LA SERENA, CHILE – Prosecutors in Chile have given French authorities information about man being sought for the alleged murder of a Japanese woman missing in France, a Chilean official said Friday, as French authorities combed a forested area for clues.
By relaying the information on her former boyfriend, who was earlier reported to be hiding in the central city of La Serena after returning from France last month, Chilean prosecutors have ended their investigation for the time being.
The French side is expected to analyze the information and decide whether to make a fresh call to extradite the man, though no deadline has been set for such a move, the official said.
In France, local media reported Friday that authorities were continuing to search for evidence regarding where 21-year-old Narumi Kurosaki may have gone after disappearing from a university dorm in the eastern city of Besancon early last month.
Authorities believe Kurosaki’s 26-year-old former boyfriend, Nicolas Zepeda Contreras, drove through a forested area in the suburbs of Besancon in a rented car to the Dole area about 40 km southwest. They have been combing the area and divers have searched a canal near Dole. But snow and frozen waterways have stymied their efforts, reports said.
Local media also reported that a Japanese university student who was an acquaintance of Kurosaki had been asked by Contreras in mid-December to translate some text into Japanese.
According to the Le Parisien newspaper, the student had been asked to translate phrases such as, “I happen to be in an environment where I can’t connect to the Internet,” into Japanese.
Contreras made the request by email around Dec. 14 or 15, the newspaper said, adding that this could have been an attempt by him to post a fake message online to make it appear as if Kurosaki were still alive.
This Japanese student got to know Contreras at the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture in 2014, when he introduced Kurosaki as his girlfriend. But Kurosaki later split up with the Chilean student and began dating a different student in France, where she was studying French.
In the meantime, visiting Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called for France’s help in solving the case during a meeting with his counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault.
At a press briefing after the meeting, the French foreign minister said that Paris will keep Tokyo abreast of developments in the investigation.
Kurosaki, a junior at the University of Tsukuba, was studying at the University of Franche-Comte in Besancon. Before her disappearance, she dined with the Chilean man and the two returned to her dorm afterward.
While no body has been found, French prosecutors have put the man on an international wanted list for murder and other charges. A French official said prosecutors have enough evidence to believe Kurosaki was murdered.