• Kyodo News

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The number of lost articles found and reported to police last year surged 36.3 percent to about 17.34 million from the previous year, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The amount of cash found and reported fell 2.2 percent to about ¥14.2 billion, of which ¥9.7 billion was returned to the owners and ¥3.8 billion given to the finders, the agency said.

The increase in reported articles is being credited to enhanced efforts by the police to publicize the lost-and-found system as per a legal revision on lost property, which officials said appears to have caused more people to turn in even cheap items, including handkerchiefs.

Under the revised law, which took effect in December 2007, people can search for lost items on the Internet.

The period in which lost-and-found property is kept in police depositories, meanwhile, was cut from half a year to three months.

Also, finders are no longer allowed to claim articles that store personal data, including identification cards or mobile phones with registered information, if they are not claimed by their owners.

Of the 17.34 million items reported last year, about 6.17 million were returned to their owners.

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