• Kyodo


Tochigi Prefectural Police stepped up their search Tuesday for two men suspected of abducting a 7-year-old girl in Kuroiso, Tochigi Prefecture, last week by expanding their probe into unoccupied villas in nearby areas of the prefecture.

According to police, the two suspects, Ryuichi Fujita, 22, and Kunihiko Tanaka, 21, allegedly abducted Miho Akimoto as she was playing with her 4-year-old sister in front of her grandfather’s home Aug. 14. The girl was found unharmed the following day after her captors released her.

An arrest warrant for Fujita was obtained by police Monday evening after a search of his home in Kuroiso turned up some clothing that appears very similar to what one of the suspects was reportedly wearing during the abduction, according to police. They also found the girl’s fingerprints on objects in the house.

Investigative sources said police believe the pair could not have fled far, as they are thought to have little money and modes of transport are limited.

Because of this, police focused their search on unoccupied villas in areas such as the Nasu highlands near the city, the sources said.

Neither of the men have worked more than three or four months this year, nor do they have bank accounts, indicating they have little money available, police said. While Fujita’s scooter is missing, Tanaka left his car at his parents house, and it is highly unlikely that the pair, if together, can move great distances on the scooter, police added.

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