NPA to introduce national lost-and-found database

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Lost and found umbrellas are kept at the Metropolitan Police Department in 2016.

Lost items reported to the police across the country will be searchable in an online system under plans announced by the National Police Agency on Thursday.

The NPA plans to integrate lost and found systems used by all police departments nationwide. People who lost their belongings will be able to report lost items via Internet and access the integrated database to search them.

The system will initially be rolled out in 10 prefectures in March next year: Aomori, Niigata, Nagano, Fukui, Kyoto, Nara, Tottori, Okayama, Nagasaki and Oita. The database is scheduled to be fully implemented by the end of fiscal year 2026.

According to the NPA, police received about 3.56 million reports of lost property in 2021, while the number of lost items handed in totaled 17.13 million the same year.

The integration is aimed at improving convenience for the public and streamlining police administration.

Only nine prefectural police currently accept lost item reports online, with each prefectural police using a different operational method. As a national database is currently unavailable, people have to visit different websites depending where an item was lost.

For example, if someone believes an item was lost in Tokyo, they would inform the Metropolitan Police Department. However, an item found outside Tokyo would be reported to a local police authority without the knowledge of the owner. Under the new system, the owner would be able to search a national database, making it easier to find.

Police that keep lost items will continue to confirm the identity of people who collect them to prevent fraudulent acts.