Police in Japan are searching for a British woman who has not been seen for almost a week, with her family describing her disappearance as “completely out of character”.
Alice Hodgkinson, 28, was reported missing after she failed to turn up for work at an English conversation school in Tokyo.
Hodgkinson, from Nottingham, has been working in Tokyo and living in Yokohama, 20 miles (30km) away, since arriving in Japan in March last year. She last turned up for work at Shane, part of a chain of language schools, on 1 July.
Police reportedly visited Hodgkinson’s Yokohama apartment and broke down the door. They said they had found a note but have refused to reveal what it said or if it had any connection with her disappearance.
Her father, Stephen Hodgkinson, who lives in Nottingham, said he had last heard from his daughter via email on 30 June, having previously spoken via video call on 21 June, and she appeared her normal self.
“I know that a note was left addressed to myself and Peter, my son. I don’t know the exact text in the note but I understand it suggested that she was in a distressed state when she wrote it,” Stephen told the Guardian. “But there’s nothing I can do, it’s a waiting game wherever you are on the planet.”
Stephen Hodgkinson said police in Japan were working their way through CCTV footage in the surrounding area to try to find out when Alice last left home.
Alice previously taught English in Shanghai before coming back to the UK to study a master’s degree in psychology. After spending a year in Japan she decided to extend her trip by a further year as she had enjoyed it so much, and planned to travel back to England in March 2022 to complete a PhD.
“I think she was suffering a bit of burnout at the beginning of the year,” said her father. “We Skyped around four months ago and she was a bit tearful, things seemed to be getting a bit on top of her but I had a chat with her and she had perked up by the next time we spoke. There’s been no indication since she was in any way unhappy.”
He added that she had a good network of friends both in Japan and internationally from her time teaching abroad, and was heartened to see so many helping with the search effort.
Friends and colleagues in Japan have distributed flyers in Japanese and English in locations in Yokohama and Tokyo and appealed for information on social media.
The family were being assisted by Nottinghamshire police, Interpol and the British embassy in Tokyo.
A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We are in contact with local authorities in Japan regarding a missing British woman. Consular staff are in touch with her family in the UK.”
Stephen Hodgkinson said Interpol had set up a communication line between Nottinghamshire police and police in Japan to help news reach the family quickly.