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Law in Everyday JapanSex, Sumo, Suicide, and Statutes$
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Mark D. West

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226894027

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226894096.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2021

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Chapter:
(p.9) Chapter Two Lost and Found
Source:
Law in Everyday Japan
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226894096.003.0002

This chapter begins with an analysis of lost-and-found practices. Japan is famous for the willingness of its citizens to return lost items to their rightful owners. What most observers do not realize is that these transactions are governed by recognized, centuries-old legal rules that mesh with norms, institutional structures, and economic incentives. The chapter also looks into the official Japanese data of lost and found. The Japanese system has drawbacks. First and perhaps foremost, it seems expensive. If Japan is able to justify such administrative expense because it has very low violent crime rates, it is unlikely that many other countries can copy the Japanese model. Japan may have very low crime rates in part precisely because it devotes administrative resources to such factors as the koban system and zero-tolerance enforcement.

Keywords:   low-level crime, official Japanese data, lost and found, institutional structures, economic incentives, koban system

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