This May Be the World’s Most Honest City

More than $30 million worth handed over in 2016, police say.
In addition to keys and eyeglasses and other commonly lost objects, millions of dollars worth of cash reaches the Tokyo police’s lost and found department every year.

In fact, last year people handed over a record 3.67 billion yen ($32 million) in lost cash, and about three-quarters of that money ended up back with its rightful owners, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

In fact, last year people handed over a record 3.67 billion yen ($32 million) in lost cash, and about three-quarters of that money ended up back with its rightful owners, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

It’s a phenomenon that reflects the Japanese people’s devotion both to cash and to returning lost property.
There was about 103 trillion yen in cash circulating in 2015 — equivalent to about 19 percent of Japan’s annual output. That’s the highest level among 18 developed nations and regions studied (PDF) in a Bank of Japan report released in February.

Holding cash presents relatively little risk in Japan. The country has battled deflation for more than a decade, making cash a profitable investment at times. Even now, after four years of extraordinary quantitative easing by the central bank, interest rates are at about zero.

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