Unanticipated Security Risk of Keeping Your Money in a Home Safe
In Japan, lots of people—especially older people—keep their life savings in cash in their homes. (The country’s banks pay very low interest rates, so the incentive to deposit that money into bank accounts is lower than in other countries.) This is all well and good, until a tsunami destroys your home and washes your money out to sea. Then, when it washes up onto the beach, the police collect it:
One month after the March 11 tsunami devastated Ofunato and other nearby cities, police departments already stretched thin now face the growing task of managing lost wealth.
“At first we put all the safes in the station,” said Noriyoshi Goto, head of the Ofunato Police Department’s financial affairs department, which is in charge of lost-and-found items. “But then there were too many, so we had to move them.”
Goto couldn’t specify how many safes his department has collected so far, saying only that there were “several hundreds” with more coming in every day.
Identifying the owners of lost safes is hard enough. But it’s nearly impossible when it comes to wads of cash being found in envelopes, unmarked bags, boxes and furniture.
After three months, the money goes to the government.