Someone found and handed in my lost bank card to the police. I heard that, in Japan, you have to pay the finder a reward of between 5 and 20% of the value of the recovered item. Will I need to pay a reward if I go to the police station to claim my bank card? And how much is 5 to 20% of the value of a bank card? What should I do?
Let's explain the reward for someone who finds and hands in your lost property.
The Lost Property Act (ishitsubutsu-hō / 遺失物法) establishes as a legal right and obligation that an individual who has lost money or goods (property) must pay a person who hands in the lost item an amount equivalent to between 5 and 20% of the value of the item as a reward (hōrōkin / 報労金).
An individual who finds the lost property must either return the item directly to the owner, or hand it in to the police, or to the manager of the facility where the item was found, as quickly as possible. As well as being an imbursement for the trouble to which the finder has gone to hand the item in, the purpose of the reward seems to be to encourage the prompt return of lost property to the owner.
The value of a bank card is not clear. Usually, if one were to lose a bank card, one would take steps such as cancelling the card, and one's account balance would not be affected, so the card itself may not be considered to have significant value. Given the personal information included on the card and so on, there may be differing viewpoints on what value the card actually has. Although it depends on the intention of the finder of the property, in general it may be considered sufficient to express gratitude for the goodwill of the finder, who has gone out of their way to try to return the item out of concern for the owner.
In your situation, the police may have some idea of the intention of the person who handed in your lost bank card, so you could contact the police to confirm this. While in many cases the finder may not request a reward, if a reward is requested, any decision on the reward will ultimately be determined by negotiation between the owner and the finder.
In addition, the owner of the lost property can also renounce the right to ownership. By renouncing ownership, the owner can avoid the obligation to pay a reward. But in the case of a bank card, renunciation of ownership will mean that you will need to have the bank card reissued. You should inquire at your bank to establish the best course of action. For more information on the Lost Property Act and its application, please inquire at a police station.
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