Scared Park Employee Didn’t Collect Admission from Foreigners for 2.5 Years

A 71-year-old former employee at Shinjuku Gyoen park failed to collect admission fees to the park from at least 160,000 foreigners between April 2014 and December 2016, park officials said.

The man said he stopped asking foreign visitors for the 200-yen entrance fee at the ticket counter after one of them yelled at him, and he felt intimidated after that, Sankei Shimbun reported.

(Pictured: Shinjuku Gyoen park. Source: Japan Guide)

The environment ministry, which manages the park, has penalized the man one month’s salary. After the news came to light last week, the employee submitted his resignation and offered to return half of his retirement money — approximately 300,000 yen.

According to park authorities, the man provided free entry tickets to the park to foreign visitors and then deleted the records from the ticket database. Another employee noticed that the number of printed tickets did not match the recorded number of visitors to the park in the database.

Officials said he was not good at English and was afraid of foreigners after he was “shouted at” by one tourist for not speaking a foreign language. After that incident, he said he was afraid to collect money from foreign visitors. He was quoted as saying he did not think of his actions as embezzlement.

Around 2 million people visited Shinjuku Gyoen, a popular cherry blossom and autumn foliage sightseeing spot, in 2016, many of whom were foreigners.

Source: Japan Today