• Kyodo


The daughter of the mayor of Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture, who had been listed as missing since last week was found safe in Yamanashi Prefecture on Tuesday afternoon.

Ryoko Suzuki, the 22-year-old eldest daughter of Iwata Mayor Nozomu Suzuki, was placed in protective custody by police after she was found at about 5:30 p.m., walking barefoot and soaking wet near Lake Kawaguchi at the foot of Mount Fuji, police officials said.

She had been missing since Friday.

She telephoned her mother just before she was found. Shizuoka Prefectural Police said she was not the victim of any crime or accident.

She reportedly told them she had spent the time by herself and had not been abducted.

She left home Friday morning, saying she was going to meet a female friend from high school, police said.

She failed to turn up at JR Hamamatsu Station, where she had promised to meet the friend at noon.

At around 2:30 p.m. that day, a passerby found her purse on a road between her home and Iwata Station, some 1.2 km away. It only contained small change.

About 50 meters from the spot where the purse was found, police found her right shoe on the side of the road.

Police and the family had been unable to contact her on her mobile telephone.

Earlier Tuesday, Shizuoka Prefectural Police said a woman who resembled Suzuki withdrew cash from her bank account from an automatic-teller machine in a convenience store in Osaka on Friday afternoon.

The woman whose image was caught on a store security camera appeared to be alone, the police said.

Mayor Suzuki told reporters later in the day that he and his wife were “truly relieved” after hearing the news of their daughter’s safety. “I would like to thank everyone for helping to find her,” he said.

She graduated from a women’s university in the Kansai region last week and was scheduled to start working at a company in Hamamatsu in April.

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