March 7, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Why it’s Almost Impossible to Lose Anything in Japan

by Ashley Dreiling


Unlike other countries, if you lose your wallet or phone in Japan, you are very likely to get it back…and quickly. Their lost and found service owes its success to efficiency, a community-based police force, and most especially, Japan’s strong culture of morality.

In 2019, $35M in cash was lost in Japan, and of that, a whopping $24.9M was returned! Common lost items, including phones, usually find their owners the same day. In Japan, citizens are required to take 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, thriving.


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