Photo/IllutrationTomoko Ogura hands out fliers in front of JR Kofu Station seeking information about her missing daughter Misaki. (Kenta Noguchi)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Three months after her daughter went missing in the wilderness in Yamanashi Prefecture, Tomoko Ogura is filled with more trepidation than hope as the new year approaches.

Despite the nationwide release of 7-year-old Misaki's photo and distribution of fliers seeking any information, there has been no progress in finding the girl since she vanished.

In late December, Tomoko, 36, talked about what she was going through.

"The year-end and New Year period would normally be a time to spend with family and make the first shrine visit, visit the homes of my family and my husband's and give out New Year's monetary gifts," she said. "But this year, I have no way of imagining how we will bring in the new year."

Ogura and her two daughters, including Misaki, went with friends from Narita, Chiba Prefecture, to a campsite in Doshi, Yamanashi Prefecture, in September.

Since the girl's disappearance, Yamanashi prefectural police have been investigating the case for the possibility of either an accident or crime, but have not found any solid leads. They do not know if Misaki simply became lost in the mountainous area or if she was kidnapped.

A group of 27 people went to the Tsubakiso automobile camping ground in Doshi in September. Misaki tried to catch up with friends who had left the site earlier on a hike, but she was never seen again.

Over a 16-day period, the prefectural police, firefighters and even the Self-Defense Force were involved in a massive search for Misaki. In total, about 1,700 people participated but with no success.

The family created fliers that showed what Misaki was wearing when she went missing. They released family photos and videos in a nationwide appeal for any information about Misaki.

On weekends, the family visited various locations in Yamanashi Prefecture, such as the Doshi roadside rest area as well as JR train stations in Otsuki and Kofu to hand out fliers.

Tomoko had cut her hair to the same length as Misaki's when she went missing, but has let her hair grow out to better help strangers get an idea of how long the girl's hair might be now.

While the family is praying that Misaki returns to them alive, the physical and psychological strain continues to take a toll.