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No signs of missing adventurer Kono found in Arctic.

MATSUYAMA, Japan, May 21 Kyodo


No signs have been found of Japanese adventurer Hyoichi Kono, who has not contacted his support group since Thursday in his six-year trek from the North Pole to his native Ehime Prefecture in western Japan, supporters said Monday.

The secretariat of the support group in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, quoted its group members in Canada's Resolute, where Kono's base camp is, as saying no details from the Canadian Air Force have been available.

A private plane dispatched by the support group had spotted Kono's sled and some belongings from the sky, but the whereabouts of the 43-year-old adventurer remain unknown.

Upon request from the members, the Canadian Air Force later sent a plane to the area where the belongings were found.

Kono, who kept in daily contact with the secretariat by radio, last did so around 11 a.m. Thursday from Eureka near the Arctic Sea, the supporters said.

Toji Goto, chief secretariat of the group in Ehime, said, ''It's hard to think he was attacked by a bear. The distance between Ward Hunt Island and the place where he lost contact is such that Mr. Kono could have walked to the island even without his belongings.''

Kono left the North Pole on March 27 to begin a 15,000-kilometer journey home on foot and by kayak via Canada, Alaska, and Sakhalin. He is expected to arrive at his parents' home in the town of Seto in 2007.

His journey was temporarily halted April 2 due to frostbite and malfunctioning of his radio, but he set off again on April 21.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:May 28, 2001
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