A new study estimates that the total market value of unused mobile phones across Japan is about 19 billion dollars.
The research was conducted by Katsuhiro Miyamoto, Professor Emeritus at Kansai University, and a company that buys and sells secondhand phones.
Miyamoto used government and industry data to estimate that about 130 million smartphones and 80 million cellphones are likely being kept unused across the country.
He multiplied these numbers by the average prices paid for each type of phone by secondhand shops.
Miyamoto also estimates that these phones contain about 426 million dollars' worth of gold, silver and other precious metals.
He says he believes people hold onto their old phones for a number of reasons, including their sustained worth, fear of private information being leaked, and personal attachment.