This store either has a lot of faith in their security cameras or no faith at all.

Although Japan has a relatively low crime rate compared to other countries it is not immune to the threat of shoplifting. There was even a recent hit Japanese movie about a “family” of shoplifters who picked and plucked what they needed to get by.

And while snatching the occasional item from major retail chains seems like one way to stick it to the man, it’s usually middle management that gets the heat. So, as the front line of defense against five fingered discounts these workers will do whatever is in their power to curb the losses.

And apparently some managers have a surprising amount of power, as seen in this picture from Twitter user Omizu (@wasted_omizu).

“There is a drugstore called Cosmos that has headquarters in Miyazaki, but I think they are a little obsessed with surveillance cameras. The unusual amount wouldn’t let a single flea get shoplifted.”

Cosmos is a drugstore chain that was established in Miyazaki but has since moved their headquarters to Fukuoka, but apart from this hiccup in the tweet, it’s clear to see that this Miyazaki branch has 14 or so hanging cameras, spaced about a meter apart from one another. And at the bottom of the picture among the signs advertising all the great savings Cosmos has to offer, is a sign that reads, “crime prevention video is recording,” just in case that wasn’t evidenced by the lush field of surveillance overhead.

But wait a minute. Maybe that was just an especially problematic corner of a particularly crime-ridden location. Surely all Cosmos stores aren’t this paranoid, are they, Twitter user Gacha Tera (@spitfire_3022)?

“I went to the drugstore first thing in the morning but when I look carefully I see countless security cameras coming from the ceiling! Isn’t that a little much?”

Granted, Gacha Tera doesn’t specifically say this is a Cosmos store, but a comment had identified it as such and the lighting pattern on the ceiling is very similar to that of Omizu’s picture, not to mention the commonality of an absurd number of cameras.

Ironically, online all eyes were on these constellations of cameras capturing consumers from all angles.

“It’s like a casino.”
“Probably over half of those are fake.”
“They’re free to do whatever they want, but it’s kind of creepy.”
“That must make a lot of data.”
“If those are real, they must be a pain in the butt to check.”
“It’s a good deterrent because you can’t know which ones are working and which ones aren’t.”
“They can catch up to 200 shoplifters at once!”
“It looks like they’re making a 3-D model of the store.”
“Is that a store or a prison?”
“I think the manager of that store has trust issues.”
“Hey, you guys aren’t allowed to take pictures inside the store!”

I went to a nearby drug store of similar size to Cosmo to see if this was a more widespread thing. However, as the comment pointed out, taking pictures inside most stores in Japan is frowned upon, so I can just describe that this place had a nice clear ceiling and just three or four of those little Hal 9000 looking cameras in strategic locations.

▼ There are rare instances where Japanese shopkeepers will let you take photos inside, such as when you throw them a Spider-Man pyjama party.

Probably in this case the managers had the idea that by putting dummy cameras everywhere it would confuse shoplifters who are accustomed to taking advantage of blind spots. The biggest hint is that the stores are making no effort at all to conceal the cameras, to the point that it looks ridiculous to normal law-abiding shoppers.

However, it is nice to imagine that all these devices are being used to generate VR surveillance footage that the manager can enter like the Matrix and look around in freely. But since they still can’t even seem to make a VR hostess bar that doesn’t look wonky, that’s probably not the case.

Source: Twitter/@wasted_omizu, Twitter/@spitfire_3022, Itai News
Featured image: Twitter/@wasted_omizu
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