Yellowknife RCMP say foul play not indicated in disappearance
Last image of Atsumi Yoshikubo was in a hotel security camera video Oct. 22
The Yellowknife RCMP say at this time, there's no indication of foul play in the disappearance of Japanese tourist Atsumi Yoshikubo.
Police air and ground searches continue in and around Yellowknife for Yoshikubo, 45, who was last seen more than a week ago.
She was walking down highway 4 toward the Ingraham Trail. Search crews have been looking for her since Monday afternoon, when she was reported missing.
Police haven't singled out any specific wooded area outside of Yellowknife. They ask anyone interested in helping with search efforts to contact Yellowknife Search and Rescue.
Sonia Daigle has been helping with the search efforts.
"To have someone from Japan missing in Yellowknife breaks my heart," Daigle says.
"I wish there would be more people searching for this young lady. I feel for the family out there in Japan that they can't do nothing. And I just hope we find her," she says.
The brother of Yoshikubo says he’s at a loss for words upon learning that an air and ground search is underway for his sister, who failed to check out of her hotel or catch her flight after a sightseeing trip to Yellowknife.
In an interview with Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, Yoshikubo’s younger brother said he is shocked and thinking about her safe return.
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Yoshikubo’s father told the broadcaster his daughter is a doctor who once worked with him at his clinic in the town of Uto on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu.
He also said his daughter went on trips on her own.
Yellowknife is not an uncommon destination for Japanese travellers.
The territorial government says about 30,000 tourists have visited from that country in the past two years, a number it says has increased steadily since 2001.
The numbers are high enough for the city of 20,000 that several menus in town are printed in Japanese.
Most visitors come to see the northern lights.
Air, ground search underway
Staff at the Explorer Hotel, where she was staying by herself, found all of her luggage in her room three days after she was supposed to have checked out.
They called police, who found she'd missed her flight home to Japan on Sunday.
The hotel's manager, Naresh Panchalingam, said Yoshikubo was checked in from Oct. 17 to 24.
Panchalingam said her trip was organized by the tour operator Jonview Canada.
When she arrived, she inquired about northern lights viewing tours, but was told almost everything was closed for the season.
On Tuesday, Yellowknife RCMP made a plea to the public for any information about her whereabout, releasing photos that show Yoshikubo from security cameras at her hotel and in a local gift shop.
An air and ground search soon began, with help from Yellowknife Search and Rescue and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association. In some areas, police are going door to door to find out if anyone has seen her.
“We’re using all available options to hopefully locate her as soon as possible,” RCMP Const. Elenore Sturko said yesterday.
Pink coat, pink hat
Yoshikubo, 45, was last seen walking along Yellowknife’s Highway 4 towards Jackfish Lake.
She’s described as about five feet two inches tall and about 100 pounds, with long black hair and brown eyes.
When last seen, she was wearing a pink coat, a pink hat, black pants and white shoes.
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in touch with the Yellowknife RCMP.
Police said all leads will be investigated.