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Fake ¥5,000 bills floating through Okinawa stores

Date Posted: 2005-03-18

The new Japanese currency has only been in circulation a few months, and already counterfeiters have struck.

The first phony ¥5,000 notes have been found at a Ginowan City liquor shop and at a Chatan convenience store. Others have been reported this week in the Kitamae area near Camp Foster, and at a Ginowan City supermarket. Five bills have been confiscated by police this week.

“We know about the fake bills,” says a policeman talking about a bill taken at a Kitamae area bar. “We know the bill was passed by an American military guy, which is why we were called.” Okinawa City police say they don’t know who passed the bills, but that there were two men apparently involved. Those two told police they didn’t know the bills were fake, saying they’d received them from an ATM.

After interrogation though, they confessed they’d made the bills on a copy machine and scanner unit with a computer. Police identified the two as U.S. Marines stationed at Camp Foster. Military investigators are now involved, working together with prosecutors. Officials say the men will be charged and tried under Japanese law.

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