Japan may be well-known for its food, cleanliness, and overall consideration and politeness of its people.
It seems though, that the outbreak of Covid-19 has caused something ugly to rear its head.
Fights and panic buying
The country's streets have been emptier as citizens sequester themselves at home.
And as the the number of confirmed cases rise to 275 as of Mar. 3, paranoia appears to be gripping many in the land of the rising sun.
Recently, scuffles erupted on the streets of Yokohama over masks, which are high in demand.
Japan, with her emphasis on orderliness and uniformity, is not exempt to the mad and irrational scramble for necessities and other essentials at supermarkets.
The country saw a bout of panic-buying at supermarts in Shinjuku and Saitama, where the shelves cleared of the precious commodity that is toilet paper.
Toilet paper thieves
It appears that toilet paper is so prized an item that some people have gone one step further.
One Twitter user posted a sign taped outside a public toilet in Nakano, Tokyo, stating the use of the toilets had been suspended.
The "continual theft of toilet paper".
中野の治安、もう崩壊してない？ pic.twitter.com/cb0BKkJAt0— 平田朋義 (@tomo3141592653) February 29, 2020
Numerous similar signs have been appearing too.
The sign in the second image says that people are required to borrow toilet paper from the staff at the store, and after their business is done, to return them.
The sign said, "A request to customers! Please do not take the spare toilet paper rolls!"
With some resorting to more innovative, theft-proof measures.
One sign even stated that toilet paper thieves will be reported to the police.
親が2件回ったけど、トイレットペーパーないから見かけたら買って。— あっ (@i_m_fanta) February 29, 2020
Japan takes thefts seriously -- even toilet paper thefts.
In 2018, a 64-year-old man from Shimane Prefecture was arrested for stealing a roll of toilet paper from a hospital restroom.
According to Japan Today, he was fined ¥200,000 (S$2,578).
The toilet paper was worth ¥30 (S$0.39).
Top photo from @kauru935 / Twitter and @DJ_meatkun / Twitter