Are you living in Japan and strapped for yen? A new service and website created by Insotsu, Inc. called Bounty Hunter might be of assistance.

As the name implies, the service allows members of the general public to become "bounty hunters" eligible for cash rewards in return for doing things like stopping shoplifters and train gropers.

Insotsu, Inc. is trying to market this service to shop owners in their press release, with the headline: "Your shop will become a no-shoplifting zone. With Bounty Hunter, we propose an anti-shoplifting measure that will end up costing you zero yen." They also created this very convincing promotional image to drive the point home:

Text: You'll be astonished. The deterrent power of this anti-shoplifting measure is amazing

The press release explains that the number of shoplifting incidents reported in Japan now exceeds 100,000 a year. Therefore, stores which seek to combat this problem and protect themselves from losses can use "Bounty Hunter" to create a strong deterrent force. Security systems and gates which detect unpaid items can be very expensive to install. Bounty Hunter provides an inexpensive if not free solution for shops in which regular shoppers are incentivized to catch shoplifters in exchange for a bounty. Then, the shop can bill the shoplifter for "anti-shoplifting expense" in a sum equivalent to the bounty in order to recoup their costs.

The following poster is presented as an example for shop owners to alert customers and potential shoplifters that they use the Bounty Hunter service:

The person shopping next to you could be a bounty hunter!

When do they make their rounds?
Who is a bounty hunter?
Even the shop staff doesn't know.

We immediately report shoplifters to the police.
Shoplifters will be required to pay for the items and billed 30,000 JPY for various expenses incurred in apprehending them.

Do you want to become a bounty hunter?
Register at

Moreover, the release also suggests that private individuals can use Bounty Hunter to catch chikan (train gropers) and those who commit other kinds of harassment or nuisance in public. Presumably effective in cases when victims have been repeatedly targeted by the same groper, Bounty Hunter can provide a solution for victims who may not have the courage or wish to avoid the potential danger of confronting the groper.

Registering at reveals one shop in Saitama using the service to catch shoplifters, and one anti-groping mission in Tokyo so far, but we can assume more missions of that nature will be appearing shortly now that the press release has come out. In the meantime, there are plenty of missions listed for finding things and providing various other services. There's even one for a private English tutor.

If you're interested, head over to Bounty Hunter and register.

By - Ben K.