A happy ending for Liam Bartley, Captain Hirafu Pension owner and author of epic Issue 1 feature article ‘Surving Yotei’, who woke up to find someone had stolen the $30,000 front end loader he was leasing. With all the snow it couldn’t have happened at a worse time and police said there was no guarantee insurance would cover it.
Investigators initially thought it was a professional job – the Hitachi model is highly sought after and they believed it was probably on its way to Russia or somewhere else in Asia. But a few days later it turned up parked at an apartment building in the upper village, lending weight to the theory it was a tourist’s idea of a good prank.
We hope it was cold and the offender was wearing gloves – police have fingerprinted the machine and if it was a foreigner who has entered the country after November 20, their prints will be on record thanks to Japan’s new immigration laws.
Last season two foreign seasonal workers spent three weeks in jail without representation after they were accused of drink driving, and were subsequently deported. By all reports they were very shaken up when they came out.
A stint in a very cold jail cell should serve as a good lesson to the offender, and hopefully send a message to other tourists they really need to leave such immature behaviour at home and show their gracious hosts some respect.