• Kyodo


Police on Sunday placed a 21-year-old man on a wanted list in connection with the abduction and confinement of a 7-year-old girl in Kuroiso, Tochigi Prefecture last week.

Police said they are searching for Kunihiko Tanaka, a resident of the city who they allege is one of two men responsible for the kidnapping of Miho Akimoto, a second-grader who was abducted shortly before noon on Tuesday. The girl was snatched by two people in a white sedan while playing with her 4-year-old sister outside the home of their grandfather, police said. She was later found unharmed in the same city on Wednesday, about 24 hours after she disappeared.

The other suspect is a 22-year-old man with glasses who used to work with Tanaka at a part-time job and who police believe to be his accomplice. The man left his home in Kuroiso on Friday and has not returned.

Earlier in the day, police found Tanaka’s car at his mother’s house in Nishinasuno. The white sedan is believed to be the same one used when Tanaka allegedly snatched the girl.

Although the car is registered under his name, his mother has been using it to commute. Tanaka drove the car on Aug. 11 and returned it Tuesday.

When his mother pointed out that the picture of the abduction suspect resembled him, Tanaka reportedly asked his mother what she would do if he was the man, police said. He suggested he would turn himself in and left his mother to walk home, they said.

Police resumed their search of Tanaka’s apartment in Kuroiso on Sunday after taking a break early in the morning. The search was begun late Saturday night.

Tanaka closely resembles a police sketch that was based on the girl’s testimony. After seeing a picture of Tanaka, the girl told police she was sure he was one of her two abductors.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.