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Japanese man lives above public toilet for three years

Well they do say that home is where your heart is and for one Japanese man it was above a public toilet in Usuki, south-western Japan. We hear news stories regularly about the difficulty for young people here in the UK to find a home that they can afford. Homelessness apparently is not confined to any particular country it would seem, Japan is not immune either and it is not the only developed country where homelessness and poverty have led to unusual living conditions. In 2013, a Chinese woman was found to have lived in a hole in the ground in Beijing for 20 years, using the toilets at a nearby park for water and washing facilities.

The enterprising man was discovered by an electrician who was carrying out some repair work and it seems that he discovered this nice “hidey hole” when he saw another person go into it and ended up living there with the person for a time. His newly found companion left, but Takashi Yamanouchi continued to live there. Following on from his arrest, 54 year old Yamanouchi told police that he had left his home 10 years ago and drifted from place to place until making his way to Oita.

Getting into his “new” abode was a bit tricky as he had to climb on top of the on top of the toilet stalls, before squeezing through a maintenance hatch. An employee of the local authority is said to have gone along with the police and reported that it was really neat and tidy up there. Included with his clothing, there was a gas stove and electric heater, was that what the electrician was investigating perhaps, an unusual amount of electricity being consumed by a couple of fluorescent tubes! However, that was not all that they found, no they found that his attic was also full of over 500 plastic bottles of both the two litre and 500 millilitre variety, all of which were neatly organized and full of his urine.

There is no suggestion that Mr Yamanouchi was peeping on unsuspecting members of the public going about their natural functions, but Usuki authorities in Japan have carried out a search of all of their toilet facilities following the eviction of Mr Yamanouchi, and have now reassured the public that they are free of interlopers.

Although he was very careful, it was only a matter of time before he would have been found out. However, now faced with trespassing charges, the question remains how he will be dealt with. A fine would seem pointless and prison would probably be an improvement. Would a way to treat this be to reconsider the old Edo era punishment of face tattooing? We had no idea what this was, and we suspect most people in Japan do not either, this was something that was handed down to perpetrators of relatively minor crimes like theft and burglary and consisted of a tattoo right in the centre of the perpetrator’s forehead.

Now there is something for our justice secretary to think about maybe, no, oh all right then!

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