Jul

31

 Japan (or the BoJ) seems to have found a new original way to create inflation and stimulate consumption at the same time: by taking Milton Friedman at his words and droping money from the sky! Unfortunately Mr Friedman never tested his theory in Japan, as it seems that ordinary citizens are declining the offer and returning the cash to the police. So Americans want to consume but they can't and Japanese can consume but they won't, what a world!

From the AFP (July, 28) "Mystery money in Japan appears in mailboxes, falls from sky"

A mystery gripping Japan over anonymous cash gifts has taken a new twist. For those who want the next batch of giveaways, the place to look is in their mailboxes — or even right at their feet. Residents of a Tokyo apartment building are baffled [over the appearance] of 1.81 million yen.

But residents became "spooked" rather than pleased with the anonymous gifts — and were too upright to pocket the money secretly. The predominantly middle-class apartment building in Tokyo is not alone. An envelope with one million yen was left in the mailbox of a 31-year-old woman in the western city of Kobe on Wednesday. Police admit they have no idea who is leaving the cash — whether a few people are behind the bizarre giveaways or if Japan is witnessing a craze of copycat benevolence. Since June, dozens of city halls and other public buildings across the country have reported finding neatly packaged envelopes full of cash in men's restrooms. The bathroom money has come with identical letters asking people to do good deeds — leading to speculation that the benefactor may be a public servant trying to cheer up his profession or perhaps a member of a new-age religion.

On Wednesday, bills worth 960,000 yen were inexplicably seen "falling" in front of a convenience store. "We can just say the money came from the skies," a puzzled police official said. "There were other passers-by outside and customers in the store but the incident caused no confusion," he said. "People thought it was too eerie to touch." The largest single drop-off so far was in the ancient city of Kyoto on July 23, astonishing a 67-year-old woman who found an envelope containing 10 million yen of stacked bills in her mailbox. Media tallies suggest more than four million yen, including some found last year, has been found in the public restrooms. 


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