• Kyodo


A Japanese man who was found safe with minor wounds on the weekend after being abducted in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang two days earlier returned to Japan on Tuesday.

Eizaburo Yamanaka, 66, a former trading company employee from Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, arrived at Narita airport at around noon along with his 62-year-old wife and Japanese detectives on a flight from Shenyang, Liaoning Province.

Speaking at a news conference later in the day, Yamanaka said he was abducted after three Chinese men approached him as he arrived at Shenyang airport Thursday morning to return to Japan.

They reportedly called him by his name and told him that he had left something behind at his hotel, indicating that the object was in their car.

They spoke fluent Japanese, he said.

He added that during his confinement in a nearby flat, he was only given water.

According to Japanese police, the three men gave the name of the hotel at which Yamanaka had stayed when they approached him.

Yamanaka had been interviewed almost daily by Chinese and Japanese police since he was found. Appearing healthy, he repeatedly thanked Chinese authorities, the Japanese Consulate General and other officials who came to Shenyang airport to send him off.

Three Chinese men are being detained by police in Shenyang in connection with the incident. They were identified by Chinese investigators as Zhou Yang, Huang Zhi and Qui Wengang.

According to Tokyo police, whose investigators were sent to China, Yamanaka, who lived in Shenyang until he was 8, told them he was touring the city alone when he was kidnapped by the three Chinese as he arrived at Shenyang airport around 7 a.m. on Thursday.

He said he was handcuffed, taken to a nearby apartment and confined there, according to police.

Yamanaka’s family received 11 phone calls at their Nerima home between Thursday and Friday from a man who demanded that the family bring a 5.1 million yen ransom to Shenyang.

The caller spoke fluently in the Kansai dialect, but Yamanaka told police immediately after being rescued Saturday that he never met anyone speaking the dialect.

Sources close to the investigation said Tuesday, however, that one of the three Chinese suspects had lived in Japan for more than 10 years, spending some time in the Kansai region.

Tokyo police said they plan to quiz Yamanaka for more details in an effort to discern whether the caller was one of the suspects or whether Japanese nationals were also involved in the kidnapping.

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