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Tokyo cops: Programmer used Twitter to abduct 16-year-old girl for 3 weeks

Konosuke Yokota
Konosuke Yokota

TOKYO (TR) – A self-proclaimed freelance programmer and photographer was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly abducting a teenage girl he met through Twitter and holding her in his apartment for 25 days.

Officers from the Ikebukuro Police Station police arrested Konosuke Yokota, 36, a self-proclaimed programmer of Kami-Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, on suspicion of abducting a 16-year-old girl he met through Twitter and holding her in his apartment in Tokyo from May 27 to Monday, the Mainichi Shimbun reports (June 22).

Police said Yokota is denying the charges, claiming that he “did in fact let the girl stay, but I didn’t know she was underage.”

“The girl ran away from home, so I wanted to make her happy by letting her stay,” Yokota was quoted as telling police.

Yokota invited the 16-year-old girl to his home after she tweeted him “I ran away from home but I’m broke. Let me stay with you,” according to police.

Police believe Yokota did not attempt to restrict the teenage girl’s freedom during her stay.

Nippon News Network reported that Yokota on Monday let in another 16-year-old girl from Osaka who had also run away from home, but she alerted police after she was creeped out upon noticing the Tokyo girl in his room.

‘Help out people in trouble’

A now-unavailable Sports Nippon article cited numerous times by various web sites and Twitter users, allegedly reported that Yokota was arrested over Child Welfare Law violations in 2010 on suspicion of forcing a junior high school girl he met online to engage in prostitution at his home.

According to Sports Nippon, Yokota, who was 30 at the time, admitted to the charges and said he wanted to “help out people who were in trouble after they left home.”

Police believed Yokota also arranged for a man to meet with a 14-year-old middle school girl in a hotel in Toshima Ward in 2009.

Yokota reportedly let a total of six people who ran away from home stay at his residence since January 2009, and had them all engage in sexual conduct.

Photographer for hire

According to Yokota’s personal web site, he was born in Okayama Prefecture and attended Waseda University. He claims to have worked for Nikkei Research, a research firm under the Nikkei Group.

The suspect appears to be listed as a “founding member” of a student group that maintains an unofficial web site for his Toyama Prefectural Toyama High School. Yokota’s profile claims he is a “freelance programmer and pro photographer.”

Yokota also appears on a website for freelance photographers, where he charges a general hourly rate of ¥8,000 with a history of 81 orders and an average 4.7 rating. His portfolio includes a shot of high school girls, which is listed as a “news photo.”

A section on Yokota’s personal site lists various prices for photo shoots, including private portraits and product shoots for between 20,000 yen and 30,000 yen, a one-day photo shoot of restaurant menu photos and events for between 40,000 yen and 50,000 yen and weddings, events and concerts for between 60,000 yen and 80,000 yen.

In another section titled “Self introduction essays,” Yokota wrote that one of his prized possessions is a small USB drive that “contains over 300,000 characters of important data.”

“If I die from a disease or an accident, I’d want [the contents in the USB] to be showcased to the world,” Yokota wrote.