The 27-year-old elementary school teacher was only supposed to be in Japan for a week
A Chinese tourist named Wei Qiujie has gone missing in Japan, leaving behind an eerie note in her suitcase.
The New York Post reports that Wei was only supposed to be in Japan for a week and had traveled there for a solo trip.
The 27-year-old elementary school teacher from Fujian, China had checked in to a hostel in Sapporo on 20 July. She was seen on CCTV, seemingly happy, leaving and returning to her hostel.
On 25 July, her supposed check-out date, Wei vanished. There was no record of Wei boarding her flight to her hometown of Nanping or leaving Japan.
During her trip, she had kept in touch with family and friends. Her brother had said she seemed “fine”. A friend confirmed that Wei was texting her friends as normal on Friday 21 July. “She said in a group chat on Friday that there were many Chinese in Japan who could help her with directions at stations,” the friend said.
Her father, Wei Huasheng, received a message from Wei via WeChat at 5:26 p.m. on the day she was last seen, 22 July. Wei had said she returned safely, but it was unclear where she had returned to. On 23 July, she liked a friend’s post on Weibo.
She was last seen on CCTV leaving the hostel on 22 July, leaving her luggage in her room.
Hostel staff were concerned she hadn’t checked out so went into her room. In the room, they found a hand-scrawled note to her family.
In the note, Wei thanked her family for raising her and said goodbye. She added that she was not satisfied with her life and wanted a fresh start.
However, whilst Wei’s family have confirmed the note’s existence, they deny that it was a goodbye note and insist it was simply a “travel note”.
Wei’s father has since flown to Japan to help police with their search. “I want to search for my daughter and bring her home,” he said. The Chinese consulate general in Sapporo is also assisting the family and police.
Police were told that Wei checked into a hot spring resort hotel near Akan Lake, 200 miles from Sapporo, on the night of 22 July but had left the following morning.
She was also reportedly seen boarding a boat on the lake at 8am, but no one is sure where she went after.
The search has been expanded to the whole of Hokkaido island.
Wei’s family have confirmed she wrote the note but denied it was a farewell letter, and insisted it was just a “travel note.” Her father has flown to Japan to help local police with their search.
Pictures of Wei shared by family and friends have been circulating online in an effort to find out what happened to her.
Wei’s alleged deliberate disappearance draws parallels to the Japanese phenomenon of the Evaporated people. 100,000 Japanese men and women purposefully disappear every year, starting a new life for themselves. The decision to do so is usually triggered by divorce, debt or job loss.
However, Wei’s friends and family claim that there was nothing to suggest that she was unhappy with her life in China. She had not visited Japan before and couldn’t speak the language.
Wei Lin, Wei’s brother, said she loved her job as a primary school teacher and was popular amongst the staff and students. “My sister admires the work of some Japanese writers, but she is not obsessed with Japanese culture,” he said. “She doesn’t have financial problems. She can’t stay in Japan illegally to work.”