New Rules for Lost and Found Items
The law covering lost items changed this Monday (December 10). Here is an overview of the new rules (as I understand from watching the news).
1. Items that are not returned to their owners will be (1) given to the person who found them, (2) sold, or (3) destroyed after three months. (This used to be six months.) The choice of which action will be taken depends on the item. For example, items that involve personal data (mobile phones, computers, USB sticks, credit cards, etc.) will be destroyed.
2. Certain items will only be kept for two weeks and then sold. Items in this category include umbrellas, clothing, and bicycles. Exceptions to this rule are brand-name umbrellas, top-of-the-line bicycles, and clothing that has a person’s name on it. The decision about whether to apply the two-week rule or not will be left up to the individual police officers.
3. Animals used to be kept by police departments for one or two weeks and then sent to the pound (where there are destroyed if the owner cannot be found within a certain amount of time). It is now possible to skip the police department and send the animal directly to the pound. However, in this case, the length of time the animal stays alive is shortened.
Also, the police will make it possible to search for lost items via the internet. Here is the website for searching for lost items in Ibaraki. The search function is also available on the mobile site of the Ibaraki Police.
If you are in a store or a train station and you find something that seems like a lost item, please hand it to an employee of the store or station. If you find something on the road or in a park, please hand it in to the police.