One commenter complained that praising the Japanese for this altruism is romanticizing and racist:
But ColdBloodedSerialCommenter seems to have missed the point. In Japan, savings are more commonly stored in cash AND their population is less desperate and less impoverished than the USA, as he admitted when he said "is it especially remarkable for people to return lost property in a ... economically developed nation with universal education, robust law enforcement, and extensive social support structures?" Because yea, that sounds nothing like the USA to me. While technically we do have public schools and law enforcement, are school quality is hardly consistent across neighborhoods and a free high school degree is not enough to get a good job, most ppl have to pay for higher education if they want a salaried job. And don't even get me started on law enforcement...
In America, people would never turn in large quantities of cash like this. Our law enforcement SEIZES cash when it's found, more often than not, and holds it as "Evidence," never returning it to anyone. And the average person would the money too if they found it, not turn it in to the authorities (because the authorities would just keep the cash anyway.)
So yea, it's not romanticization to point out that Japan is vastly different. And maybe it's partially BECAUSE they don't have the desperation and corruption that USA does...we don't really HAVE universal education, healthcare or a good standard of living. And we have a high amount of corruption in government and law enforcement. See how these things make a difference when a crisis hits.