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Japanese boy found ‘alive and unharmed’ six days after being abandoned in the woods by parents in punitive measure


A Japanese boy who’d been abandoned in the woods by his parents as punishment has been found alive six days later.

Yamato Tanooka, 7, was made to get out the car driven by his parents in woods on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on May 28.

On returning to the spot a few minutes later, he was no longer there.

The young boy was found by a soldier inside a building at a military base near the town of Shikabe, 2.5 miles from where he was left.

Other than suffering from dehydration for which he was put on an intravenous drip, doctors found the seven-year-old had only a few minor scratches to his arms and feet.

Yamato told the soldier who discovered him that he had spent several days at the army base after wandering alone in the forest.

Yamato’s parents had initially said the boy had got lost before eventually admitting briefly abandoning him for being naughty.

                                 Takayuki Tanooka, father of 7-year-old boy Yamato Tanooka who went missing

More than 180 people were involved in the search for the young boy, including troops. The remote area where he was abandoned is home to brown bears.

His father, Takayuki Tanooka, told reporters: “We have raised him with love all along. I really didn’t think it would come to that, we went too far.

                           Brown bears are reputed to be common in the mountainous forests of Hokkaido, Japan

“I thought we were doing it for my son’s own good. I told him I was so sorry for causing him such pain.”

Mr Tanooka also apologised to those involved in the search attempts: “I deeply apologise to people at his school, people in the rescue operation, and everybody for causing them trouble.”

The parents reportedly told police they had punished the boy for throwing rocks at people and cars while playing at a river earlier in the day.


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About the author

Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

Twitter: @syd_field