Visitor's Disappearance Making Headlines In Japan

Hirohisa Nishibori
Hirohisa Nishibori

PUPUKEA (KHNL) -- It's a Hawaii case that's gripping residents of Japan. The search for a missing Japanese visitor, who failed to return from a walk on Oahu's North Shore, is now in its second week. The disappearance of Masumi Watanabe is making headlines in her home country.

Hirohisa Nishibori and his wife, Rumi, of Tokyo, Japan love visiting Oahu's North Shore.

"North shore is very peaceful and very beautiful sea," he said. "So I come here every time."

But on this trip, they're surrounded by missing person fliers. Twenty-one-year-old Masumi Watanabe, also of Japan, went for a walk in Pupukea last week Thursday, and then vanished. Nishibori says he's sad for her.

Friday, police return to Pupukea and scour the Puu O Mahuka Heiau. Members of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club join the search effort.

"It's not just looking for a lost person," Fred Boll, volunteer searcher, said. "We would have to be looking for signs of a struggle, like maybe her eyeglasses."

Despite several days of air and ground searches, there's still no sign of the young woman. Investigators seized two trucks in connection with the case.

"This case seems to have a dark side," Boll said.

Nishibori says Watanabe's disappearance is the talk of Japan.

"Newspaper and TV," he said.

He says it's affecting how people there view Oahu's North Shore.

"This happen, their image is change, little bit down," he said.

Investigators say they're following up on every lead in the case. If you have any information that could help, call police.