Japan's export-driven economy is in the doldrums because of the recession, but don't worry -- the Japanese government is ready to help again, this time with its new "fixed-amount stimulus package" for all taxpayers, including legally registered gaijin like me (yay). Although the paltry $120 per adult doesn't go very far, families also get $200 per child, so the overall amount wasn't too bad. Since elderly Japanese are notoriously susceptible to "it's me, it's me"-type frauds in which a stranger calls up pretending to be a son or grandson in dire need of a quick $30,000 to get out of some trouble, the government is running advertisements warning people about the potential for stimulus-related shenanigans. "No one from the government will ever ask to borrow your ATM card or bank passbook, or require that you surrender any private personal information," say the ads. I hope they're effective, but considering that there were more than 17,000 reported cases of bank fraud last year, I'm sure some people will get duped.
The Japanese government is taking steps to guard against stimulus-related fraud.