MICHELLE DOR WRITES– A 34-year- old man in Tokyo named Yusuke Taniguchi with something of a genius memory allegedly stole credit card information from 1,300 customers to enrich himself. While the total amount of loot didn’t actually make him rich, the amazing way that he did it has made him famous.
Taniguchi was a part-time worker at a shopping mall in Koto Ward with a magnificent photographic memory—which he put to use by memorizing customers’ credit card information while processing their orders, then recalling the data and shopping online for goods that could be fenced into cash. He used the money — but only $2,600 (270,000 Japanese yen) — to purchase high-end shoulder bags, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, which he planned to sell at a pawn-shop in order to pay for personal expenses.
Somehow, alert Japanese police got wind of the plan, intercepted the delivery of the bags to the cashier’s apartment and arrested him. Police found a notebook with credit card details of those 1,300 unsuspecting customers. While working the cash register, Taniguchi would memorize a customer’s 16-digit credit card number, name, expiration date and security code within the time it took to process the purchase — then writing the information down in the notebook.
Taniguchi has been in police custody since his arrest in early September. (In Japan, investigators are within their rights to hold a suspect up to 20 days before he is charged. It is unclear whether Taniguchi hired an attorney.) This crime, though hardly so malicious, appears to have shocked this nation, so proud of its extremely low crime rate. An admiring article by Irish Times states that the country’s “crime rates have been falling for 14 years. The murder rate of 0.3 per 100,000 people is among the lowest in the world, and roughly half Ireland’s rate. (In America, where violent crime is rising at its fastest pace since the 1970s, it is more than 5). Gun-deaths rarely rise above 10 a year.”
And yet, for some reason, the fraud crime category in Japan is growing. CNN reported that in 2016 a group of thieves used about 1,600 forged cards to withdraw money from 1,400 cash machines nationwide. In just over two hours, they somehow stole $13 million. Yes, the nation’s overall crime rate remains low, but in Japan, citizens now know they had better keep a careful watch over their credit cards. No one should forget that there are predators who remember everything — and that not every credit-card criminal will prove such a modest nickel-and-dime criminal as Mr Taniguchi.
One Reply to “JAPAN: THE TOKYO MAN WHO TRIED TO CASH IN ON AN EXTRAORDINARY MEMORY”
I would like to point out that much of Japan’s “vaunted” low crime rate has to do with a nearly untouchable prosecutor’s office that can hold people effectively at ransom for a confession with little in the way of appeal or fact-checking for that matter. There have been numerous cases of innocent people being charged in Japan thanks to a system that is effectively guilty before proven innocent.