American College Student Missing in Japan

An American college student has gone missing in northern Japan amid news reports that the 21-year-old is suicidal and wants to die after seeing cherry blossoms bloom.

Skye Lynn Budnick's family reported her missing to Japanese authorities last week, and authorities have been searching for her since, Hokkaido police spokesman Yukio Yoshida said Wednesday.

Kyodo News agency said Budnick left her home in Southington, Connecticut, on April 1 for Hokkaido, leaving her family a memo saying she would stay at a friend's place on Japan's northernmost main island.

The family, which is in Hokkaido to aid the search, found a note at their home in which Skye said she wanted to end her life after seeing cherry blossoms in Japan, Kyodo News agency reported, quoting her sister Megan.

Cherry blossoms, a major springtime tourist attraction, were expected to start blooming later this month in Hokkaido.

Budnick's whereabouts have not been known since she checked out of a Japanese-style inn in southern Hokkaido on her way to Sapporo, the largest city on the island, on April 7, the Japanese daily Sankei reported.

Yoshida refused to give other details.

The family was not immediately available for comment. A receptionist at the hotel where they were staying in Hokkaido said the family was not in their room.