POLICE believe a jogger has discovered the body of missing Australian tourist Scott McKay in a river a few hundred metres past his accommodation.
Speaking on behalf of local police, Niseko-Hirafu safety liaison officer at the time of the disappearance, Derek Begley said the clothes Mr McKay was wearing when he was last seen match those on the body, which is now at Hokkaido University for identification.
"The river he was found in is very close to areas that were checked repeatedly, including by police divers and on our volunteer searches," he said.
He said that the river where the body was found was "twisty, tangled and difficult with four to five switchbacks in a 10-15m area with lots of trees – a creek really, maybe knee to thigh deep at the moment and perhaps 1-2m across".
"With the snow melt and the increase in river volume, his body must have finally become more visible. " Begley said.
"He was found yesterday afternoon by a jogger, in a river on the low side of Route 343, just before Pension Asparagus, which is a few hundred metres past his accommodation."
On the night of February 19, Mr McKay left Hirafu bar Wild Bill’s at about 1.30am to return to his accommodation (about 1km away) alone, after partying with friends.
His friends left the bar 15 minutes later and reported Mr McKay missing when they arrived at the accommodation and he was not there.
Extensive searches, including by helicopter and of local rivers, were carried out in the week following the disappearance.
Mr Begley said a local farmer had reported to police that he had seen someone walking past the Gentem Cafe, next to Mr McKay’s accommodation, late on the night of the disappearance.