10 December 1968: the “300 million yen robbery”

In Japan's most notorious – and ingenious – robbery, one man outwitted four guards and made off with a car containing ¥300m on this day in 1968.

Committing the daylight robbery of a huge amount of money often involves a very well-armed group of thieves. But not always. Sometimes all that is needed is a trusting group of guards and a great lie. That was the case with Japan's biggest robbery, when just under ¥300m (worth around US$820,000 in 1968) was stolen from a vehicle guarded by four security staff. The “300 million yen robbery” remains unsolved.

On 10 December 1968, four employees of the Kokubunji branch of the Nihon Shintaku Ginko Bank were transporting ¥300m in bonuses for Toshiba factory workers, when a motorcycle policeman stopped their car. The policeman approached, and informed the bank employees that their branch manager's home had been blown up. He added that the police had received a warning that dynamite had been placed under their vehicle. The four guards got out as the policeman went underneath the car to check for explosives. Soon after, the bank guards noticed smoke and flames from under the vehicle. The policeman rolled out, shouting that it was about to explode. As the panic-stricken guards ran away, the policeman got in and drove off, along with the money.

The investigation was vast. Some 170,000 policemen went through 110,000 suspect names using 780,000 montage pictures throughout Japan. But they did not find their robber. At the scene of the crime, 120 pieces of evidence were found, including the “police” motorcycle and the “smoke and flames”, which turned out to be an ordinary flare. Police later realised that some of the “evidence” was planted there ingeniously to confuse the investigation.

After seven years, the investigation passed without an arrest and answered few questions. In 1988 the thief was relieved of any civil liabilities. This means that he is able to openly admit guilt without fear of arrest or prosecution. Nobody has yet to come forward.

Recommended

Early repayment charges: should you abandon your fixed-rate mortgage for a new deal now?
Mortgages

Early repayment charges: should you abandon your fixed-rate mortgage for a new deal now?

Increasing numbers of homeowners are paying an early repayment charge to leave their fixed-rate mortgage deal early, and lock in a new deal now. Shoul…
30 Sep 2022
Energy meter reading day: why you need submit your gas and electricity readings now
Personal finance

Energy meter reading day: why you need submit your gas and electricity readings now

Energy meter reading day - you need to submit your gas and electricity readings as soon as possible ahead of the October energy price increase
30 Sep 2022
Should you fix your mortgage? Here are the best rates available now
Mortgages

Should you fix your mortgage? Here are the best rates available now

Rising interest rates look set to spring a nasty surprise on millions of homeowners next year. You need to take steps today to protect yourself from a…
30 Sep 2022
Why the Bank of England intervened in the bond market
Government bonds

Why the Bank of England intervened in the bond market

A sudden crisis for pension funds exposed to rapidly rising bond yields meant the Bank of England had to act. Cris Sholto Heaton looks at the lessons …
30 Sep 2022

Most Popular

What to do as the age of cheap money and overpriced equities ends
Investment strategy

What to do as the age of cheap money and overpriced equities ends

The age of cheap money, overpriced equities and negative interest rates is over. The great bond bull market is over. All this means you will be losin…
29 Sep 2022
Why everyone is over-reacting to the mini-Budget
Budget

Why everyone is over-reacting to the mini-Budget

Most analyses of the chancellor’s mini-Budget speech have failed to grasp its purpose and significance, says Max King
29 Sep 2022
Mini-Budget: will Kwasi Kwarteng’s gamble on growth work?
Budget

Mini-Budget: will Kwasi Kwarteng’s gamble on growth work?

The government has launched the biggest dash for growth in 50 years, relaunching an approach known as supply-side economics. What is the plan – and wi…
30 Sep 2022