Longreads

Did you forget your sunglasses on the shelf of the Kinokuniya bookstore? Leave your umbrella under the izakaya counter? They might end up at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s six-story lost and found center in Bunkyo Ward. Japan is known as a country of citizens so honest that pedestrians won’t pocket money they see lying on a busy city street, and Japan’s Lost Property Law reinforces this. Items as inexpensive and disposable as socks and as irreplaceable as ash-filled urns, even pets, find their way to the center.

A 660-square-meter basement room handles the 3,000 umbrellas that are found in Tokyo on an average rainy day. In 2016, the police processed ¥3.67 billion worth yen worth of lost cash. Seventy-four percent of it was retrieved. (Only 0.8 percent of the umbrellas were.) For The Japan Times, Mizuho Aoki investigates how this system of storage and retrieval works, following the life…

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