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, also known as the 300 million yen affair or incident, was the single largest heist in Japanese history. It occurred on the morning of December 10, 1968 in Tokyomarker, Japanmarker. As of 2008 it remains unsolved.

The Robbery

On the morning of December 10, 1968, four Kokubunji branch employees of the of Nihon Shintaku Ginko (bank) transported 294,307,500 yen in the trunk of a company car. The metal boxes contained bonuses for the employees of Toshiba's Fuchu factory. They were stopped in the street next to Tokyo Fuchu prison by a young uniformed officer on a police motorcycle. The policeman informed them that their branch manager's house had been blown up, and they had received a warning that dynamite had been planted in the transport car. The four employees exited the vehicle while the officer crawled under the car to locate the bomb. Moments later, the employees noticed smoke and flames under the car as the officer rolled out, shouting that it was about to explode. When the employees retreated to the prison walls, the policeman got into the car and drove away.

The investigation

The bank employees had believed the thief was a policeman, and had accepted his story about the bomb as he had sent threatening letters to the bank manager beforehand. The smoke and flames turned out to be the result of a warning flare he had ignited while under the car. At some point, the thief abandoned the bank's car and transferred the metal boxes to another car, stolen beforehand. That car too was abandoned, and the boxes transferred once again to another previously stolen vehicle.

120 pieces of evidence were left at the scene of the crime, including the "police" motorcycle, which had been painted white. However, the evidence was primarily common everyday items, scattered on purpose to confuse the police investigation.

A 19-year-old boy, who was a son of an incumbent police officer, was suspected just after the robbery. He died of potassium cyanide on December 15, 1968. He had no alibi and knew a lot about police officers. However, the money wasn't found and he was already dead. His death was deemed a suicide and he was not guilty, at least according to official record.

A massive police investigation was launched, posting 780,000 montage pictures throughout Japan. The list of suspects included 110,000 names, and 170,000 policemen participated in the investigation — the largest investigation in Japanese history.

On December 12, 1969, a 26-year-old man was suspected by the Mainichi Shimbun. He was arrested on an unrelated charge, but he had an airtight alibi which was that he had taken an examination. It was a false report, and a police officer Mitsuo Muto, who arrested him, was accused for abuse of power.

The statute of limitations

The 7-year investigation offered few answers, and in December 1975, the statute of limitations on the crime passed without an arrest.

A friend of the 19-year-old boy was arrested on an unrelated charge on November 15, 1975 just before the statute of limitations. He had a large amount of money and was suspected of the robbery. He was 18 years old when the robbery occurred. The police asked him for an explanation about the reason why he had a large amount of money, but he didn't say and they weren't able to prove that his money had come from the robbery.

By 1988, the thief was also relieved of any civil liabilities, allowing him to tell his story without fear of legal repercussions. He has yet to come forward.

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