Thankfully in Japan burglary isn’t the problem it is back in my native Britain. Admittedly it does (according to the press) appear to be on the rise, but most houses/apartments happily make do with just a basic lock on the front door. A multitude of locks on entrances and windows, plus alarms and sensors everywhere is simply unheard of.
But that doesn’t mean it never happens, as the trial this week of 42-year-old Shinya Yamaguchi proves. Having made a virtual career out of house theft for the last 20 years or so, Yamaguchi was finally brought to justice and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.
In court Mr. Yamaguchi was described as someone who had difficulty getting along with others ever since being bullied at elementary school. And after leaving high school he never managed to hold down a job for any length of time. Unless of course burglary can be classed as an occupation.
But this isn’t to say that Yamaguchi-san wasn’t enterprising. With his ill-gotten gains he managed to build himself a three-story house with part of the 50,000,000 yen (250,000 pounds) he saved. And by limiting himself to a 30,000 yen (150 pounds) a month budget, he was happily putting money away for his old age.
Yet despite this, the judge showed some leniency, saying that Yamaguchi, “has expressed regret for his actions, through such gestures as offering to sell his house to compensate victims of his crimes.” Maybe the very solitary life led by the serial burglar also pushed the judge towards compassion. The court saying that he lived alone, had no real friends, and spent most of his time listening to music.
Unfortunately that just happened to be on stolen audio equipment.