Psss. Wanna buy 600,000 yen of New Years Cards?

Japanese send nengajo/New Year postcards by the buckets this time of year but 600,000 yen’s worth—$7,281 USD— just might be a bit…

Post office section chief steals Y600,000 worth of New Year postcards
Japan Today: 2012Nov23
A section manager of a post office in Kanagawa has been arrested after it came to light that he had stolen thousands of “nengajo” (New Year postcards)Toshio Abe, 58, stole 12,000 postcards worth around 600,000 yen...more...

…A bit much to steal so many postcards that he needed a dolly or hand truck to drag them all into the discount ticket store for resale. As the news report observed, suspicions were aroused when Abe was seen carrying a large number of postcards into a discount ticket store.

The rest-of-the-story is…
A favorite businessman scam is to steal a couple of bundles nengajo/New Year postcards from the office that are earmarked for customer mailings, sell them for half price at a discount ticket store and then use the money for a cheap “fashion massage.”

However, New Year postcards purchased from the Japanese Post Office also function as a lottery. The cards all have serial numbers and barcodes that make a small payout possible and traceable. Somebody receiving a one of these stolen nengajo was bound to get lucky (a one-in-400-hundred chance) and would try to cash it in to “win” 500 yen or more. One winner would unravel whole scam.

As a section manager of a post office, Abe should have known that haulling around such large piles of cards would look very odd and they would be immediately traced back to him.
useless cards

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I'm a pale, alien, quadruped who has worked for 25+ years at "Maybe-the-Largest Inc." in Tokyo.

2 thoughts on “Psss. Wanna buy 600,000 yen of New Years Cards?”

  1. It is more likely that Mr. Abe, the section manager of a post office, “stole” the postcards to get rid of them and meet his sales quote. The use of “nengajo” (New Year postcards) has dropped 50% (because of email) but the postcard sales quota has remained the same.

    I pity the poor post people who stuck sitting folding tables in the cold outside trying to sell postcards that nobody wants.

  2. Today I saw a discount ticket store was selling New Year postcards for 40% off (which means the shop bought them at a 80% discount). Those cards are becoming valueless.

    Even the Japanese Post Office is discounting their own cards 15% as you can see below.

    japanese new years postcard nengajo year-of-the-snake

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