• Kyodo

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Twelve female students, all of them Chinese, at Aomori Akenohoshi Junior College in the city of Aomori have disappeared in the past three weeks, college officials said Wednesday.

The students, ranging in age from 18 to 32, vanished between May 5 and Friday after leaving their on-campus dormitories to attend classes or work part-time jobs, according to the college.

Local police said there is little possibility that their disappearances are linked with any sort of crime, suggesting the students left the school of their own volition.

The dozen missing women are among 40 Chinese students who began studying at the college in April. The college asked police Tuesday to begin searching for the women.

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