Lost wallets or hard cash reported to the Okinawa Prefectural Police last year had a higher chance of being returned than in the preceding four years, earning praise from foreign tourists who got their money back.
The police said that ¥203.7 million in lost cash was reported in Okinawa in 2018. Of this amount, ¥138.28 million, or 67.9 percent, made its way back to owners — the best return rate since 2014.
Lost money was taken to police in various condition, such as inside a wallet or envelope or just hard cash, according to the finance division. An elementary school student once handed in a ¥10 coin to a police box.
“We can identify an individual who dropped a wallet by checking the person’s driver’s license and other items in it, making it possible to return it,” said Satoshi Kinjo, head of the police station’s finance division. “But it is hard to find the person when the cash was handed in on its own.”
The law on lost property stipulates that cash reported to police must be kept for three months. During that time, officials in each police station’s finance division look for the owners and try to get in touch with them.
After three months, the ownership will be transferred to the individual who picked up the cash. If the individual doesn’t want the money, it ends up in the prefectural coffers.
Last year, Okinawa police logged a record number of reports of lost items, at 168,220. Wallets were the most common item, at 9,852, followed by 7,360 driver’s licenses, 7,339 ATM cards and 6,823 mobile phones.
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