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Japanese Teen Goes Missing In Playa del Carmen

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An amber alter was issued in the municipality of Solidaridad after a Japanese teenager went missing in Playa del Carmen on Saturday, October 8. Authorities are searching for the missing teenager and are concerned for his well-being. There are currently more than 15 missing foreigners among the more than 600 people that have been reported missing in the Mexican Caribbean.

Federal police

Officials in the Caribbean resort town of Playa del Carmen activated search and rescue plans after a Japanese national went missing on Saturday. An amber alert has been issued, notifying the public and authorities across the region about the disappearance. Although Playa del Carmen is among the most popular resort destinations in the area, the number of missing people is a concern, especially when it’s a tourist. 

Police identity check

The missing tourist, a 14-year-old Japanese national, has been identified by police sources as Taichi Takeda. He was last seen sometime on Saturday, October 8, in Playa del Carmen. He has been reported missing for a few days already, and authorities have said they are highly concerned for his physical and mental well-being. 

Nightclub area

At the time of his disappearance, the 14-year-old was wearing a black t-shirt, shorts, and blue shoes. He is also described as having a tan complexion, a slim build, and a height of around 182 centimeters. His disappearance corresponds to amber alert 208/ZN/2022, and authorities are asking residents and other tourists to notify officials about the whereabouts of the disappeared individual if they spot someone who meets the above-mentioned description. 

Quinta Avenida

The Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo has seen a string of disappearances recently, including those of 16 foreigners. Overall, more than 640 disappearance cases are still pending investigation, painting a bleak picture for authorities who are struggling to get to the bottom of the growing issue. 

Taichi Takeda isn’t the only foreigner to go missing in Playa del Carmen this past weekend. Edwar Joseph Marin Zapata, a 39-year-old Venezuelan citizen, was also reported missing in the resort destination just a few days ago. He is also presumably a tourist, raising further alarm over the high number of disappearances. 

Operations centre

The official protocol calls for the issuing of alerts when people go missing is as follows; In the case of children and teenagers, an amber alert is given, whereas an ‘alba protocol’ is activated when females are reported missing. 

Although the Mexican Caribbean largely remains a safe destination for visitors, human trafficking, drug trade, and organized crime remain a pressing concern for authorities as well as foreign embassies. In its most recent travel advisory concerning Quintana Roo, the U.S Department of State warned visitors that even though rare, kidnappings may occur. Together with the Mexican state of Jalisco and Baja California, Quintana Roo was specifically named for having a higher rate of violent crime. Several other countries have issued warnings for visitors as well, highlighting the need to always keep an eye on one’s surroundings. 

Police car

That being said, officials in the tourist hotspot say that there has only been one recent kidnapping case. Moreover, troops from the Mexican Army, as well as the National Guard – a specialized paramilitary body created in 2019 to fight organized crime – have been deployed in popular resort areas, including Cancun and Playa del Carmen. 

national guard on beach in mexico

Tourists visiting the area should follow some essential safety tips, such as sticking to resort areas and heavily-guarded downtown areas. Avoid venturing into unknown neighborhoods, and don’t walk alone at night in dimly-lit streets. It’s important to remember that even though organized crime is present in the area, it rarely affects tourists directly, and more than millions of tourists safely visit the Mexican Caribbean each year. 

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