After a booking error, a 24-year-old in Japan received 463 times the amount of Corona aid. When the city demands the money back, there is no yen left.

It was a simple accounting error made by the administration in Yamaguchi Prefecture in early April. Instead of transferring the corona aid for a household to a man in the small town of Abu, the aid for a total of 463 households was transferred to him. 46.3 million yen (around 340,000 euros) unexpectedly ended up in the man’s account – originally, every low-income household was supposed to receive 100,000 yen (735 euros) in support. The authorities noticed the error immediately, but they were unable to contact the 24-year-old, reports the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Because instead of paying back the money, the man went a different way. According to an investigation by “Asahi Shimbun”, 600,000 yen were already debited from the account on the day of the incorrect booking. Over the next two weeks, the money gradually disappeared from the account. The Japanese news agency “Kyodo” reports that the 24-year-old gambled away all the Corona aid in online casinos. His lawyer said at a press conference that the money had disappeared from his account and could not be repaid. According to the lawyer, his client spent all of the money via apps on his smartphone. The 24-year-old handed the smartphone over to the police for investigation. “I will atone for my sins,” he said in an interview.

Japan: City demands money back from 24-year-old

In Abu, people are less than happy about their fellow citizen’s extravagant streak. The city has taken legal action against the 24-year-old and is now seeking 51 million yen ($400,000) in damages from him. “With the lawsuit, we want to understand the course of the money. I want him to pay the money back, it’s not too late for that,” said Norihiko Hanada, Mayor of Abus, according to “Kyodo”. It is inexcusable if he really gambled away the entire sum in casinos. “We will do our best to recover the funds that are so important to our residents,” Hanada promised.

In the meantime, the 24-year-old has also somewhat given up his refusal, reports Kyodo on Wednesday, citing an unnamed source. He wants to pay back the money step by step. But first he needs a job. According to the Guardian, the man recently resigned from his job and is currently unemployed. However, the other households in Abu do not have to do without the Corona aid. Meanwhile, each affected household has been paid the intended sum of 100,000 yen.

Sources: Kyoto, Asahi Shimbun, BBC, Guardian