Swiss find remains of 2 Japanese climbers missing since 1970

AP News
Posted: Aug 07, 2015 5:58 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Swiss police said Thursday that they have identified the remains of two Japanese climbers who went missing 45 years ago, months after their bones were found on a glacier under the Matterhorn mountain.

A climber found the remains in September at the foot of the Matterhorn glacier, about 2,800 meters (9,200 feet) above sea level, Valais canton (state) police said. They were taken for forensic examination, and experts put together DNA profiles.

Police in the mountainous region keep a list of people who have been reported missing since 1925. They said that the Japanese Consulate in Geneva helped them find relatives in Japan, who provided DNA that enabled them to confirm the men's identities.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry identified them as Masayuki Kobayashi, who was 21, from Tokyo, and Michio Oikawa, then 22, from Chiba, a Tokyo suburb.

The two were reported missing on Aug. 18, 1970. They were caught in a snowstorm while heading to climb Matterhorn by the north face, Japan's Kyodo News service said, citing police records.

Remains of long-missing mountaineers have increasingly surfaced as a result of receding glaciers, police said. In October, officials in Bern canton found the remains of a Czech man missing since 1974.