Why it’s Impossible to Lose Anything in Japan


In 2019, $35M in cash was lost in Japan, and of that, a whopping $24.9M was returned! Commonly lost items, including phones, usually find their owners the same day. In Japan, citizens are required to take the lost property to the Koban (police station). From there, it is either returned or stored at the Tokyo hub until claimed. Unclaimed property is auctioned off by the city.

Japan’s high rate of lost item return is due mainly to the culture of the Japanese, and what they refer to as the ‘societal eye.’ Young children are taught not to keep things that don’t belong to them, with parents often accompanying them to the police station as a learning opportunity. A strong sense of individual honor and fear of public shame keeps the system, and the country, flourishing.

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