• Kyodo

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A 7-year-old girl abducted Tuesday in Kuroiso, Tochigi Prefecture, was found uninjured Wednesday in the same prefecture, police said.

Miho Akimoto was found by police at a public culture center after she called her mother at home from a pay phone at around 12:06 p.m., according to police. Although tired, the girl appeared uninjured.

The elementary school second-grader was playing with her 4-year-old sister outside her grandfather’s house at around 11:55 a.m. Tuesday when she was abducted by a couple in a car, police said.

Miho met her mother, Sachiko, at Kuroiso Police Station at around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, about 24 hours after she was abducted.

Police quoted Miho as saying she was given coins by her abductors to make a telephone call.

Police are looking for the couple, a young man and woman probably driving a white car. Witness reports indicate the car was modified and had a large muffler.

At the time the girl was abducted, the man was wearing a whitish jacket and the woman was wearing glasses, according to police. Miho’s sister told investigators she did not recognize either of the two.

Police in Kuroiso have received six reports of elementary school and junior high school students being approached by strangers between April and July, police said, adding they are investigating possible connections between these cases and the latest one.

Miho, along with her mother and sister, visited her grandfather’s house Tuesday morning, which is about 1 km from their house.

Her father, Michio, 35, stayed at home. “This is Miho,” police quoted the girl as having told her mother on the phone. “Please come and pick me up.”

When she arrived at the police station in the arms of an investigator, Miho wearing the same pink tank top that she had been wearing at the time of her abduction, appeared surprised at the number of reporters awaiting her return.

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