Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Police Following Up On Disappearing Kenyan Student Runners


translated by Brett Larner

National-level track and ekiden powerhouse Chukyo High School of Gifu Prefecture announced on July 2nd that a then-18 year old Kenyan man who disappeared two years ago while running on the private school's team as a third-year exchange student was found in Nagoya in April. The former student was discovered by Nagoya police when they stopped him on the street to investigate whether the bicycle he was riding was stolen. When asked for identification the Kenyan man, now 20, told police officers, "My visa has expired and I want to go back to my country," before being taken to the Nagoya Immigration Violation Prison. By the time of Chukyo's announcement the former student had already been deported.

Chukyo High School Vice-Principal Hisashi Wada (46) discussed the case, saying the man had become an exchange student at the school in April, 2005 and had run in the National High School Ekiden Championships on the Chukyo team. "In September, 2007," said Wada, "the student told us, 'I'm going to Chubu International Airport to see off a friend who is going back to Kenya.' After that he disappeared." When the student athlete did not return school officials turned his case over to police and removed his name from Chukyo's files.

This year in March a 17 year old Kenyan woman who ran on the private Toyokawa High School's winning team at December's National High School Ekiden disappeared from the school's campus in Aichi Prefecture. An official from the Aichi Prefectural High School Track and Field Association commented, "With the current problems in the economic environment the situation can be tough for exchange students who come to Japan, but it is often tougher back in their home countries."

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