TOKYO - A Japan-based Chinese academic has disappeared during a trip home, his university said Monday, after another scholar went missing last year until it emerged that he had been detained by authorities.
Wang Ke, a 57-year-old teacher at Kobe University's Graduate School of Intercultural Studies, left the Japanese city of Osaka on March 1 for a 10-day work research trip.
One day before he was to return, Wang telephoned his family, who live in Japan, to say he had to postpone the trip by another 10 days so he could visit his ill mother in the city of Xian.
The academic also sent a similar e-mail to his office and cancelled his attendance at an event in Singapore on March 21.
However, when Wang's family contacted his supposedly ill mother, she shocked them by saying she was fine and hadn't heard anything from her son.
"His family then consulted the university and we requested the (Japanese) foreign ministry and the Chinese consulate general to look into the matter," said the university spokesman, Shinsuke Toyoshima.
The disappearance comes after Zhu Jianrong, a professor at Tokyo's Toyo Gakuen University, disappeared on a visit to his native land last year.
It later emerged that he was detained by Chinese authorities in July, on suspicion of illegal intelligence-gathering. He was eventually released and returned to Japan last month.