On January 5, Yutaka Umeno, a 54-year-old employee at the Tokyo branch of the mint, allegedly stole the bar, valued at approximately 63.8 million yen, that was on display at the Tokyo Museum of the Japan Mint in the Ikebukuro area of Toshima Ward.
Umeno told staff members that he was going to use the bar “for work” and requested that its display case be opened. A replica was put in its place. The bar was then sold at a pawnshop in Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture.
“I stole it to cover for losses in foreign currency trading,” the suspect is quoted by police in admitting to the allegations.
On a number of occasions after the theft, staff members inquired with Umeno about the location of the bar. Umeno left his post at the Tokyo branch in the middle of the day on June 14. Three days later, a member of his family contacted police after he had not returned home. Saitama Prefectural Police apprehended him therafter.
Yasuhiro Ichiba, the mint’s assistant director of the general affairs department, offered an apology at a press conference in Osaka on Monday. “We will endeavor to ensure that a recurrence does not take place,” he said.