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Armed GSDF member briefly goes missing overnight in Sapporo

A gun-carrying member of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force was briefly unaccounted for in Sapporo, Hokkaido, prompting local education authorities and schools to be on the alert, but he was found on Wednesday to have simply been lost.

The GSDF member, a leading private in his 20s, strayed from fellow unit members during a drill at about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday. The GSDF halted the training to search for him and found him roughly 13 hours later, around 2 kilometers from the drill site at about 11:25 a.m. on Wednesday.

This latest incident comes in the wake of a shooting on June 14 in which a GSDF recruit killed two of his superiors and injured another at a firing range in Gifu Prefecture, leading him to be charged with murder.

This week's disappearance of the GSDF member prompted police to notify the Hokkaido and Sapporo boards of education to urge all local schools to lock down and be on the lookout for anyone acting suspiciously.

The leading private, who was exhausted but otherwise healthy, was quoted by the GSDF as saying he "got lost and was separated" from his companions.

He had a gun but was not carrying live ammunition rounds.