Garin Dart, missing expat businessman, “may be alive”

News & Views - July 31st, 2013
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Friends of British expat Garin Dart feared the worst when the well-known and connected CEO disappeared on his way to a meeting in Tokyo in May, with speculation rife in many expat circles that he had met a terrible end.

The public aftermath Dart’s disappearance has been riddled with rumor that he has been kidnapped or even killed by Yakuza gangs hunting him for owed money or a deal gone wrong, spurring desperate campaigns by friends, colleagues and associates for any information on his whereabouts.

But with the search apparently being stifled by those closest to Garin Dart, his name is in the media again after new developments in the investigation.

The 41-year-old CEO of event management firm Bluesilver and co-founder of Foreign Volunteers Japan was said to have left behind his pregnant wife Yukako (who reported him missing two days later), his child, and his closest friends when he vanished into thin air on May 22.

But now police in Tokyo say they have “stopped searching for Garin Dart”, after reportedly discovering that he had withdrawn 6 million yen of his company’s money.

“Garin Dart’s family, though, had reportedly asked friends not to hand out flyers or posters appealing for information about him or his whereabouts, muddying the cloudy waters further”

Police suspect Dart may have slipped out of the country with the money to an unknown destination.

“We are not actively moving on this,” Superintendent Hiroshi Kozono of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police told Richard Lloyd Parry of UK newspaper The Times. “There is a possibility of embezzlement.”

The reports have added to questions left unanswered when Dart disappeared “without a trace”.

On that fateful day in May, friends said Dart had looked tired and that he had been working very hard. It was “completely out of his character” to just disappear, a colleague said.

“Garin was working hard. It was the busiest time in the company’s history. He is instrumental in all of that,” the staff member told Mirror.co.uk.

Dart’s family, though, had reportedly asked friends not to hand out flyers or posters appealing for information about him, clouding the waters and adding mystery to what was clearly – whatever the truth is – a distressing time for many.

Garin Dart’s Background

Dart moved to Japan in July 2003 from London and has organized parties and fundraising events for foreign businesses and expatriates in Tokyo with his company, Bluesilver, after spotting a gap in the market for skills he had used with a previous business in the UK.

Dart had also founded Foreign Volunteers Japan to coordinate volunteer response in northern Japan which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. A plea for information on Dart has been removed from the charity’s website.

In an interview with Tokyo Weekender in 2009, Dart said he enjoyed having friends over at his house for barbecues, drinking fine wines, and traveling out of Japan at least twice a year during the summer.