Shoplifting Epidemic in Japan 4,000,000,000 Yen Worth of Books a Year!

April 25, 2008

I’m referring to some news making the rounds in the Japanese media, one article about the shoplifting epidemic in Japan.

(in Japanese) “Hon no Manbiki, Nenkan 40 oku-en” or “Book Shoplifting, 4 Billion yen a year”

One quote at the bottom says it all, “People’s feelings toward shoplifting as a crime have thinned.” That is to say, recently less people consider shoplifting a crime.

Most people slip a book under their coats, but there have been more and more cases of people using baby carriages or other means to steal a greater quantity of books.

Forty percent of the books shoplifted are manga. Thirty percent are those big glossy photo books of gravure models, idols, and actresses.

Seventy percent of shoplifters caught give their reason for doing it as “Ultimately, to get some money for it.” By this they probably mean they’ll sell it to a friend or on an online auction, probably after reading it.

The big shocker is the complaints many parents have made to bookstores saying,
“It’s too bad for the kids who get caught shoplifting. Why do the bookstores put the books where the kids can reach them?”

This is some of the nonsense logic we’re dealing with here these days.

Once kids were caught and their parents were called to the store, many say things like,

“So I guess you want me to pay for the books…”

or look at their children and say things like,

“You were just unlucky to get caught.”

These are just some of the reasons I worry about the future of Japan, and the morality of future (and present) leaders. There’s a very big trend of thinking that seems to emphasize that you’re OK if you don’t get caught, and if you do get caught, all you have to do is apologize or pay up… I’m hoping accountability becomes the trend soon.

For the record, the word in Japanese for “accountibility” is simply the rendering of “accountability” as a loan word from English in katakana. That tells the whole story as far as I’m concerned.

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