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Osaka police again seek help in search for girl who went missing in ’03

OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Prefectural Police on Monday again sought the help of the public in locating a 9-year-old girl who went missing 16 years ago in the town of Kumatori, reports the Sankei Shimbun (May 20).

On Monday, about 30 officers and members of a non-profit organization distributed around 5,000 leaflets with information on the disappearance of Yuri Yoshikawa to commuters at Namba Station in Osaka City’s Chuo Ward.

Based on the results of an investigation, the Izumisano Police Station believes Yoshikawa, a fourth-grader at Kita Elementary School, was possibly kidnapped at around 3 p.m. on May 20, 2003 on a street near her residence in Kumatori.

Police have received three eyewitness reports of a suspicious white Toyota Crown sedan stopped in the area around that time. The vehicle is believed to be a 130 Series model, which was manufactured between 1987 and 1990.

Of the roughly 900 such vehicles that have been registered in the southern part of Osaka Prefecture, police have located the owners of about 650. However, none of them led to the discovery of Yoshikawa.

Yuri Yoshikawa
Yuri Yoshikawa went missing on May 20, 2003 (Twitter)

Tips from the public are coming in at a slower pace than last year. Through this past April, police received 25 tips. For all of last year, the figure stood at 350.

“All investigators are working together and are ready at all times,” said police superintendent Takahiko Mori. “Even just one piece of information is what we are seeking.”

Yoshiharu Sanbonmatsu, the representative director of NPO Aiueo is assisting in the search. “I am praying for the safe return of Yuri-chan,” he said, “and in the future I want to continue these activities in the future.”

Persons with information in the case are urged to call the Izumisano Police Station at 0724-64-1234.