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Southwest Japan high school student thanked by police for finding missing boy

Josho Yoshimura, left, who found a missing boy, receives a certificate of appreciation from Minami Police Station head Tetsuo Hirakida in Kumamoto's Minami Ward on June 18, 2020. (Mainichi/Kohei Shimizu)
Josho Yoshimura, center, who found a missing boy, raises the certificate of appreciation he received from Minami Police Station head Tetsuo Hirakida, right, in Kumamoto's Minami Ward on June 18, 2020. (Mainichi/Kohei Shimizu)

KUMAMOTO -- A third-year high school student in this southwestern Japan city received a certificate of gratitude on June 18 from a local police station for finding a 3-year-old boy who went missing earlier this month.

Josho Yoshimura, 17, a student at the Kumamoto Prefectural Matsubase High School said, "If something happened to the child, I thought the parents would regret it for the rest of their lives. I didn't want them to feel like that."

According to the Kumamoto Prefectural Police's Minami Police Station, the mother of the boy called police around 8:15 p.m. on June 2 to report that her child had gone missing. About 20 officers and mobile investigation unit members went looking for the boy. Josho, who lived near the boy's family in Kumamoto's Minami Ward, learned from his younger brother's friend that a boy had gone missing, and started searching for the child with his father Takakazu.

Using flashlights, they walked along a pitch-black road for a few hundred meters over about an hour, but couldn't find the child. Just as the two were about to head home, they heard a child's voice calling for help. "Where are you?" Josho asked, and the missing boy replied, "I'm here!" The boy was found under a small truck at an auto-repair shop along the road.

Although the boy's face was covered in dirt, he had no major injuries. Josho held the boy's hand and took him back to his parents, who picked up their son and cried in joy.

At the ceremony to give Josho a letter of thanks, Minami Police Station head Tetsuo Hirakida said, "Police couldn't find him, and it was a dangerous situation. It was an appropriate decision that the parent accompanied Josho during the search at nighttime."

Josho, who said his dream is to become a Japanese-Chinese interpreter, said, "I want to have a career that allows me to help people."

(Japanese original by Kohei Shimizu, Kumamoto Bureau)

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