• Kyodo

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Firefighters found the body of a 6-year-old boy in an irrigation ditch in Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, police said Saturday.

Ryuji Kono, in the first grade at a municipal elementary school, was lying face down in the ditch about 2 meters below the road when he was found at around 11 p.m. Friday by firefighters.

They had been searching for him in the residential area about 1 km east of JR Kita-Ageo Station after his mother reported him missing.

Abrasions were detected on Kono’s face and hands, and his left wrist was fractured, but his clothes were not disheveled, the police said.

They opened an investigation into the cause of death, and said he may have accidentally fallen into the ditch.

He failed to return home Friday evening after parting with a classmate at a nearby public building for children around 5 p.m., the police said.

The irrigation ditch, 30 to 50 cm deep and located about 100 meters from Kono’s home, is surrounded by 1-meter-high wire fences, they said. However, students from the elementary school often play in the area around the ditch.

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