Two bodies recently found in southern Afghanistan were confirmed Saturday to be those of a missing Japanese man and woman, the Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry said the dental records of Jun Fukusho, 44, and Shinobu Hasegawa, 30, matched those of the two bodies. Officials have notified their families, the ministry said.

The two teachers at a municipal junior high school in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, went missing after entering Afghanistan from Pakistan in early August, according to Japanese officials.

Their identities were confirmed after officials resumed examining the two bodies Saturday in Kabul. The examination included matching their dental records.

According to an Afghan doctor who attended the examination, both were apparently shot once in the head from close range and the bodies had been abandoned for about a month.

The bodies were discovered in southern Afghanistan. Japanese coins were found in a wallet in the man’s clothing.

Kandahar Gov. Assadullah Khalid told the Reuters news service Friday that the bodies were found in the desert, about 7 km from the main road between Kandahar and Kabul.

“We found the two bodies in an irrigation ditch. They had been shot,” he was quoted as saying.

The Associated Press quoted Khalid as saying villagers found them late Thursday night and that both appeared to have been fatally shot several days before. One was a man and appeared to be Japanese, he said, while the other, a woman, was unrecognizable.

The bodies were brought to Kabul on Friday evening.

Fukusho and Hasegawa had been missing since Aug. 8 when they checked out of a hotel in Quetta, western Pakistan, and told officers at an Afghan border checkpoint that they intended to visit the Bamiyan ruins. They set off for Afghanistan in a taxi.

They wrote in the hotel guest book, “We are going to Kandahar,” according to hotel sources.

According to the Hiroshima prefectural board of education and the Onomichi city board of education, the two teachers left Kansai airport Aug. 6 for Karachi via Bangkok.

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