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

OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Prefectural Police on Wednesday again sought the help of the public in locating a 9-year-old girl who went missing 17 years ago in the town of Kumatori, reports NHK (May 20).

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

On the anniversary of her disappearance last year, officers and members of a non-profit organization distributed thousands leaflets with information on the disappearance of Yoshikawa to commuters at Namba Station in Osaka City’s Chuo Ward.

However, such an action was cancelled this year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Instead, police sought to connect with via social media and its web site.

A video posted to the site shows a portrait of Yoshikawa and the garments she was wearing on the day she disappeared.

“We have great hopes that the power of social media will effectively spread the word,” said Osaka Prefectural Police commissioner Takehiro Kyoraku. “Each piece of information, one by one, advances the investigation. We would appreciate even trivial information.”

Since the investigation began, police have received about 4,500 tips. However, none of them led to the discovery of Yoshikawa.

Among them are eyewitness reports of a suspicious white Toyota Crown sedan stopped in the area around the time of Yoshikawa’s disappearance. The vehicle is believed to be a 130 Series model, which was manufactured between 1987 and 1990.

The National Police Agency is offering a reward of 3 million yen for information leading to the conclusion of the case.

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