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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 12:41 GMT
Umbrellas overwhelm Japan police
Japan's police wants to cut the time lost property must be held for, because honest Japanese are overwhelming them with items they have found.

Police received a record 10.7m items in 2004, 3.5 times the amount handed in 50 years ago, The Yomiuri Shimbun said.

One fifth of all the items handed in as lost property were umbrellas, the paper quoted the police as saying.

Fewer than 1% of them are ever claimed, but at the moment the police are obliged to keep things for six months.

That so many of such an inexpensive item are handed in to the authorities points to a culture in Japan of dealing honestly with lost property.

It is not uncommon to despair of losing a cherished item, only to discover it has been dutifully given to the police or lost property office.

Most street crimes also decreased in 2004, compared to the previous year.

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