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Friday, 27 October, 2000, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Lucie suspect on separate rape charge
Lucie Blackman
Lucie Blackman went missing on a day trip
A Japanese businessman being questioned about the disappearance of Briton Lucie Blackman has been charged with raping a Canadian woman.

The 27-year-old blonde Canadian was last seen three years ago taking a lift in Tokyo's entertainment district where she worked as a bar hostess.

Ms Blackman also worked as a bar hostess in the same part of the city.

Joji Obara, 48, the president of a real estate company with various properties around Tokyo, has denied any link to Ms Blackman.

Ms Blackman, 22, who is also blonde, went missing on 1 July after saying she was going on a day trip with an unidentified customer from the bar where she worked.

She said the customer had promised to buy her a mobile phone.


I am becoming seriously worried for her safety

Tim Blackman
A man later rang a friend of Ms Blackman's to say she had joined a cult and would not be returning.

A subsequent call to a police hotline suggested the former British Airways stewardess, along with four other Westerners, had been abducted and shipped to Hong Kong as part of an illegal sex trade.

Police are investigating at least three other cases involving sexual assaults on blonde foreign women in Tokyo. Those cases involve two Australians and a New Zealander.

Ms Blackman's father, Tim, a property developer from Ryde, Isle of Wight, who has made emotional appeals for help from the Japanese public during frequent visits to Tokyo, said: "I am becoming seriously worried for her safety."

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12 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Man questioned over missing Briton
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