crime

Missing Okayama girl found unharmed; 49-year-old man arrested

67 Comments

Police in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, said Saturday night that an 11-year-old girl who disappeared while walking on her way home from school last Monday afternoon, has been found unharmed after being confined in a man's home.

The man, identified as Takeshi Fujiwara, 49, has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and illegally confining Sakura Moriyama, police said at a late-night news conference, TBS reported.

At around 4 p.m. last Monday, Sakura called her mother to come and pick her up from school. However, her mother was at the hospital with her younger sister and was unable to pick her up, so Sakura started to walk the 2.5-km distance from the school to her home.

Police said a witness reported seeing her talking with a man in his 30s or 40s about 150 meters from her home at around 5 p.m. The man was dressed in a black suit and was standing near a silver car. She was not seen again after that.

Police said that Sakura’s mother called them one afternoon in May after she saw a silver car parked near their home a couple of times and was worried that it might have followed Sakura home from school. She was able to give police a partial license number.

Working on that information, police said they were able to trace the owner of the silver car and at around 10:20 p.m. Saturday, they visited Fujiwara's house in Kita Ward, Okayama, where they found Sakura unharmed. Police said she was lying on a futon, in pajamas, watching TV.

Fujiwara's house is about 8 kilometers from Sakura's home. He was quoted by police as saying that he got Sakura into his car by offering to drive her home.

Police said Fujiwara is an illustrator by profession and works at home a lot.

© Japan Today

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67 Comments
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A most unbelieveable outcome considering the time she was missing.

Her family must be over the moon at her safe return - what a wonderful ending to this story.

24 ( +23 / -0 )

It seems most of these girls are found alive. Here in the States, it wouldn't be like that.... Hope she doesn't suffer PTSD....

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Oh, thank god!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I think the publicity caused him not to harm her. Thank goodness. He realized that her phone was traced, he was seen, his car is known...no way he could have done anything after that and not be found out. He would have gotten the death penalty for sure.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Someone should teach this girl Not to get in the car with strangers.

-1 ( +11 / -11 )

A miracle. I am really relieved to see this girl has been found safe, I am also happy that the police tracked her down in time. Give this guy paedophilia charges, and 10 years in jail. That should teach him not to kidnap anymore. This girl will probably need medical attention and mental counselling now. Put this kidnapper to work in prison and let every cent he earns go towards her when she turns 18.

6 ( +8 / -3 )

The best news this morning ... very glad that she unharmed. I wish that guy spend the rest of his life in jail , not a few months suspended sentence .

6 ( +6 / -0 )

My prayer answered - thank you Jesus! I'm crying over this lil girl this week, im relieved! @Sapporo!

0 ( +8 / -8 )

darknuts Someone should teach this girl Not to get in the car with strangers.

EXACTLY - - -Schools i n the States and Canada, have embedded into their curriculum at the Elementary School level from K -7 lessons on "HOW TO STAY SAFE. . . . it is a mandatory . . . . .I

4 ( +7 / -3 )

YES! Fantastic, brilliant news. So SO happy I was wrong in believing the worst. Wow! Great start to the day! Well done everyone who got her home safe! x x

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Kudos to the mother that was well aware... unfortunately the police didn't seem to follow up until after the fact.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Unharmed, presumably untouched.....wonderful news. I hope not too traumatized separating from her family.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wow.

the thing I find hard to understand here is that her Mum was clearly on the ball and had the wherewithal to notice the car, write down it's number plate and notify the police - she has done the right thing. It's wrong to assume, but you would also think she might have followed that with a conversation with her daughter about talking to strangers and especially getting into cars with them, and yet the guy managed to abduct her anyway.

Perhaps the little girl just froze, who knows.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

WOW ! That really IS great news ! I know many of us feared for the worst !

Just wondering... I'm pretty sure she didn't have a pair of pyjamas in her school bag... Did he entice her by promising to buy things for her - with a pair of pyjamas among them ?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Wonderful that the child was found. Now it's the man's turn to be confined, for a very long time.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Why did it take so long to trace the car??

Why did she get in a car she should have specifically been warned not to?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Thank goodness this girl is being returned home safely in regards to the stalker/nutcase he needs t

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why the "-1" ? My parents always warned me about being "offered to buy things for me" ! Doesn't anyone else find it rather strange she was wearing a pair of pyjamas (maybe his ?) in a strange house ?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Probably there is more to his story than reported here. It doesn't make sense that after walking most of the 2.5 km to home, she got into the car 150 meters away from her house "to drive her home". Since the mother talked with the police about the car, she surely warned the girl as well, but still she got into the car. And she was watching TV in pajamas when she was found, suggesting that she was not feeling threatened.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Thatis great news it is no ones falt that the girl was abducted except the man who abducted her . He planed it and she is lucky to be home today safe and that was because he mother did take notice of a car that was not sapose to be in the area GOOD JOB MOM

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nice to see the girl cuddled up in her mother's arms again. At present this man is charged with false imprisonment (violation of article 220 of the Japanese Penal Code) which carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nothing better to start the day with than good news of a child arriving home safe after being kidnapped! Schools must educate parents and children about these dangers. These things do happen. Sometimes they are random, sometimes they are planned, sometimes the person is a complete stranger and other times a respected or known member of the community. When the person is known, the adults often do not want to cause trouble or stand out.One hopes that times have changed. Her trauma may not actually show up immediately and things will seem all right, even for years. But, she is home and that is everything!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds like she was groomed previously by the perp.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thank God she is safe. As for as the guy who took her, her should go to jail forever. He will apologize for his actions and that makes it better. Initially it was reported the mother didn't remember or see the license plate of the vehicle but now it states she was able to give them partial of the plate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Great news! But, I'm not sure if 'unharmed' is the correct word to use. No doubt she has been severely traumatised by this. And, she deserves a face palm for getting into a car with a stranger.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Nie to see some good news for a change. Well, I guess it isn`t necessarily good news considering what she went through, but it is news that at least comes as a relief.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That the gods! Usually these things don't come out with near as 'happy' an ending. The family can breathe a sigh of relief, as can we all, and most importantly this young girl can move on with her life. While the man did not seem to harm her physically, he definitely needs to be locked up.

Anyway, a big relief for all, and I hope the family holds this dear little one close.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The mother alerted police to an alleged stalker in May and nothing happen. It was only after the witness describe the silver car and the stalker that the police took action. Luckily the little girl was unharmed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Depends on the meaning of "partial". Half the cars in Japan are silver and if, for example, she only reported a couple of the main numbers and not the registration area then it would be harder to trace the car. Thankfully however, a happy ending.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An answer to prayer!!! May GOD give her and her family peace at this situation being concluded with a positive outcome...and may the person who kidnapped her find himself in a very small and uncomfortable jail cell with a very large roommate VERY soon...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Thank goodness she is alright...man I hate stories like this, but I feel major relief when there isn't a tragic outcome. There should be stronger penalties for kidnapping because its happening way too often.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I actually just breathed a sigh of relief. Thank goodness she was found safely. Certainly a parents worst nightmare.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

According to some Japanese news outlets, it's probable that the guy will plead insanity and, if successful, enter a psychiatric hospital. From there, if the doctors approve it, he could/might be released in a few months and placed under his parents care. Quite obviously, the Japanese public is not and has not been too thrilled with their system of taking care of problems like this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good news. About the perp, I would she had known him; otherwise she would have accepted a ride home.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thank God!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Finally some good news today. Got goose flesh when I read this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Stories like this put me on full paranoia mode. I have a six year who I see talking to 60-70 year old men quite often, and I always have to grab her and ask "who is that? Why are you talking to strangers?" only to learn later that he is neighbor who lives a couple houses away. I feel really bad when that happens, but at the same time, I always feel I have to remind my daughter not to talk to, look at, or accept anything from strangers. Of course being a small child, its sometimes hard for her to differentiate between a stranger and a neighborhood acquaintance whom we don't associate with too often, so she often rejects gifts from our neighbors who mean no harm and are trying to show old school hospitality. Its really sad that our society has resorted to this, because of few lunatics like this who prey on the innocence of young children. I really hope they make the penalties stricter for crimes against children. Letting then off on probation or giving them lenient sentences for false compassion only sets a precedence for future cases, and so it really has to stop.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm so happy to hear good news on a story like this for a change! Get on with your life, Sakura-chan, and never, never, never get in a car with a stranger again!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Great she's back, and in good health.

I agree w/ some there is something else going on here? The guy is an acquaintance of the family? Or had previously made contact and groomed her?

re the "don't talk to strangers" ppl, some of that is ok to say, but in fact not always useful from a child's perspective, and furthermore not usually the biggest threat, i.e. if you are worried the most about "strangers" you will end up missing the times/ places that are most dangerous. Fact is, often strangers are exactly who you should turn to in a time of need.

I read a book, Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker, really eye opening about protecting kids' safety.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Lowly

I made a similar post on the first thread of this story. 'Iv read that same book. Very interesting. Yes, the whole "Don't talk to strangers" spiel can actually be very bad and dangerous advice.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is something a bit odd about this "Police said she was lying on a futon, in pajamas, watching TV." it seems that she was relaxed and she was wareing PJs so where did the PJs come from? could they have been hers? but her house was miles away, so did he have a spare set? she would not have took them to school, very odd!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thank God for her recovery and hope that she will be able to recover emotionally as well. What an alert and aware mother of writing down the license number of the car. Our world could use more news like this!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

For those criticising the 11 year old girl for getting in the car, let's just remember we're going off the the testimony of the kidnapper here. Of course he's going to say she got in the car voluntarily.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

LowlyJul. 20, 2014 - 02:07PM JST

"Great she's back, and in good health.

I agree w/ some there is something else going on here? The guy is an acquaintance of the family? Or had previously made contact and groomed her?

re the "don't talk to strangers" ppl, some of that is ok to say, but in fact not always useful from a child's perspective, and furthermore not usually the biggest threat, i.e. if you are worried the most about "strangers" you will end up missing the times/ places that are most dangerous. Fact is, often strangers are exactly who you should turn to in a time of need.

I read a book, Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker, really eye opening about protecting kids' safety."<

Thanks for posting about the book. I will read it. Yes, I have personal experience with known people being more dangerous than strangers. It is really difficult when a child may be doubted for even suggesting that a known person may be a threat and no one believes him or her. Look at how many adults are coming forward about perps who are in charge of certain places of worship who were less than respectable. It is sad but not really anything new that children in reality have to be careful of even the kind person next door. This happens and they do not go after every child. They are attracted to a certain kind. One can spend years wondering what "was wrong with me" or "what did I do to bring that on". Paranoia and caution should be clearly separated. There are adults or teens or other children who bring harm to others. They do not have fangs and claws. Sometimes, they look really normal and liked by others... "a wolf in sheeps clothing" which is not a new phrase, and Little Red Riding Hood is not a new fable. We really need to help our children help themselves when we are not there to protect them. Awareness and caution without fear. So glad she is home. Never want this to happen again, but we all know it will.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Illustrator???

You mean the kind of illustrator that works for manga or anime company? The same companies that are still legally able to produce and distribute material focusing on sexually explicit acts with children. Is he doing research or living out a fantasy?

You have to be blind to not see a correlation between the material and the acts taking place.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thank God she's safe. Best news I've heard all week. I hope she she doesn't suffer any mental or psychological scars from this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Miria, you're right to not allow your child to talk to anyone unless you know them, even then I tell my children that they do not talk to ANYONE or go ANYWHERE unless they tell either me or the other half where, when, who with. More often than not it is someone a child knows.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think kids should know who to speak to and where to find shelter and help if needed.

Not sure about other areas but in my area many combini and stores are marked as 'child safety' areas. Also all our primary school kids need to carry an alarm buzzer (120db) attached to their school bag.

Teaching them to talk to no-one is the wrong thing, IMHO.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No paranoia. Mean people everywhere. Just know rules and explain to your kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Police said a witness reported seeing her talking with a man in his 30s or 40s about 150 meters from her home at around 5 p.m. The man was dressed in a black suit and was standing near a silver car. She was not seen again after that.

good thing she was found unharmed. and the guy is 49. a little more and he'll be joining 50s.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This reminds me of one of my friends here in Japan. She walked home around 8pm from the station every evening after work. It was about a 10 minute walk. For 2 straight evenings, a man on a scooter would ride up to her, grab her behind then speed off. So her mom decided to start meeting her at the station so they could walk home together. They were doing so for 2 months until one evening her mom couldn't make it to the station on time so she walked home alone. Low and behold, the same guy did the same exact thing again. The police did not do a thing, only had her fill out a paper and say that they are busy but will look into it.

I am glad that she was found and let it be a lesson to people with daughters who are being stalked or harassed. These idiots won't stop until they are behind bars.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

" it seems that she was relaxed and she was wareing PJs so where did the PJs come from? could they have been hers? but her house was miles away, so did he have a spare set? she would not have took them to school, very odd!

She was on a futon, and he was sitting there watching her, they just said on the news.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wow! just wow! she's completely safe and sound and unharmed! i wonder how and what happened during her time with the kidnapper? maybe the kidnapper's conscience kicked in!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If there was no harm to the girl -- and that would indicate he had no intent to harm her, because he certainly had the opportunity to do so -- he should receive mental health treatment and probation. It appears this is a mentally imbalanced person who poses no threat to others, other than perhaps himself.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

jpntdytmrw-

it isn't just that known ppl are more dangerous than unknown-- they are (relatives and friends of the family are more likely to prey on a kid), it's that teaching kids not to talk to strangers can mean not getting real help when in need. If the kid is in trouble, but it is dangerous to talk to strangers, they won't ask for help from the ppl who could help them-- a nearby adult. The fact is that only a very few ppl are predators, and most adults are trustworthy. Furthermore, instinctively most ppl and kids, will look for certain cues when asking a stranger for help. So in fact talking to strangers is often a very good thing.

Furthermore, an adult who has somehow gained a sense of trust or familiarity with a child is no longer a stranger, and so this guy, if he groomed her, talking to her in a non-threatening manner at first a couple times, has already figured out to pass the "stranger test" by "de-stranger-izing" himself.

But there's a lot more to it than that. Read De Becker's book. His other book, the Gift of Fear is also really good, but geared toward any at-risk person (adult women, stalked celebrities etc) as opposed to the special circumstances of children only.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If there was no harm to the girl -- and that would indicate he had no intent to harm her, because he certainly had the opportunity to do so -- he should receive mental health treatment and probation. It appears this is a mentally imbalanced person who poses no threat to others, other than perhaps himself.

You're joking right?

He has planned this kidnap for months. He has been stalking her since April (possibly earlier), he had renovations done on a room in his house (a soundproofed windowless room locked from the outside) in order to accomodate her; he obviously had prepare pyjamas, and presumably undies and other things for the girl. With all that preparation, it seems pretty clear that he was planning on keeping her for a long, long time.

He HAS harmed the girl, perhaps permanently. Not all wounds are physical you know. He needs to be locked away for a long, long time. If he is mentally unstable, then all the more so. He is a threat to society and should most certainly not be given "probation".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Absolutely fantastic outcome to a horrible situation

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Brian Wheway

There is something a bit odd about this "Police said she was lying on a futon, in pajamas, watching TV." it seems that she was relaxed and she was wareing PJs so where did the PJs come from?

Strange ! When I asked the same question, I was thumbed down no less than 4 times !!! I have just added a 4th thumb up for you - maybe I'm also being trolled ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thank you Lowly for adding the second book to read. It is true about the grooming and the de-stranger-izing. These people are smart. And the children are naiive. They do willingly go with a person who has cunningly gained their trust, if the adults they know have relations with the perp. "How could she have gotten in the car" people ask. But, it happens. Even as adults, one can find oneself in a situation that is completely unbelievable to others. "He would NEVER do that" and the person, child or adult, learns to just not tell. I don't know about this case and I am interested in the rest of the story. Anyway, it looks like the mother and daughter have a strong and open bond. That will be a real asset in her getting over this experience. The worst thing is having things swept under the rug. And also, about his not "doing anything" directly. That is a great strategy, isn't it? He just is "with" her but doesn't actually harm her or even touch her. Lets him off the hook to hang around looking for other children "not to touch or harm." Very difficult situation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Someone should teach this girl Not to get in the car with strangers.

The police have now stated that her kidnapper told the police he threatened her with a knife and said he would kill her unless she got into the car.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The elementary schools in our city all show these videos to the kids when they start going to keyboarding class (kindergarten):

http://www.thesafeside.com/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In another article on JT

Fujiwara was quoted by police as saying that he approached Sakura a few hundred meters from her home on July 14, threatened her with a knife and ordered her to get in his car.

So, she chose to avoid being stabbed. The culprit's own explanation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Illustrator???

You mean the kind of illustrator that works for manga or anime company? The same companies that are still legally able to produce and distribute material focusing on sexually explicit acts with children. Is he doing research or living out a fantasy?

You have to be blind to not see a correlation between the material and the acts taking place.

Now DON'T go blaming Anime and Manga for this mess! Not all illustrators work for Manga and Anime companies!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Manfga and Anime people are usually in category of Authors. Some who create with their own anime creation software are labeled Software Developer. Illustrators usually have one page pic using abura enogu., not with picture maker software installed in computer. Some of them are considered artists.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

She's lucky to be safe and unharmed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just now on TV they are reporting he said he was going to "marry her once she got 18". So had planned to keep her captive and brainwash her for 7 years? Creepy!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Police interrogators have reported that Fujiwara told them he "could not control a mature woman." So he decided to raise his own!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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