Chapter

Lost and Found

in Law in Everyday Japan

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780226894027
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226894096 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226894096.003.0002
Lost and Found

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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

Chapter.  18914 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Law

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