When store manager refuses to call the cops, man who can’t pay for his meal does it for him.

Fingers crossed, nobody reading this article will ever find themselves on death row, waiting to be executed for a crime they may or may not have committed. But if you do, what final meal would you plump for? Likewise, if you knew you were going to prison and had one last chance to eat something on the outside, what would you choose? I’m a big fan of the deep-fried bread-crumbed goodness on rice that is katsudon, and while it’s not what I’d personally go for, (Sunday Roast lamb, gravy and all the trimmings, in case you’re interested), it’s a definite contender. And indeed, this week, one Japanese man chose it to be his final meal of freedom.

On November 21, an unemployed Japanese man without any money, walked into a restaurant in Fukuoka Prefecture’s Yanagawa City and ordered a bowl of katsudon. Polishing off his dinner, worth just 650 yen (US$5.79), the 63 year-old diner promptly informed the store manager that he didn’t have any money with which to pay the bill, and that the manager should phone the police. The manager was surprisingly sympathetic and told the diner that it was OK if he settled up at a later date. Here, in most cases, is where the story would have ended with either the diner coming back another day to pay up or more likely, never coming back at all.

The diner left the restaurant, went to a public payphone outside and called the emergency number for the police, 110, and turned himself in. Yanagawa police later announced that they had arrested the unemployed 63 year-old man of no fixed abode, on suspicion of fraud. He is reported as having said that he had been in prison before and that at the time of the incident he was hungry but only had 96 yen on him.

▼ For some desperate people, prison is preferable to life outside.

Japanese social media users had a lot to say about the case:

“He’s just going home [to prison].”
“He must have got a taste for prison life.”
“What a sad story.”
“That store manager was so kind.”
“Isn’t it just part of the pattern for people without relatives?”
“Would he actually be sent to prison for such a petty crime?”
“Well, the season’s starting to get colder.”
“It just shows that prisons don’t rehabilitate people, it’s just a vicious circle.”

From these responses, it seems as though this might not be a one-off. It’s also not the first time we’ve covered this sort of story, where people find themselves in the unfortunate position of being unable to find work and needing a roof over their head and food in their stomach; sadly it probably won’t be the last.

Source: Kyodo News via Golden News
Top image: Gahag
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