Japan sees record returns of lost-and-found items


A record number of lost items in Japan were returned to authorities in 2023, highlighting the country's unwavering commitment to honesty and civic duty.

Key points:

  • A total of 29.79 million lost items, excluding cash, were reported to police nationwide, the highest since 1971.

  • Meanwhile, found cash also reached an all-time high of 22.85 billion yen ($145 million).

  • Tokyo alone saw 4.4 billion yen ($28 million) in lost cash handed in. Of the amount, 3.2 billion yen ($20 million) returned to owners.

The details:

  • The trend of increasing lost-and-found reports was briefly interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic but quickly rebounded as restrictions eased. Authorities are urging pet owners to be more responsible as the number of lost animals also remains high.

  • The rise in lost items is attributed to factors like the miniaturization of electronic devices, increased foot traffic and the proliferation of cashless payments. Small devices such as wireless earphones, mobile batteries and heated tobacco products are frequently lost.

  • The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department reported a 20% increase in lost items. Over 219,000 cell phones were reported lost in Tokyo, with more than half returned to their owners.

  • After three months, unclaimed lost items become the property of the finder. If unclaimed by the finder after five months, they become property of the prefecture.

  • Japan's emphasis on honesty and community responsibility is deeply rooted in its culture and reflected in this remarkable phenomenon.

What's next:

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  • Japan's National Police Agency said it will continue to monitor trends in lost-and-found items and adapt its strategies accordingly.


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