Police in Japan had been investigating a missing person case for about a month when they finally got a lead from an unexpected source. On Wednesday, Aug. 5, they rescued a female high school student from a kidnapper after she asked them for help using a video game console.
The teenager’s family went to the police to report that she was missing when she didn’t return home on July 4. The girl, who lives in Saitama, a region north of Tokyo, had gone to Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighbourhood to meet up with Goto Hiroyasu, a 44-year-old entrepreneur she met on social media, Mainichi Shimbun reported.
They ended up going to Goto’s apartment in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, where the man reportedly confiscated her phone then held her captive. She had been confined there against her will for about a month before finding a way to ask for help.
On the evening of August 5, the girl managed to get a hold of an unidentified video game console that was connected to the internet. She used this to contact Saitama Police’s online emergency help desk, writing the message: “I am held captive and can’t escape.”
Cops immediately headed for Goto’s apartment and found the girl tied up to an iron pipe with metallic wire ropes. The man admitted to kidnapping the girl, telling police: “I did hold her captive.”
In an interview with FNN, Goto’s neighbour described him as “very scary.” Others said he seemed calm and quiet but added that they never saw him with friends. Another neighbour said that they didn’t hear anything coming from the man’s house, “not even a scream.”
Authorities are still investigating how exactly Goto and the girl met, Asahi Shimbun reported.
The number of crimes in Japan targetting underage people on social media has increased over the last few years. According to the children’s education website Resemom, police reports show that these cases increased by 26.8 percent in five years, from 2014 to 2019.
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