Three years after her son went missing in Agra, Eiko Shinozaki is in India once again to pursue the case, which hasn’t seen any major breakthrough even after the prime suspects were put through a series of narco-analysis tests.
Kota Shinozaki, the 21-year-old Keio University student had arrived in India on September 3, 2006 and was last seen two days later at an Agra hotel on September 5.
The case had hit headlines when on December 18, 2006, the then Prime Minister of Japan handed a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Japan.
In the letter, Shinozaki’s parents had requested Indian politicians for their cooperation to trace their son.
This is her mother’s fourth visit to India since Shinozaki’s disappearance. She is being accompanied by her daughter Yeshie and Ohashi Masaaki, a professor at the Keisen University, Tokyo, who has spent many years in India and is conversant with the local language.
“We want to take him home this time. We need everyone’s help,” said Eiko before breaking down.
After his arrival in India, Shinozaki had purchased a package tour from a local travel agent in Delhi and traveled to Jaipur and Agra by car with driver, Raju. In Agra, they had gone to see the Taj Mahal on September 5. Lalta Prasad Gautam, a Japanese-speaking guide, recommended by the driver had accompanied them.
Shinozaki had checked in at the Chanakya Hotel in the evening that day. That was the last time he was seen.
The next day, when the driver came to the hotel, Shinozaki wasn’t there.
“There was no sign that he had slept on the bed. His belongings had disappeared. According to the hotel records, he checked out. The driver and the hotel did not report his missing to the Agra police,” Eiko said.
A receptionist at the hotel had told Shinozaki’s family that Raju had invited Shinozaki for a sightseeing tour at night and they went out together with another person, possibly Gautam.