Tokyo Olympic Security and the Return of Lost Personal Property

Blessed Are They Who Lose Their Personal Property During the Tokyo Olympics, For They Shall Find It Again

Lost property usually does not result in life threatening consequences. Even so, most foreign security and safety officials at the Tokyo Olympics will likely respond to at least a few incidents of personal property lost by athletes and others attending the games. Happily for them, in Japan more than any other country in the world lost personal property (including large amounts of cash) is routinely recovered by its owner.

Lost, but not forever!
Lost, but not long!

Foreigners well acquainted with Japan find it entertaining to read articles in foreign publications (here, here, and here) that breathlessly describe this extraordinary and delightful part of Japanese society. One of the articles reported that one lost property center in Tokyo was trying to find the owner of a wheelchair; how do you lose a wheelchair? It’s difficult for someone who is not Japanese to fathom the reasons lost personal property in Japan is routinely returned to its rightful owner. Above all Japan is a law abiding and rule following society. Courtesy and consideration are also very important in Japanese society as is a sense of community responsibility.

One time the author lost a valuable (approximately $500) commuter train pass. He stopped at a police box at the train station where he noticed the loss and reported the it to the police. Within a week he got a post card from the regional police station which informed him his commuter train pass had been found and returned and he had 30 days to claim it. Needless to say he scampered down to the police station to claim the pass. And then there’s this news story about how workers at an industrial waste processing facility in Kyoto found Yen 23,000,000 in cash (about U.S. $210,000.00) and turned it in to the police.

Another time the author visited a scenic Japanese tourist spot with some American friends where they all ate a snack in a small restaurant before beginning a 20 minute walk up a path to a great place to take sunset pictures. Once at the photo spot one member of the group realized he had left his camera in the restaurant. He began jogging back to the restaurant and at a bend in the trail literally collided with the owner of the restaurant who was jogging in the opposite direction and bringing the forgotten camera to its owner.

Japanese Tokyo Olympics security officials will definitely establish and operate a robust lost and found system at all Olympic facilities. And when foreign visitors to the games venture to other parts of Tokyo and Japan they can rest assured that if they lose some property it is highly likely it will be returned in good condition. Once you realize you have lost some property and you are at an Olympic facility simply report the loss at the Lost and Found office that is likely to be located there. If lose an item while away from an Olympic facility report the loss at one of Japan’s many police boxes or ask for assistance from the staff at your hotel or contact any Tokyo Olympic official when you can. While you are waiting for your property to be returned you you should practice some Japanese phrases to express gratitude and appreciation. It is almost certain you will have the occasion to use them.

Author: Ed Shaw

I am a retired FBI Special Agent (25 years) who lived in Japan for a total of fifteen years and speaks Japanese. At two different times during my career with the FBI (first for five years and then for four years) I worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan and represented the FBI to all Japanese law enforcement, security, and intelligence agencies. While in Japan with the FBI I handled everything from international fugitive and spy investigations to sensitive reviews of U.S. government national security issues. My assignments took me to all parts of Japan. After nine years I am well-acquainted with how Japanese law enforcement and intelligence agencies work, their objectives, their bureaucratic habits, and most importantly how they interact with their foreign counterparts. Tokyo has been selected as the site of the 2020 Olympics. Each Olympic country participating in the games will have security officials looking for the best way to assure the safety of its athletes and other countrymen visiting Tokyo. The purpose of this blog is to share with those security officials the best way to ensure the safety and security at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *