of the loot.

    Sadly predictable – just like LA after Rodney King, Katrina, every hurricane in the Islands, etc. it’s never otherwise.

  10. Anonymous says:

    3 — john wrote at 6:31 PM on April 13:

    john, i don’t think it’s the racial homogeneity that is causing the moral behavior. Isn’t Haiti pretty much filled with just one race of people? And look at them.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The quality of genes determines the level of culture and civilization. Africa, Mexico, etc., and any inner cities in this country can never rise to the level of the Japanese as described in this article. Inherent racial genetic deficiencies cannot be overcome by money as this deluded country is so desperately in trying to do. Billions and still counting wasted down the rat hole. After more than 45 years, it is time to stop wasting taxpayer money! For those who want to continue the racial shakedowns, use your own money.

  12. blitzen51 says:

    Why would an American turn in found money? It would only end up in the pocket of some police chief or politician!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Can anybody in a thousand years ever imagine black New Orleans or black Oakland or large groups of black people anywhere in America doing this?

    I can’t imagine Latinos in America doing this either.

    I guess my question is, would whites do this? Return cash found that doesn’t belong to them?

  14. Mike says:

    A good friend of mine often recalls fondly the time he dropped his wallet in a park in Japan. He was walking through the park when he noticed a Japanese lady busily scurrying about the place talking to various people, before she finally came to him holding his wallet. She had gone through the whole park asking everyone if they had dropped it. They all said no, and she persisted until she found the owner.

    In China, unfortunately, it’s the opposite. On a few occasions I picked up things people dropped to return to them, and they looked at me like there was something wrong with me. Japan truly is unique in this regard.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Its the way of the Bushido,The are proud and their reputation means everything to them,On the other hand hurricane katrina show us what we already knew some people Who make up 12% ofthe us populace do not have a code or any form of self-respect.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Shows you just what can be accomplished in a racially, ethnically, culturally, socially, and religously homogeneous and harmonious environment. Contrast it with New Orleans in 2005. Diversity is anything BUT “strength”.

  17. WR the elder says:

    In answer to Anonymous #4: I for one would have no trouble with “diversity” if the only races in this country were whites, American Indians, and Japanese. Nobody worries that if Japanese move into their neighborhood that crime and noise will increase, or the schools will get worse. Japanese aren’t perfect people but when it comes to crime and intelligence they compare favorably to whites.

    As for American Indians, they were here long before my ancestors were, so despite the conflict that sometimes arises between whites and Indians they have a right to be here, and we’re just going to have to learn to get along.

  18. ^^ Felix ^^ says:

    If this had happened in California the looters would have come into homes (armed) to take any valuables they could find there.

    Asians in many ways are far above us Americans when it comes to banks (they do not trust them) and prefer to hide their cash and valuables.

    The bank pays 1/2% interest on savings accounts and charges the customer $10.00 per month service fee for the privilege of keeping their money for them. ( Wells Fargo is just one )

  19. John Engelman says:

    3 — john wrote at 6:31 PM on April 13:

    Interesting how racial homogeneity affects the moral behavior of an entire nation, in this case Japan.


    I do not think it is “racial homogeneity” as much as race. I suspect Japanese citizens and those of Japanese descent would behave this way anywhere in the world.

  20. John Engelman says:

    Once I found an expensive leather package that contained about a hundred dollars cash, several credit cards, and several important documents including a passport. I turned it it to the police.

    The owner called me, thanked me, said he was about to leave for Europe for a trip that was important to his career, and that he would not have been able to make the trip if he had not recovered his passport.

    Once I lost a check book. I canceled all the checks. Unfortunately, that only lasted for six months. Six months later someone tried to withdraw several thousand dollars from my account. Fortunately, an alert teller detected the crime, and the person was arrested. The person was neither white nor Oriental.

    Part of integrity is being brought up by decent parents, like I was. Part is genetic.

  21. Mr.White says:

    4 — Anonymous wrote at 6:56 PM on April 13:

    This is good. But if the United States had only Japanese

    and white residing there and no other other racial or ethnic group would this article be posted on AR?


    I think I can answer this question for you. If the extent of “multiculturalism” in this country consisted of only Japanese and white Americans, there would be no need to post this article on AR because there wouldn’t be any need for AR in this country.

    Got it?

  22. Anonymous says:

    “I suspect Japanese citizens and those of Japanese descent would behave this way anywhere in the world. ”

    This is true, but if Japan were multiracial the divisions and conflict multiculturalism breeds would erode and eventually destroy the civic responsibility we see on display here. The feeling that one’s nation descends from one tribe and essentially one large family forges social bonds that no multicultural indoctrination could ever emulate. The flooding in Iowa a few years back brought out similar displays of civic duty. Iowa, I imagine, is as close to homogeneous as we have left in our poor country.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The Japanese media is very distorted and not to be believed. East Asians have a habit trying to present a good face. The Emperor of Japan a month ago reminded Japanese to behave because the world is watching. These are the same people who said the Fukushima nuclear disaster was not even close to Chernobyl in scale knowing that it was yet here we are a month later with them ungrading the disaster to a level 7, the same as Chernobyl, on data that is a month old. If anyone watched Greta Van Sustren’s show three Fridays ago you heard first hand experience of what was actually going on. An aid worker reported the second fist fight happening outside while he was interviewed by Greta. There have been reports of people dying of exposure because relief arrived 14+ days after the disaster. Here is a report of 40,000,000 yen stolen from a bank after the earthquake. The bank didn’t notify the police until 11 days after it happened.

  24. Anonymous says:

    8 — Anonymous wrote at 9:56 PM on April 13:

    “My point is that when we lived in a more homogeneous society and before Christianity fell apart, people were generally a lot more honest.”

    If by “homogeneous” you mean racially homogeneous (as opposed to ethnically homogeneous) I’d say that is a controversial statement. If one uses the Larceny-Theft rate (larceny-theft including crimes such as pick-pocketing, shoplifting, purse snatching, thefts from motor vehicles (including vehicle parts and accessories), bicycle thefts, etc., in which no use of force, violence, or fraud occurs) as a measure of “national honesty”, things have actually improved quite a bit in the past 30 years. (see pg. 4)

    One could make the cogent argument, however, that improvement is due to the warehousing of criminals (a disproportionately large amount non-White). Also note that prior to 1965 (and the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, which basically threw open the doors to non-White immigration) the Larceny-Theft rate is actually much LOWER than at anytime since.

    As far as Christianity? I don’t mean to sound like I’m bashing the religion but I’ve never seen any credible evidence that shows it has any major impact on crime rates. If you have it please share it. It’s worth nothing that since WW2 Japan has become a very secularized society, yet this apparently has not had a major impact on the nation’s historically low crime rate.

    9 — berin wrote at 10:35 PM on April 13:

    “Some years ago, a marching band from ‘historically black’ TSU in Houston took a trip to Japan. The Ocean of Soul it was named. When they encountered the Japanese practice of displaying expensive goods on counters outside the main shop, they were unable to control their natural tendency to steal.”

    For anyone who’s interested, this is the incident to which berin is referring. Note Pollack made no attempt to identify the race of the perps (What a surprise!).

    The most laughable line from the article:

    “While most of the items were returned and no charges were pressed, the incident could contribute to the unfavorable image many Japanese hold of Americans.”

    To their credit, the Japanese are a racially conscious people living in a race-conscious society. They KNEW the racial identity of the perps because their media identified them! As one Japanese expat living here in Zoo York City once so eloquently said to me: “We have a saying in Japan: ‘There’s gaijin and then there’s GAIJIN!'” No explanation was necessary.

  25. Baron says:

    It’s too bad that the forces of nature didn’t place Japan on our southern border and Mexico in the Pacific Rim.

  26. Jeff77 says:

    I’m glad to see some of the posters here distinguishing between cultures and simple homogeneity. Homogeneity is apparently of little benefit to the evolution and tranquility of societies when the races and cultures that make up those societies are representative of the “usual suspects.” Iceland and Norway may regularly share space atop the UN’s list of world’s most livable countries (a fact that must surely gall the powers that be at the UN), but if the populations of Iceland and Norway were magically swapped with those of Niger and Mozambique, it wouldn’t be long after when Niger and Mozambique rose significantly in world livability rankings, while Iceland and Norway became Third World pools.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Hat tip to poster number 9.

    This is absolutely fascinating. In 1992, the all-black TSU did indeed make headlines for a mass shoplifting incident.

    I googled it and found this from the LA Times :

    Very unlikely something so unflattering to blacks would be published in this way today.

    From the article :

    All that changed on Tuesday, when Japanese newspapers and television news stations reported the spree, embarrassing the all-black university, forcing it to acknowledge the thefts and causing the school’s president and others to suggest that the already negative Japanese view of blacks had been further eroded.

  28. Anonymous says:

    In furtherance to my previous post, regarding a 1992 LATimes article chronicling the TSU marching band shoplifting spree in Tokyo, it is extremely interesting to note that an article in the New York Times that same year makes no mention of the HBCU status of the offending university :

    From the article :


    Published: December 16, 1992

    Members of an American university’s marching band recently went on a shoplifting spree in Tokyo’s electronics district, taking 119 items valued at about $22,000, the Tokyo police said today.

    While most of the items were returned and no charges were pressed, the incident could contribute to the unfavorable image many Japanese hold of Americans.

  29. Jake Sarcastic says:

    This sounds very similar to what took place in New Orleans after Katrina. Thousands of blacks reaching out to help other people who were less fortunate. Even many of the police seemed to be more active than usual during this time of strife?

    Helping store owners by removing merchandise from the battered buildings.

    I read where a black couple discovered a box full of cash, then found out who the rightful owner was an Returned The Box to him.(Empty of course)

  30. JohnEngelman says:

    The Japanese are civilized people.