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Learning Japanese from the News / Tourists ‘littering’ suitcases at airports

Stay abreast of current events and learn Japanese at the same time through articles originally printed in The Yomiuri KODOMO Shimbun.

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スーツケース 空港(くうこう)ポイ捨(す)て年(ねん)間(かん)258個(こ)……。これは昨(さく)年(ねん)、大(おお)阪(さか)府(ふ)にある関(かん)西(さい)空(くう)港(こう)の警(けい)察(さつ)に落(お)とし物(もの)として届(とど)けられたスーツケースの数(かず)です。千(ち)葉(ば)県(けん)の成(なり)田(た)空港でも同(おな)じくらい届けられています。

「えっ、そんなものを落とすの!?」と思(おも)う人も多(おお)いでしょうが、実(じつ)は、ほとんどが空港で捨(す)てられたものなのです。中(なか)身(み)は空っぽだったり、ゴミが入ったりしているだけ。空港では、日本でたくさん買(か)い物をした外(がい)国(こく)人(じん)観(かん)光(こう)客(きゃく)が、もっと大きなスーツケースを買い、古(ふる)い方(ほう)を捨てているのではと推(すい)測(そく)しています。

ただ、本(ほん)当(とう)に捨てられたかどうか分(わ)からないので、空港では保(ほ)管(かん)しなくてはいけません。場(ば)所(しょ)もとるし人手もかかるので、空港は「どうすればいいのか」と困(こま)っています。

同(おな)じ悩(なや)みを抱(かか)える愛(あい)知(ち)県の中(ちゅう)部(ぶ)国(こく)際(さい)空港では今(こ)年(とし)3月から、1080円で古いスーツケースを引(ひ)き取(と)るサービスを始(はじ)めましたが、活(かつ)用(よう)した人は1か月でたった3人。捨てるのにわざわざお金を払(はら)う人は少(すく)なく、良(よ)い解(かい)決(けつ)策(さく)は見つかっていません。

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A total of 258 suitcases were treated as lost property and handed over to the police station at Kansai Airport in Osaka Prefecture last year. A similar number of suitcases was also reported to the police station at Narita Airport in Chiba Prefecture.

Many may wonder how items of such size could be lost, but the suitcases were apparently abandoned at the airport as they were empty or only contained trash.

Foreign tourists are thought to have abandoned the luggage before returning home, transferring their souvenirs and other belongings into new, larger suitcases they bought in Japan.

Since it is uncertain if the suitcases were actually abandoned, however, airports are obliged to keep them, causing problems as they take up space and require attention from staff.

In response to a similar problem, Chubu Airport in Aichi Prefecture started accepting unused suitcases for a fee of ¥1,080 last March. However, only three people used the service during the first month. Few people seem willing to spend money on something they will discard.

A solution to the problem remains elusive.

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落(お)とし物(もの):lost property

~と推(すい)測(そく)される:be thought to ...

場(ば)所(しょ)をとる:take up space

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解(かい)決(けつ)策(さく):solution

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4月26日読売 KODOMO 新聞に掲載された記事の翻訳です

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