Japan lacks the "finders keepers" mentality in moments of crisis, unlike London where looters have taken advantage of recent vulnerable situations. Five months after the earthquake hit, more than $78 million has been recovered and most returned to rightful owners.
According to the Daily Mail [via Gizmodo], after the March earthquake more than 5,700 safes, purses and wallets have been found among the rubble and washed up on shore, totaling up to $78 million in cash. And it's all being returned if identifying the owner is possible and if they're still living.
Japan’s National Police Agency said nearly all the money found in the areas worst hit by the tsunami has been returned to its owners.
Most people kept bankbooks or land rights documents with their names and addresses in their safes.
At one point, there were so many safes handed in to police that they had difficulty finding room to store them.
Police hired specialists to crack the safes and identify owners, if alive. As the Daily Mail reports, Koetsu Saiki of the Miyagi Prefectural Police says that he's sure some of the safes from abandoned or destroyed homes were stolen. But Ryuji Ito, professor emeritus at Yokohama City University, said "the fact that a hefty 2.3 billion yen in cash has been returned to its owners shows the high level of ethical awareness in the Japanese people."