Wealthy Japan is suffering an wave of shoplifting by elderly people. They do it so in order to get themselves sent to jail so that they can get food and shelter.
Over the last 20-odd years, the number of elderly inmates in jail for repeating the same offence six times has risen 460 per cent.
Basic living costs for a single Japanese retiree are estimated at 25% higher than the basic state pension, about £5000 a year. Japan has long had a thinner welfare system than Europe. It relied on family networks instead. But now about 40% of the elderly live alone, and often have no family support.
Researcher Akio Doteuchi says: "The social situation in Japan has forced the elderly into the need to commit crime. It's a vicious circle. They leave prison, they don't have money or family, so they turn immediately to crime".