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Why has 85 million yen been found in the garbage in Japan this year?
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승인 2017.09.14  18:03:17
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▲ Photo courtesy Ben Kerckx

According to an NHK article, the amount of money that has been found in the garbage in Japan so far this year has already reached about 85 million yen.

[Note]
Check Yen to US Dollar.


This cash, the total amount of which is significantly more than a regular businessperson’s salary, has been found in the trash throughout Japan.

In one notable case on July 14, a woman who was separating trash from garbage in Kaga City in the Ishikawa prefecture found a box containing a significant number of 10,000 yen notes and reported it to the police. Police found that the box contained around 20 million yen.

▲ Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The police are looking for the owner of the money.

So, why is all this cash being thrown away as trash?

Well, one case that took place in Numata, Gunma Prefecture, can perhaps give you a hint.

A lot of money was found in a drink box while the house of a deceased elderly man who lived by himself was being demolished.

This elderly man did not tell his family that he kept money at home. This means that when the house was demolished, the drink box was thrown away with all the other trash.

In Japan, it is common for elderly people to keep cash at home and not tell their family. This is according to the Household Goods Arrangement Counseling Service, a service that organizes the belongings left in a home when an elderly person passes away.

They said that they have found cash stores of around 10 million yen several times.

Secondly, there has been an increase in so-called ‘closet deposits’ in which cash is kept at home instead of in a bank.

Hideko Kumano, Daiichi Life Economics Research Chief Economist, pointed out that "due to the decrease in the exemption tax rate for inheritance tax two years ago, people tend to hold cash to avoid paying more tax.”

In addition, as a result of the large-scale monetary easing by the central bank, there are fewer incentives for people to hold their money in a bank. It is also thought that there may be financial instability in the future. Because of this, many people would rather have cash at home to make it easier to access when necessary.

NHK said that the total amount of bills circulated on the market surpassed 100 trillion yen (about 1,000 trillion won) for the first time last December. This is in part due to the large amount of cash that was supplied by the central bank's large-scale monetary easing policy.

Perhaps, it is possible to say that the money being found in the garbage is a mirror of the distorted Japanese economy.

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