The Amazing Japanese Part 3: Crackdown on Pickpockets Prior to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics; Police Miss One But JTB With the Big Save

JTB Workers Pass the Hat
Mainichi Daily News, October 15, 1964

Business was good enough for the Tryhorns at their store in Australia that they thought they should take a plane to Japan and see the sights, as well as the XVIII Olympiad in Tokyo. On Friday, October 9, the day before the start of the Olympics, the couple from Victoria disembarked from their floating hotel and transportation, the P&O Orient liner Oriana, to walk about Yokohama.

Unfortunately, as they saw the sites in Isezaki-cho, Mrs Tryhorn was pickpocketed. According to the October 15, Mainichi Daily News, in her stolen purse were train tickets for a limited express of the New Tokaido Line, a coupon for the Kyoto International Hotel, and a notice of remittance addressed to the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp.

According to The Japan Times on October 20, the Metropolitan Police Department had actually been in the midst of a campaign to thwart pickpockets, starting a preventive program over three months previously to round up suspected pickpockets and keep them off the streets. By the time the Olympics began in October, they had arrested over 230 pickpockets. As a result, the number of pick pocket incidents dropped from 400 in April, 1964 to 120 in September when tourists and people related to the Olympics started arriving in Tokyo.

Unfortunately, the police didn’t catch the guy that picked the Tryhorns. The Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) , led by the manager of the South Pier Yokohama JTB branch, took it upon themselves to make it right for the Tryhorns. They collected money from the JTB staff so that they could buy new train tickets to Kyoto. They called the hotel in Kyoto to ensure that the Tryhorns could stay without the need for their coupon. And they called the bank to ensure that the couple could pick up their cash with the remittance paper when they came back to Yokohama.

Now that’s service!