• Kyodo

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A Japanese woman was killed and another was left in critical condition after being stabbed Monday in Cappadocia, a historic region in central Turkey, the Japanese Embassy said Tuesday.

The deceased, Mai Kurihara, 22, from Natori in Miyagi Prefecture, and a 22-year-old friend from Toyama Prefecture who was hospitalized were reportedly attacked with a knife while walking in the Zemi Valley of Cappadocia, famous for its World Heritage sites. Both were enrolled as seniors at Niigata University’s Faculty of Education.

The second victim, whose name has been withheld, reportedly suffered numerous stab wounds, of which the most severe were to the neck. She was admitted to an intensive care unit at a local hospital and was receiving treatment, the embassy said.

Turkish security officials launched a search for the culprit. According to local media reports, the two women were found around 1:45 p.m. Monday by another group of tourists, who reported the incident to the police.

Mehmet Ceylan, the governor of Nevsehir Province, where the attack occurred, said he was “deeply saddened” by the news and vowed utmost efforts to capture the attacker.

Meanwhile, Mai Kurihara’s father, Mitsuhiro Kurihara, said early Tuesday that he received a phone call from the Japanese Embassy in Ankara informing him about the incident. “I can’t believe this,” he said.

Shiori Sato, 22, a neighbor of the family who went to elementary and junior high school with Kurihara, was in tears on hearing the news. “She was a very cheerful and smart girl. Everybody liked her. I can’t believe she was (murdered),” Sato said.

The father of the other victim told reporters at his home: “I never expected this to happen. This doesn’t make any sense.”

The two students departed for Turkey on Friday and planned to return home Sept. 19, he said, adding his daughter has traveled overseas several times, mostly in Asia, including to South Korea with Kurihara.

“My daughter was very interested in Turkey and had always wanted to go there,” he said. “It’s really hard, as I don’t know the details of what happened.”

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