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OSAKA — A masked man with a knife robbed a small post office Tuesday morning in Osaka’s Joto Ward, making off with around 20 million yen in cash, police said.

The man pulled a knife on the postmaster, 43-year-old Mitsuo Kubo, outside the post office at around 8:20 a.m. after Kubo had turned off the security alarms and unlocked the side entrance, investigators said.

Kubo handed him about 2 million yen from the office safe, but the man demanded more and made the postmaster take out another 18 million yen.

The robber then had Kubo sit in a chair and ordered him to bind his own feet with masking tape. The robber then bound Kubo’s hands and gagged him before escaping with the cash, police said.

The postmaster was unharmed and managed to remove the tape and notify police, investigators said.

The robbery occurred before the post office had opened for business, so no other employees or customers were at the scene at the time of the crime, they added.

The culprit is believed to be around 40 years old and 165 cm tall. He was wearing sunglasses and a white mask that covered most of his face, police said.

Witnesses said they saw a suspicious-looking man in the area at around 6 a.m.

Police believe the culprit may have been waiting for the postmaster to arrive.

A similar robbery took place at another post office in Higashinari Ward, about 1.7 km away, in December, in which a man escaped with some 21 million yen in cash after threatening the postmaster with a knife.

Investigators said they are looking into whether the two holdups are related.

The latest robbery took place in a residential neighborhood.

A 30-year-old woman said she heard a man speaking in a low tone near the post office around the time of the robbery.

“It seemed that a fight was going on,” she said. “I’m shocked to hear that it was a robbery in progress.”

Nearby resident Toshiharu Manabe, 67, reckoned, “Because robbers are not caught, they do it again. It seems we’re in troubled times.”

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