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A 48-year-old man faces charges for stealing stickers identifying nonhousehold waste from trash bags in Tokyo’s Ginza district and using them on his own garbage, it was learned Thursday.

He faces a maximum 3 million yen fine or one year in prison if convicted of illegal waste disposal, police said. They suspect the man, a flower retailer and resident of Minato Ward, stole the stickers over a period of several months to July. He is reported to have said he took the trash labels to cut business costs.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government charges businesses for trash collection to encourage a decrease in waste volume, and requires them to purchase seals to affix to their garbage bags. One sticker for a single 45-liter bag costs 243 yen. Thus, a sticker stolen each week for six months would yield a savings of some 6,000 yen.

In June, municipal sanitation employees in Ginza noticed that a sticker had been removed from a trash bag and taped onto another containing flower cuttings.

On July 28, the employees discovered the man disposing the unlabeled trash and handed him over to police. The man passed through the Ginza district once a week after buying flowers from a market in Ota Ward, and had been stealing or neglecting to use stickers on the trash bags he dumped there, police said.

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