The Mystery Of The 300 Million Yen Robbery

Grace Higgins | June 16th, 2020

The 300 million yen robbery also known as the 300 million yen affair or incident is famous for being the single largest heist in Japanese history ever. It was a heist that happened on the morning of December 10, 1968, in Tokyo, Japan. Over half a century later this heist still remains completely unsolved. Some call it the perfect crime, it was so brazen nobody ever suspected it would happen. And so far the police have never really been able to get any leads. The mystery of the whole robbery still captures people’s imagination to this day.

Companies generally award employees a bonus twice a year, one comes in the summer around June or July and another in winter. This is something that started in Japan’s Edo era, where shopkeepers give employees their bonus money so they could return home for a local festival and enjoy time with their families. In the city of Fuzhou in the Tokyo District, a Sedan left from the Japan Trust Bank transporting ¥294,307,500 intended to pay the employees of Toshiba’s bonuses. If we adjusted this amount of money with today’s inflation rates it would be worth over 30 billion yen, which is around 26 million U.S. Dollars.

You may wonder why they didn’t make a bank transfer, well at the time bank transfers were still fairly a new concept in Japan and it was still considered to be safer to transport the money in cash via car. Even so, the car trip was very stressful, given that just a few days ago the bank manager had been threatened by a bomb to pay out 3 million yen. However, the bank did not respond to the demand and simply called the police. So the bank employees were on edge, though they did not use more security than usual.

Suddenly a police bike came up and blocked their path, the driver was surprised and asked the officer what was wrong. The officer advised that there had been an explosion at the bank and they had information that there may have been dynamite planted in the car. The employees with the threat of a few days ago fresh in their minds didn’t even question the officer and let him investigate. He suddenly shouted it was going to blow while simultaneously lighting a flare, the employees ran off and the “officer” drove off in the car. They believed he was taking the car away from civilians and buildings.

The perfect crime? Many say given there was zero violence this was the case. There have been many leads and over the years the suspect list has grown to over 110,000 people. In 1975, the seven-year statute of limitations for bringing charges would have lapsed, meaning the criminal actually has gotten away scot-free.

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