When a wife posted to an Internet forum that she’d thrown out her husband’s prized collection of stickers, little did she imagine that she’d have hoards of netizens cursing her. But that’s exactly what happened.
The husband had been collecting Bikkuriman stickers, which used to come with children’s snacks. Some of the stickers are now so rare, that they some are worth upwards of $2000 dollars a pop.
The outrage was so great, that is prompted an article questioning the extent to which the wife was criminally liable for getting rid of her husband’s stickers.
Should the wife be thrown in the slammer? Or is marital harmony priceless?
From Livedoor News:
Wife Disposes Of Husband’s Treasured “Bikkuriman Stickers” Worth Tens Of Thousands Of Yen…Is It A Crime To Throw Things Away Without Asking?
“When I was doing the cleaning, I came across a file with my husband’s stickers in it in the living room. I flicked through and I was so disgusted with him that I just threw them away…” That’s what one woman posted on an Internet message board. What she threw away was the “Bikkurman stickers” her husband had been collecting.
When the husband found out that his previous collection had been thrown away, “he collapsed on the floor in tears”. He’d lived for collecting those stickers since he was a child. And Bikkuriman stickers can be traded for high values, with some worth over 300,000 yen [approx. $2432] for a single sticker. In her husband’s collection it seems there were several stickers that were worth several hundred thousand yen.
The woman said “My husband is an adult, why was he collecting things like a child would? I was right to throw them away”. But in the comments section beneath her post, there were floods of criticism, such as “You’re the lowest, throwing away someone’s things like that without even asking” and “Isn’t it a criminal act to dispose of your husband’s assets without his permission?”.
It might be an act within the family, but is it actually a crime for a wife to throw away the sticker collection her husband had been dilligently gathering since his childhood? We asked lawyer Oguma Yuji.
● What is the wife responsible for if she’s thrown out stickers without her husband’s permission?
“The wife could be held liable in both for both a criminal and a civil suit”
That’s how Oguma began. But why is there the possibility that the wife could be held legally responsible?
“Well, first of all, just as in this case, the act of a wife throwing out her husband’s stickers can be thought of as “criminal damage” (Penal Code Article 261).
“The “damage” in criminal damage does not only refer to physical damage such as throwing a stone through a window and breaking it, it refers to “Any act that damages the use of an object”. Among such acts, causing someone to lose exclusive possession of an object is also included.
“In this instance, by his wife throwing away the stickers, the husband has lost exclusive possession of his stickers. Consequently, the wife’s actions are “damage”, and the crime of criminal damage to property applies.”
So in reality the wife could be questioned for criminal damage?
“For example, when it comes to theft, when the act has taken place among relatives they can be exempt from punishment. However, when it comes to criminal damage, since there is no special treatment for relatives, so even if you are someone’s wife, you are not exempt from punishment. However, criminal damage is crime that requires a formal complaint from the victim, so unless the husband presses charges there can be no lawsuit”.
And so, how about the wife’s responsibility from a civil law perspective?
“Regarding her civil liability, in this case the wife purposely threw away the stickers because she ‘thought they were disgusting’, and violated her husband’s property rights, so it constitutes an ‘unlawful act’.
“Accordingly, it is possible that in this case the husband could seek compensation for the current value of the stickers. Furthermore, considering that the stickers were very rare, there is also the possibility that the husband could seek damages for psychological suffering at having lost the stickers”.
Even though the stickers might seem like rubbish to someone who didn’t know their value, there are times when these things are actually unlikely treasures. And even if they are the possessions of a spouse or a family member, the key rule is to never touch other people’s things.
Comments from 2ch.net:
It wouldn’t have been strange if this case had ended in bloodshed.
I bet she made a complete fool of him all the time w
I guess some people think like wtf, some old dude is seriously collecting this stuff?
You can marry someone even if they don’t share the same interests as you.
You can’t marry someone who doesn’t tolerate your interests.
This is just your common garden-variety domestic violence.
What’s more, she’s got no remorse.
Women throw stuff out without giving a damn.
You guys will experience this at some point in your lives, too.
I’d never forgive her.
I’d live separately from her and then break up with her through a third person.
I always think when I read stuff like this that something must have happened a few days earlier. I mean, they got to know each other, they dated, and then they got married so she should know about his quirks already. And that’s what’s so frightening about women — they can cut all that down in a single stroke.
I started collecting Bikkuriman stickers quite late on, but even now when I see the shiny ones I think they’re beautiful. I just don’t know why anyone would want to throw them out.
This is what it means to be married.
Single men beware.
Will it take your interests or your dignity?
Can’t he use this as a reason to get started on a divorce and compensation combo?
So she threw out tens of thousands of yen’s worth of his assets? What a waste.
The wife was in the right.
The husband and his vile little hobby are at fault.
That’s why women are the pros when it comes to cleaning.
That poor guy.
But he should have told his wife about his hobby and reminded her to keep her paws off his stuff.
Usually you wouldn’t throw out stuff that was stored in a file.
If this had been me I’d have probably decked her.