Police searched a beach in Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture Saturday in connection with the case of missing British bar hostess Lucie Blackman, who disappeared in July.

The search operation primarily seeks evidence to support suspicions that a 48-year-old Japanese company executive arrested Thursday molested a Canadian woman in 1996, police sources said.

But the search of the beach, located near a resort facility, also involves a police investigation of possible links between Joji Ohara and Blackman.

Ohara, the president of a real estate company and owner of properties in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, is alleged to have taken the Canadian woman to his condominium in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, and molested her after plying her with alcohol.

She worked as a bar hostess in the Roppongi entertainment district in the capital’s Minato Ward. Blackman, a 22-year-old former British Airways flight attendant, also worked as a Roppongi bar hostess.

Blackman, who speaks almost no Japanese, went missing after leaving her apartment in Shibuya Ward on July 1, telling a friend someone was going to take her for a drive to the seashore.

Two days later, Blackman’s friend received a call from a man calling himself Akira Takagi who said Blackman was being trained in a new religion in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo.

The disappearance became a high-profile case when Blackman’s father and sister visited Tokyo and appealed for help in finding her.

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