The violin belonged to 89-year-old Takiko Omura, the widow of Japanese architect Junzo Yoshimura.
The violin and three bows, which were kept in a locked cabinet, were taken last September. Omura told the Asahi Shimbun she has been using the instrument, which is in good condition, for 50 years. "The violin is filled with lots of our memories. I feel as if I lost a friend." She and her husband purchased the Amati in the United States in 1954.
To prevent the instrument from being taken out of Japan, the Metropolitan Police Department has put the unidentified thief on the suspects list of the International Criminal Police Organization.
Nicolo Amati (1596-1684) was the grandson of Andrea Amati, the founder of the Cremonese school of violin making. The younger Amati, who is considered the greatest instrument maker of the family, made the missing violin in 1675.