I am probably considered the world’s worst blogger. I’m actually writing this from the library because I am a little tired of studying and figured I MUST get around to this sometime.
I checked out “Law in Everyday Japan: Sex, Sumo, Suicide, and Statutes” yesterday from our university library and so far it has been pretty interesting. It’s chock full of statistics and I am only on chapter 1 right now but I plan on plowing through it at some point.
Anyways, chapter 1 talks about why Japan has such a high rate of return for lost and found items. In 2002 the Japanese police received more than 10 million items and cash totaling $129 million in funds turned in by ordinary people. Of these amounts, more than 70% of the money and 30% of the noncash items are recovered by their owners. I think everyone can agree that if you lose $100 in South Dakota, you don’t have a 70% chance of getting it back. You probably have something around a 20% chance. One story in this book talks of a guy that lost his laptop on a subway in Tokyo and got it back! Something like this definitely wouldn’t have happened in NYC. Maybe I’m being anti-America or maybe I’m just pro-Japan (probably a subtle blend), but this is pretty crazy.
Japanese finder’s law creates incentives to encourage finders to report their finds. It’s a simple system of carrots and sticks, if you will. Japanese civil law provides that a person who finds a lost article shall deposit it with the police or with the security office of the building in which it is found. If the owner claims the object, he or she is required to pay the finder a fee of 5-20% of the object’s value. If no one claims the object in six months and two weeks (hey, don’t ask me - it’s what the book said), the object is returned to the finder.
Although Japanese law contains no penalties for nonrescue, a finder who misappropriates the property for his or her own has committed embezzlement and is subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to one year. Apparently undergoing an investigation in Japan is very socially degrading (the book says it will talk about this subject later) and this is a punishment within itself.
Well, I at least said something. I’m going to try to blog every other day now and share little blurbs. I’m off to go practice violin then I am going to go run with my Chinese friend, Wish.