Q Why are the Japanese so honest in returning lost articles?

A It is said that in other countries, an owner never gets back his or her lost wallet, while in Japan the chances are high that the wallet will be returned to its rightful owner, but not because the Japanese are honest.

The Japanese have been told since little that lost articles must always be turned in to the koban (police box). There are honest children in Japan who find 10 yen (8 cents) and dutifully turn it in to the koban . The koban, at the end of the police organization, effectively fulfills a role in finding lost articles. As of 1995, 6,498 koban were located throughout Japan.

There is no other country where the police keep a sharp eye out in every corner of the country as Japan. Japan is sometimes criticized as being a police state. When an article is lost, the best way to get it back quick-ly is to report it to the nearest koban without delay.

If on a sudden impulse, someone decides to keep the lost article, the superb investigative ability of the Japanese police will see to it that the person is arrested, something which the Japanese know all too well. When a lost article is spotted, it is either not picked up or if it is picked up, it is brought to the koban just to be on the safe side.