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 avehicle guarded by four security staff.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

The 300 million yen robbery' remains unsolved, nearly four and a half decades later.

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.

Advertisement - Article continues below

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 in 46 years.




How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019

Money Minute, Monday 30 March: grim numbers expected from the US

It’s a quiet week for economic data in the UK – but the US is set to release some grim numbers.
30 Mar 2020

Australia’s economy is about to meet its delayed day of reckoning

Fallout from the coronavirus outbreak looks set to end Australia's record-breaking streak of 28 years without a recession.
27 Mar 2020

Money Minute Monday 23 March: will “whatever it takes” be enough?

As we start to see the damage that the shutdown is doing, Money Minute looks at central bank measures to counter it.
23 Mar 2020

Most Popular


Three things matter for the UK housing market now – and “location” isn’t one of them

The UK housing market is frozen. And when it does eventually thaw out, the traditional factors that drive prices will no longer apply. The day of reck…
1 Apr 2020

What does the coronavirus crisis mean for UK house prices?

With the whole country in lockdown, the UK property market is closed for business. John Stepek looks at what that means for UK house prices, housebuil…
27 Mar 2020

Oil shoots higher – have we seen the bottom for the big oil companies?

Just a few days ago everyone was worried about negative oil prices. Now, the market has turned upwards. John Stepek explains what’s behind the rise an…
3 Apr 2020
UK Economy

How the coronavirus pandemic is killing cash

Covid-19 is making a huge difference to the way we live, work and do business. One of its less obvious effects, says Merryn Somerset Webb, is to accel…
31 Mar 2020