On 4 November Osaka Prefectural Police announced the arrest of two teenagers aged 15 and 16 for fraud. The two boys are accused of trying to pass off a fake one million yen (US$10,000) bank note at a small cigarette stand in Suita City.
Although, passing off counterfeit money is usually considered “uttering” and may be punishable by jail time, the pair were given a reduced charge of fraud because, according to police, “the fake money used was really bad.”
On the morning of the fourth, the pair walked up to a local tobacco stand carrying a novelty 1,000,000 yen bill hoping to exchange it with real money. Now, of course these two weren’t dumb enough to expect someone to give them one million yen worth of singles.
Instead they tried to pass it off as an ordinary 10,000 yen bill and trade if off for the equivalent value in real currency. As one of them later admitted on arrest, “If we went to a convenience store, they would have noticed right away. But we thought we could get one over on a smaller shop.”
So the teens targeted a small time tobacco stand run by a 76-year-old and asked him to change their “10,000 yen bill” into ten 1,000 yen notes. Without noticing, the shopkeeper handed the cash over to the boys.
Soon after, the man noticed he’d been had and called the police emergency number, 110. A squad car quickly arrived on the scene and they were able to apprehend a pair matching the shopkeeper’s description swiftly only a few kilometers away. When questioned by police they admitted to the charges.
To both the boys’ and the shopkeeper’s credit, it’s possible to acquire some pretty realistic looking “novelty money” in Japan. For example, here is a real ten thousand yen bill.
And here are some novelty million yen bills that can be bought at Amazon for 2,600 yen ($26).
However, the police described the counterfeit money as “really bad” which would suggest the boys used something more like our Mr. Sato money above. Either way, let this be a lesson that passing off fake money is neither “groovy” nor “the cat’s meow” as all you youngsters tend to think it is these days.