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Tourists ‘littering’ suitcases at airports

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 yen 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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